On March 16, NORTHEAST 2018 got off to a great start with BASF's special "Industry Innovators" Luncheon, which gave top collision repair and automotive service students from Rockland BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) the opportunity to discuss the industry with special guests KC Mathieu (KC's Paint Shop), Jonathan Goolsby (Goolsby Customs) and Troy Spackman (Legacy Innovations).
One of the major takeaways from the afternoon discussion was that success in the automotive field is possible for anyone who is truly committed to putting in the time and effort to achieve it.
"You don't have to go to a four-year [school]; you don't have to get a degree," offered Spackman. "You have to bust your butt, you've got to want it and you've got to be good at it... The hardest thing is finding people who want it and people willing to do the work and show up."
"Don't be scared to clean a toilet!" added Mathieu. "There's nothing worse than having an employee say they're too good to do something. You want to have a lasting impression on whoever hires you if you want to move up. Nobody walks into a shop and gets to be the lead painter; nobody [just] gets to be the head body man and get the easy-ticket jobs. That guy scrubbed the floors, swept the floors, cleaned the toilets and did whatever he could to show that he was willing to do the work to get where he wanted to be."
Additionally, Goolsby advised the audience that hard work doesn't end when you become a shop owner.
"We're in the shop just as much as the other guys... We're the ones who usually stay there late at night to make sure that our guys are going to get a paycheck."
Rockland BOCES Automotive and Collision Repair Instructor Sal Cappiello prasied BASF for providing his students an opportunity to gain insight from industry professionals.
"My students received firsthand, real-life perspectives on how to run a business, and the skills, work ethic and values needed to succeed. They hear it from me in the classroom, but being able to go to this event and hear real stories from the field rings a bell within them. They get it, they understand it and they're motivated."
The NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show is presented annually by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), and was held this year from March 16-18 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. For more information on NORTHEAST, visit aaspnjnortheat.com.