Body Shop Artisans Breathe New Life into Damaged Trucks
Body shop technicians at Penske Truck Collision Repair Centers specialize in commercial vehicle recovery, repairs and finishing. Each year, body shop technicians repair more than 20,000 commercial vehicles.
Like a sculptor shaping clay, body shop technicians transform trucks – those battered and torn in accidents – back to their original condition for their return to the road.
“It is a true art,” said Tyler Margison, a technician III at the Penske Truck Collision Repair Center in Hartford, Connecticut. “You have to have a true passion in order to do it.”
Penske Truck Collision Repair Centers specialize in commercial vehicle recovery, repairs and finishing. Technicians repair everything from minor scrapes and scratches to major body and chassis repairs. Each year, body shop technicians repair more than 20,000 commercial vehicles.
“Being involved in an accident is stressful and can be a time-consuming responsibility for any customer,” said James Svaasand, vice president, collision center development and operations. “Accidents don’t always happen around the corner; sometimes they occur across the country.”
The role of body shop technicians is key to returning the commercial vehicles to the road.
“Serving as a trusted advisor, we are able to offer Penske-class service in the event of an accident by providing detailed electronic estimates with digital photos to assist in making sound repair decisions,” said Svaasand.
Like many body shop technicians, Margison began in the automotive body repair industry, later transitioning to commercial truck body repairs. One of the glaring differences between the two has been Penske’s working environment.
“I went from regular automotive to here. The facility has tools, which is awesome because not a lot of shops have tools. At a lot of places, you have to buy those things yourself as a technician, and here, Penske supplies them for you,” Margison said.
It is part of Penske’s commitment to the success of its body shop technicians.
“Penske Collision Repair technicians are provided with a clean, safe, well-equipped working environment where they can grow their skills. Regular training and opportunity for advancement, along with competitive compensation and security, allows them to focus on their craft,” Svaasand said.
“Given all this, each technician is challenged every day to perform to the highest standards while giving them peace of mind their skills are valued and appreciated,” he said.
Robert Marshall Jr., a technician II in the Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, location, said it was just that challenge that attracted him to his role.
“Not only is it challenging, it is very exhilarating. You are taking something that has been damaged and putting it back like new again,” Marshall said. “Penske has pride in our fleet, and we are making that pride stand out even though the vehicle has been in an accident.”
Pride colors Shelly Bourgoin’s role, a truck painter.
“I do a lot of jobs from start to finish, so if it’s done well, then it feels good inside,” said Bourgoin, who has been with Penske for six years and works in the Hartford location.
Like others, she pointed to Penske’s commitment to safety and willingness to provide a clean working environment as important aspects of her job.
Jeff Hursh, lead technician at the Fort Wayne, Indiana, location, has held previous jobs working for others as well as owning an auto body shop of his own and said he wished he would have come to Penske sooner.
“They are great to work for. We have our own tools. They pay great attention to safety and cleanliness, and there is always work. You will always have a job, and in this economy, that is huge,” Hursh said. “Penske is such a rock-solid place to work. I feel like they really care for their employees, and I have worked for a lot of places that are not that way.”
Penske offers advancement opportunities for those looking to move through the company.
“There are always new things you can learn and something to look forward to if you want to stay,” Bourgoin said. “You have to be committed.”
“You have to want to work; but the harder you work, the more money you can make. You can move up. There are a lot of options out there for you,” Hursh said. “It is a good place to work if you want to work with your hands. And it is a place that will take care of you for years to come.”
As a body shop technician, you will have a variety of responsibilities and opportunities, including: diagnosing and repairing a variety of issues with a modern rental fleet; using state-of-the-art equipment to fulfill customer needs; working as part of a team with shared goals and ongoing training with opportunities for advancement. Interested in joining Penske? Visit gopenske.com/careers for a list of available positions.
By Bernie Mixon