The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced that retired ABRA executive Tim Adelmann has promised $500,000 to CREF over the next five years, the largest monetary donation the foundation has ever received, not just from an individual but from any organization.
A 35-year collision veteran who retired after ABRA merged with Caliber Collision, Adelmann was inspired by a simple sign he saw at an airport that said, “See something, say something.”
“Saying something isn’t sufficient anymore because we’ve been talking about the technician shortage for years, so I believe it’s ‘See something, DO something,” said Adelmann. “I see that the industry’s technician shortage is worse than it’s ever been, and I want to do something about it.”
Beginning this spring, up to $100,000 per year will be awarded to deserving collision repair technician students for five years.
“Tim Adelmann and his family’s generous personal donation will allow CREF to remove collision students’ financial barriers, allowing them to continue their education,” said Brandon Eckenrode, managing director of CREF. “As CREF works to attract students to the collision industry by showcasing that it’s a rewarding career with endless opportunities, this will only be possible through the support of our industry partners. On behalf of the collision programs, students and instructors nationwide that CREF works to support, we thank Tim for this incredible donation as well as for his many years of continued support. We look forward to announcing the first deserving recipients of the Adelmann Family Scholarship this spring.”
Adelmann was the chief business development officer for ABRA and now serves as an industry consultant. While serving on CREF’s Board of Trustees, he “witnessed firsthand the impact that CREF’s efforts have on schools and students. Yet, as much as CREF and its industry supporters do, it’s not enough because the current technician shortage is unlike anything our industry has experienced before.
“Supporting collision students is important for all of us in this industry. The collision repair industry has been a blessing to my family, and we felt it was time to step up, so we contacted CREF to start the Adelmann Family Scholarship because we believe it’s important to do something to help. These scholarships will be awarded to the best and brightest young repair technicians once they’re halfway through their program. In addition to encouraging donations from the companies I’ve worked for, I’ve also always contributed personally as a way of giving back, and I hope that this initiative will inspire other industry leaders to step up too. Shops don’t have enough technicians to process repairs these days; the problem isn’t getting better, and as an industry, we need to do more to address the technician shortage, and that’s going to require resources.”
As a longtime CREF supporter, Adelmann understands that money isn’t the only valuable resource needed to support this next generation of collision repairers.
“I’ve always encouraged my coworkers to get involved with high school and vo-tech programs through their local I-CAR committees to build long-lasting relationships. We want to help young people navigate through their training period and then place them in good-paying jobs.”
Although the Adelmann Family Scholarships will be awarded to students studying to become body technicians, the collision repair industry offers a plethora of positions – from parts to sales, from rental cars to insurance companies, Adelmann points out.
“There are multiple career paths that people can choose, and these are great jobs; however, these jobs require training and will require continued training as technology advances. The knowledge needed to be successful is massive. Every accident is a custom job. They take the parts and processes and restore the car to its pre-accident condition so it can be safely returned to the road. Body technicians are craftsmen and artists, and they deserve our support.”
Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258 or [email protected]. Monetary donations can be made online.