SCRS Leaders Converse Positive Changes, Commitments and Connections 

by Alana Quartuccio

The conversations that took place during the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) April Open Board meeting confirmed the national group’s commitment to leading the collision repair industry toward positive changes by providing benefits and conducting the necessary research needed to help better the industry.

“We have this opportunity to shape what others see and what they can do,” SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg reminded the audience as he praised them for taking the time to serve as leaders on behalf of their industry and stressed “how impactful the demonstration of leadership is to those around you.” 

One of the strongest arms of SCRS’ commitment lies in its educational programs via the Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series they have been hosting at SEMA since 2010. Recognizing that not everyone can attend the classes in person, SCRS has been sharing captures from the 2023 Ideas Collide Showcase via their YouTube channel in addition to their Consumer Tips and Quick Tip videos, and select classes are available online at 

“We have this amazing program at the Show which has been the pinnacle of the work SCRS has done with SEMA. There are many in your organizations who can’t participate at the event,” Schulenburg stated, encouraging all to share the videos. 

Registration for the 2024 Repairer Driven Education series is now open at Schulenburg is “excited about this lineup of speakers. We have a tremendous amount of new speakers. We champion new voices who have not yet had the opportunity to participate.” 

The program will look similar to previous years with just a few changes; Schulenburg announced the Ideas Collide showcase will be held on Wednesday this year. RDE classes will remain on Tuesday and Wednesday, and although the OEM Summit will remain on Thursday, it will be held in the late afternoon. 

Member benefits continue to soar as Schulenburg reported successful growth with its healthcare and 401(k) plans. SCRS also announced a new member benefit with Enterprise that offers an additional five percent off the standard discount. The program was exclusively put together for SCRS members, and collision shops can use it for personal and professional use. “I don’t believe you’ll find better than what this program offers,” Schulenburg promised. 

SCRS recently teamed up with I-CAR to survey technicians to find out what they identify as their biggest needs and wants. “We asked technicians about their experience, what they look for, how they are supported. My take is that there is a lot this industry has to be proud of, but there is also a lot that needs to be improved upon. Can we make it an industry that has more than 15 percent of employers offering healthcare to their workers? We need to do more for the future folks,” he stressed. He outlined some of the biggest complaints technicians brought forth in the survey, such as the lack of healthcare and absence of paid time off. Some suggested the want for 401(k) matching like other industries offer.

Schulenburg reminded all about SCRS’ healthcare program via Gravie which features rich benefits and a cost savings to employers. It’s been well received with positive reviews and continues to pick up more members per quarter. Expanding participation will “give us the ability to influence the quality of benefits.” They have also taken on an additional carrier, Angie Health, in order to make the program available to businesses with as little as two employees. “The Gravie program has a minimum of 10 employees, and some shops don’t have enough employees to meet that requirement, so we looked into how we can serve smaller shops with the same quality and options using national networks.” Through the power of community and the power of the association, the plan can be risked and rated as a 6,000 business entity. “That brings a lot of value to a collision business with 10 employees that couldn’t accomplish that on their own.” 

Same goes for the SCRS 401(k) retirement plan, as “the objective is to give small businesses the opportunity to participate in plans that benefit by everyone’s involvement. As the plan grows, all participants benefit from the fact that you have this growing asset class,” Schulenburg explained.

The plan currently has a balance of $27.5 million dollars with 633 participants. As participants are added, fees decline. Passing the 500 member milestone reduces the price per person when the next fee cycle is met. More information about the member benefits can be found at

SCRS continues to produce valuable content that can be shared with technicians as well as consumers. The Media Development Committee reported the completion of 40 new videos to be released via SCRS’ YouTube channel “marketing tools that help make for a more informed audience,” according to Schulenburg. 

Referring to the results of the blend study and its outcomes, Schulenburg stressed the need for continued conversations internally. 

“We don’t have those discussions often. We don’t sit down with the painter and talk about what is done differently in the paint department with different colors, when it’s a metallic versus a three-stage. If your repair planner has a better understanding of those technical requirements, you now have a better ability to talk about those variations. They now have the ability to talk about how a predetermined position is different than actually evaluating on the spot what that vehicle requires, and they can talk about why this vehicle is different than that vehicle. We leaned into what the overall average difference was when you looked at all the paint manufacturers, all the different colors and all the different methodologies. But if you really look at the research within the study, it also includes what the difference was for a two stage solid versus a two stage metallic versus a three stage. And those numbers were not the same. Those numbers actually reflected variation in the process. If you understand the process, you can talk about why that variation exists, and you can answer these questions in a more informed way. So they address three-stage in the same way that it should follow on the bottom valuation of the specific vehicle and the refinish requirements in question.

“We’ve been trying to find ways to bring facts to the conversation, rather than anecdotes. When you are educated enough to educate someone else and can point to a specific reference to help document it, this is what we have been focusing on.” 

Next, SCRS has plans to research and perform a study on structural measuring, the executive director announced. “We believe that setup and measure has this historical kind of approach from the industry that we often hear from our members, just as we did with blends, that doesn’t reflect what the current requirements of modern day vehicles and modern day equipment requires. And so, in our next research project, we intend to look at structural setup, structural measuring and a performance study that analyzes both of those tasks and finds a way to communicate it back to the industry.”

Other meeting activities included SCRS Treasurer Andy Tylka confirming SCRS is “financially health and within budget,” and newly appointed Education Chair Andrew Batenhorst welcomed a team from Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center to outline the resources they provide to help shops stay under the regulation threshold when it comes to hazardous materials for the benefit of their employees, environment and the health of their neighbors.

On behalf of the Affiliate Engagement Committee, Tylka reported 40 state representatives from auto body groups across the nation participate with virtual meetings five times a year giving all the opportunity to interact and share ideas. “It takes everyone away from being on their own island and gives all the ability to help each other out,” he stated. Attendees also heard from Justin Lewis (Accurate Auto Body; Redmond, WA) and Jeff Butler (Haury’s Collision; Seattle, WA) of the Washington Independent Collision Repair Association (WICRA), who relayed how they launched their association in 2019 and what they have managed to accomplish in the areas of membership and legislation. Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) Administrator Danny Gredinberg gave an update on recent activities that continue to lead to positive changes via the three major information providers (IPs). “We have to submit these inquiries because, at the end of the day, we want to get paid fairly for the work we are doing,” Gredinberg encouraged. 

SCRS held an election at the conclusion of the meeting which resulted in Todd Hesford (Community Collision Centers) and Andy Tylka (TAG Auto Group) being re-elected to the Board and Josh McFarlin (AirPro Diagnostics) elected to his first term.

Want more? Check out the June 2024 issue of Hammer & Dolly!