Colin Harris is a Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year finalists.CARSTAR is a first-place winner in Omaha’s Choice Awards.Pittsburg State University AT student Jaxen Stewart is the 2018 Mitchell 1 Automotive Technology Outstanding Student.Customers Paige and Brett Horton are winners of a prize package from Honest Wrenches, which also sponsored the No. 52 car.Mitchell’s Wayne Krause speaks on scanning procedures at the KABA Education Day.KABA President Jeff Oldenettel introduces David Luehr at the KABA Education Day.Rob Lahr is now regional vice president of Single Source Inc.At Ben's Auto Body, Ben Steinman (right) celebrates his semi-retirement with Don E. Rodgers, who retired after working at the shop for 30 years as a body technician.

Midwest People & Places - September 2018


Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper announced that Colin Harris, of Highway 7 Service Center in Newall, Iowa, is among 13 Technician of the Year finalists. The shareholder member for Harris is The Merrill Company. They will take a custom-tailored Automotive Service Excellence test to determine the 2018 Auto Value Technician of the Year as well as the 2018 Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year. The two Technicians of the Year will be honored on stage this fall at the 2018 Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Aftermarket Jackpot Convention in Las Vegas, and the ASE Technician of the Year Awards Ceremony in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. In addition, each will receive a $2,500 cash prize to go along with this national recognition.



Colin Harris is a Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year finalists.


CARSTAR was once again voted First Place Winner in the 2018 Omaha’s Choice Awards. CARSTAR was chosen for the category of Body Shop/Collision Center in the auto transportation section. Winners were revealed in July in a special section in the Omaha World Herald. “For the third year in a row our loyal customers voted CARSTAR as one of the top body shops in Omaha. We are thrilled,” said Margaret Keith, marketing manager for the four Omaha CARSTAR locations. Readers voted online to choose their favorites.

ZAF Energy Systems Inc. (ZAF), a developer of next-generation battery technology in Joplin, Mo., announced it has received $300,000, the first installment of a $600,000 investment from Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) fund as part of the state’s Venture Capital Co-Investment Program. Demand for ZAF’s nickel zinc (NiZn) battery as a replacement for lead-acid batteries in key market segments is growing. The company will use the investment to hire employees, expand production, and forge strategic supply chain partnerships.

Jaxen Stewart from Council Grove, Kan., was named the 2018 Mitchell 1 Automotive Technology Outstanding Student during the 45th annual North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) conference held recently in Williamsport, Pa. Stewart received a $2,500 scholarship, a check for $500 and roundtrip airfare and accommodations for himself and a guest to attend the NACAT conference. He attends Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., where he studies automotive technology. After he graduates in May 2020, he would like to work for a dealership or independent repair shop for a few years to further his knowledge and experience. His dream is to operate his own automotive service facility in the future.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation career fair at Washburn Institute of Technology, in Topeka, Kan., Oct. 11. The Collision Repair Education Foundation has partnered with the TechForce Foundation on high school and college transportation career fair events taking place this fall. Through these partnerships, the fall events will bring together over 2,500 collision, auto service, heavy duty, and diesel students to participating employers. Companies interested in participating in one or more career fair events should contact Brandon Eckenrode at or 847-463-5244.

Anna Christians of Sheldon, Iowa, and Matthew Matuska of George, Iowa, were awarded a National Pronto Association Auto Service Center scholarships. The annual Pronto scholarship program is funded by National Pronto Association and its warehouse distributor members and is administered by the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. To apply for future scholarship opportunities, visit Each application will be considered for every scholarship where the application meets the qualifications.

Honest Wrenches, of Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored the car of David Starr, driver of the Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet Camaro at the July 28 NASCAR Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250 race in Newton. Starr went on to finish 19th out of 40 entrants. Honest Wrenches also held a customer contest for race tickets, a garage pass, and a meet-and-greet with Starr, won by Brett and Paige Horton.

The newly formed Kansas Auto Body Association (KABA) held its Education Day, July 28, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Salina, Kan. From Woodhouse Automotive Group’s Blair, Neb., body shop, Jake Aufenkamp, body shop manager, and James Rodis, production manager, reviewed the Collision Advice/CRASH Network’s “Who Pays for What?” survey. Wayne Krause, manager of editorial content at Mitchell International, reviewed OEM position statements in “Scanning Procedures and Why?” Chris Norris, general manager of Weaver’s Auto Center in Shawnee, Kan., discussed how shops should weight the costs and benefits of OEM certifications. An industry roundtable and open forum discussion was followed by David Luehr of Elite Body Shop Solutions and author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops,” who spoke about creating a winning culture in “The Six Secrets Revealed.”

All-Star Automotive, owned by Bob Buchheit, opened its second location in Columbia, Mo., Aug. 20, at 808 North Blvd., just east of Auto Zone on Business Loop 70. It was originally founded in 1993 as Bob’s Auto Service on Fay Street. They perform everything from preventative maintenance to complete engine overhauls.

Rob Lahr has been promoted to regional vice president of Single Source in Kansas City, Mo. Previously, Lahr was director of sales for Fleet & Industrial, prior to regional sales manager. He had also been with DuPont/Axalta Coating Systems for 27 years.

Ben Steinman has sold Ben’s Auto Body in Mexico, Mo., including real estate, as a “turnkey operation” to Fischer Body Shop, which also has locations in Jefferson City and Eldon. Steinman, who opened Ben’s Auto Body in 1981, said the shop’s 16 employees remain, and veteran employee Kevin Shopher has been promoted from estimator to shop manager. Steinman said owners Curt Fischer and his sons, Chase and Devin, would like to add several more shops. “I don't think I could have found a better company to sell to,” Steinman said. “And from a marketing standpoint and a few other things, it was a logical fit for them.” Steinman said he’s now semi-retired, and will remain visible in the industry for some time.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.