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CREF introduces 2024 executive committee

The Collision Repair Education Foundation announces new chair and welcomes two new board members

Hoffman Estates, Ill.—The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) has introduced its newly appointed Executive Committee, which consists of seven industry professionals who are dedicated to supporting the future of the industry through engagement with collision schools and students.

CREF announces that Brenda Hogen (Parts Trader) has been named to the position of chair for 2024, and it also welcomes two new board members: Mark Allen (Audi America) and Chris Dewes (PPG).

CREF’s 2024 Executive Committee includes:

  • Chair Brenda Hogen (Parts Trader)
  • Vice-Chair Mark Helvenston (IAA, Inc.)
  • Treasurer Mark Verbois (Enterprise Holdings)
  • Secretary Sandee Lindorfer (Allstate Insurance Company)
  • Trustee-at-Large Stacy Bartnik (Intertek)
  • Immediate Past Chair Steve Schmidt (State Farm)

“I’m truly honored to help lead an organization that’s transforming lives every day and defining the future of the collision repair industry,” Hogen said. “CREF is on a mission to increase engagement, provide opportunities for students, connect schools with resources and create a robust support network within the collision repair industry. My primary goal is to increase engagement across all channels to bridge the gap, help solve the technician shortage crisis, educate the public and ensure that all students are aware of and have access to the vast array of successful careers in our industry.”

Bartnik said, “CREF does such amazing things and not everyone even knows who they are. One of my goals is to move CREF into the industry spotlight, so everyone can know the great things we are doing and generate even more support for our mission.”

In addition to the Executive Committee, the Foundation Board of Trustees consists of:

  • Mark Allen (Audi America)
  • Keith Bell (Axalta)
  • Kristle Bollans (CSN Collision USA)
  • Mike Croker (Industrial Shelving Systems)
  • Chris Dewes (PPG Industries)
  • John Eck (General Motors)
  • Paul Folino (LKQ Corporation)
  • Ty Gammill (Caliber Collision Centers)
  • Andreas Hecht (CCC Intelligent Solutions)
  • Doug Irish (Fayetteville Technical Community College)
  • Josh Krentz (Forbes Road Career and Technology Center)
  • Ryan West (GEICO)

As a CREF Board member, Allen said he hopes “to be able to show the young of America and their parents that the collision industry can be an honorable career path that does not discriminate in the way people learn. Career advancement and paths are plentiful.”

He added that it’s also important to support CREF because “for too many years, we’ve heard, ‘I can’t get techs, I can’t get writers, I can’t …’ We can attract new talent, we can have profitable and rewarding careers, we can attract the next generations. It’s not the famous movie quote ‘build it and they will come;’ clearly that is not working. At CREF, we can build it so that they will want to come.”

As a new addition to CREF’s Board, Dewes said he looks forward “to bringing awareness and excitement to our industry and finding ways to help address the labor shortage. We need to generate awareness and excitement for our industry.”

Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs can contact us to learn about the many ways to get involved. Monetary donations can be made online.

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