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Collision Repair Education Foundation announces new managing director

Brandon Eckenrode will succeed Clark Plucinski, who is retiring after serving as the executive director since 2012

Hoffman Estates, Ill.—As the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) celebrates 30 years of charitable activities in the collision industry, a new leader is taking the helm.

The board of trustees has selected Brandon Eckenrode as the organization’s next managing director.

Eckenrode, who has worked within the collision industry for 20 years, joined CREF’s development team in 2009 to help lead its transformation into a traditional philanthropic organization. Serving as director of development since 2012, Eckenrode has driven strong industry partnerships to support collision training programs and their students, helping raise more than $300 million for collision repair education since 2009.

Eckenrode will succeed Clark Plucinski, who is retiring after serving as the executive director since 2012.

“I want to thank and recognize Clark for his leadership and work — not only as the organization’s executive director for the past nine years, but also as a past board chair and one of the original founders of CREF,” Eckenrode said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization. Thanks to Clark’s dedication, we are poised to build on tremendous momentum to help solve the industry’s need for properly trained, entry-level professionals.”

As part of his new role, Eckenrode will oversee the organization’s leadership team, which includes the addition of Amber Ritter as director of marketing and project management.

Amber Ritter, CREF director of marketing and project management

Ritter has worked within the collision industry for 10 years and was integral to the formation of the Collision Career Institute (CCI), where she served as COO. Ritter will be joining fellow CREF staff members Melissa Marscin, director of operations and administration, and Tiffany Bulak, development and marketing coordinator.

“I look forward to working together with Amber, our incredible team and the industry to bring the foundation to the next level in supporting the high school and college collision programs, and helping to educate the public on the many career paths available to students within this industry,” Eckenrode said.

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