By Tom Martin
From BodyShop Business
Although I didn’t serve in the military, I have many friends and family members who did. I have tremendous respect for their service, and that of all veterans. That’s why I’m committed to giving back to these veterans in my business and in my community.
New Team Members
With three CARSTAR locations in Sidney, Troy and Piqua, Ohio, I’m always looking for skilled, hard-working team members. Any time I can hire a veteran, I do. With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base nearby, there are a number of military members in the community and they’re looking for good jobs when they complete their service.
The collision repair business requires a task-oriented focus, the ability to take direction and lead a team, and a dedication to doing the highest-quality work. Military training provides this background, and I find that veterans bring these skills to the collision repair shop and become excellent team members.
I always try to have veterans working at my CARSTAR locations. Most didn’t have collision repair skills when they started, but working with CARSTAR University, I-CAR and other training resources, they’ve learned how to paint, do body work, handle estimates and work with customers. They always stand out for their ability to get the job done – and done correctly.
Patience and Coaching
Working with veterans who have experienced the stress of combat requires patience and coaching as they transition from their military life to a civilian one. It’s important to provide personal support for them and pay attention to the stress of the daily workplace and how it impacts them. I try to pair each veteran with a mentor in the shop to deliver this additional support and training.
Throughout the year, our team at CARSTAR works on projects like NABC Recycled Rides, which provides veterans in need reliable transportation to be able to work and take care of their families. We also hold veterans’ recognition events to raise funds for housing, medical care and other needs for them and their families. We’re planning on an NABC Recycled Ride project this fall for a veteran in need.
With so many military members in the community, there are a number of military service organizations as well that provide support and resources for families, veterans, spouses of deployed service members and more. I’ve developed relationships with many of these organizations to familiarize them with what we can do to support their efforts. They have become an excellent referral network as transitioning military members and their families look for employment.
They have also become a referral network for our collision repair services. When they or the military members they serve need collision repairs, they frequently come to us because they know our team and appreciate the support we’ve provided in the community. I also offer discounts for veterans and work closely with insurance carriers like USAA and GEICO to serve their military customers. It’s a win-win for everyone.
I’m proud of the veterans who have launched their civilian careers at CARSTAR and honored to be able to help them on their path in the collision repair profession. They’re an indispensable part of our team, and their commitment to quality, hard work and excellent service help inspire other team members.