Mobile Toggle
Heavy Duty Repair Forum

2023 Conference Agenda

Use the tabs below to toggle between Tuesday & Wednesday’s Agenda

This a working program agenda, that is subject to change.

Day One: General Sessions, Networking Functions, & Focused Learning Tracks

7:00 - 8:00 a.m.

Networking Breakfast & Vendor Fair

Meet us on the second floor of the Historic Hilton, where the collision industry will be meeting to share breakfast, catch up, and prepare for the event’s program.

Registration & Check-In opens at 7:00 a.m.

8:00 - 8:15 a.m.

Welcome & Overview

The HD Repair Forum is the place for industry updates and information in heavy-duty and medium-duty collision repair. President and co-founder, Brian Nessen, welcomes attendees back to Fort Worth and provides an overview of the 2023 event’s session and speakers.

Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum

8:15 - 9:00 a.m.

How to Have a Great Day Every Day

This year’s Keynote Speaker will help participants realize that if they have a Great Day, Every Day, everyone around them will benefit as a result. Participants will discover that their job is not just a job, but in fact a performance on, ‘How to Be Your Best Every Day!’  

This session will review the realization that “you” set the tone for most interactions, provide methods to enhance the ability to make a positive difference on a daily basis in every interaction, and understand the ripple effect being positive has on customers, co-workers, family, friends and even strangers.

Steve Beck, Beck Seminars

9:00 - 9:15 a.m.

Industry Trends & Insights

This session will include an overview of trends and data in heavy-duty collision repair. Areas such as Severity, Sales Mix, Labor Mix, and Average Labor Cost/Estimate and more will be reviewed. This data derives from PPG’s AdjustRite® Commercial Estimating System.

Jennifer King, PPG Industries

9:15 - 10:00 a.m.

Market Trends & Influences on Parts

Tim Meeker, Navistar

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Networking Break

Sponsored by

10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Motor Coaches and the Collision Repair Industry

Motor Coach operators are in need of collision repair support. Tim Barnes joins us to outline the importance of the repair industry to the motor coach customer base. He will also use this session to point the industry to answers on how and where to research and order needed parts for the repair, and how to access service repair information specific to MCI coaches.

Tim Barnes, NFI Parts

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Electric Vehicle Handling & Risk Analysis

I-CAR’s Sr. Manager for ADAS/EV Specialty Training, Niel Speetjens will use this session to explain how to safely intake and work on electric vehicles, as well as introduce the necessary tools and equipment for these repairs.

Attendees of the session will walk away knowing how to determine and verify the state of the battery, how to make the vehicle safe before repair, how to perform insulation and bonding measurements, and understand the language of EV. Also reviewed are the consequence and recognition of “thermal runaway” and how to react if it does happen. 

Niel Speetjens, I-CAR

12:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Open Mic

Attendees of the HD Repair Forum

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Networking Lunch

Sponsored by

Focused Learning Tracks: Session One

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track A: Motivational Leadership

Learn how to lead in these uncertain times, where everyone is asked to ‘do more with less’. This session will give essential information and tools for how to motivate teams for greater effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. 

Steve Beck, Beck Seminars

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track B: Driver Assistance Systems for Tractors and Trailers

This session will leave attendees with the ability to locate and identify ADAS components on a range of commercial vehicle chassis and tractors. In addition, attendees will learn how these components operate along with some dos and don’ts in the repair. The session will also provide light troubleshooting tips on the Bendix® ESP® (electronic full stability) and Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ driver assistance systems.

Joe Lauritsen , Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track C: Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Search Engines

Understand the purpose and benefits to having a strong and secure web presence and know the steps to take to make it perform at its best. Topics to be covered in this session include effective website design, meeting security standards, reputation management, actualizing search engine optimization (SEO), the importance of your business on directory listings and rankings, and social media management, including consumer expectations, securing fans and followers, what to post and how often, and more.

Mark Claypool, Optima Worldwide

2:45 - 3:15 p.m.

Networking Break

Sponsored by

Focused Learning Tracks: Session Two

3:15 - 4:00 p.m.

Track A: Creating Positive Shop Culture

This session will look into the factors driving turnover and help you evaluate how to facilitate positive change. If supply chain shortages were not enough to stress our businesses, let’s add on the additional weight of the Great Resignation. This session will discuss the causes of employee disengagement and how to create a culture where you become the Employer of Choice.

Jeff Rhoads, AkzoNobel Coatings Inc.

3:15 - 4:00 p.m.

Track B: Acrylic Foam Tapes for Box Truck Sidewall and Roof Repair

Over the last couple of years 3M has partnered with a leading truck leasing company to bring innovative repair solutions to the box truck and semi-trailer industry. This solution shows a reduction in downtime without compromise to the quality of the repair.  Join this session to get and overview of the unique properties of 3M™ VHB™ tape and 3M™ Extreme Sealing Tape, and how they are used for the replacement of damaged composite sidewall panels and partial repair of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) roof sections.

Matt Melbye | Mark Jennings, 3M

3:15 - 4:00 p.m.

Track C: Dealing with the Shortage of Qualified Technicians

In this session George will help you explore your shortage of applicants or qualified applicants. He will also help you answer if you are actually trying to fill a gap, invest in a long-term employee, and if what you’re looking for is really what you need. Other important perspectives will be brought to light including expectations of others in your organization, turnover rates, opportunities for  business/workforce growth, and more.

George Arrants, ASE Education Foundation

Focused Learning Tracks: Session Three

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Track A: ADAS Truck Evolution: Lessons from Related Markets & North American Adaptations

While technology advancement continues, sensors and their systems require recalibration to continue and perform as the OE designed.  This session will discuss the evolving advancement of dynamics for the calibration of cameras for both light commercial and heavy-duty vehicles. Also reviewed are lessons learned from repair shop teams that require advanced diagnostics and vehicle coverage, the EU’s incorporation of “Vision Zero” and how it impacts different types of driver assist systems, as well as the global market direction and ADAS commercial vehicle adaptation in the NA market.

Joffrey Starcher, TEXA

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Track B: Trends, Troubles & Tips for Improved Cycle Times

Attend this session to hear opportunities for reducing stress in your shop and improving your cycle times. This session will review trends seen in emergency vehicle manufacturing, the OE manufacturer’s process, and the troubles that have affected the subsequent heavy-duty repairs. Tim will bring to light some positive experiences and lessons learned during his 20+ years working in the industry and provide the audience with some tips on how to deal with and approach these challenges.

Tim McKinney, Evercoat

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Track C: Proper Repair Procedures and Common Mistakes in Composite Repair

This session will discuss composite repair methods, best practices, and common short cuts that can impact the overall quality of the repair. Within this presentation are several topics that apply to repairing FRP, SMC, Metton®, and TPO.

Todd Mathes | Matthew Aguirre, 3M

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Industry Networking Reception

Day Two: General Sessions, Networking Functions, & Focused Learning Tracks

7:00 - 8:00 a.m.

Networking Breakfast & Vendor Fair

General Sessions

8:00 - 8:15 a.m.

Day 1 Recap & Opening Comments

Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum

8:15 - 8:45 a.m.

How to Access & Repair Evolving Electronic Systems

New technology and electronics are being released at a record pace.  This session will cover the fast changing technology in the HD Vehicle market and how to access manufacturer training for your independent repair facility. Details shared will also inform you on what your shop needs to know about the tools necessary to connect and diagnose these evolving technological systems.

Jim Barber, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

8:45 - 9:15 a.m.

Collision Workforce Skill Sets and the Industry's Role

Demand is outpacing a declining supply of collision technicians and their skill sets, while the certification process is becoming increasingly uneven. With the intention of solving these challenges, Collision Engineering encourages collision partners to work together to develop a workforce, who will be prepared to work in the modern and evolving collision repair industry. 

John Helterbrand, Collision Engineering

9:15 - 9:45 a.m.

Isuzu Commercial Truck Repair Resources and Information

Isuzu Commercial Trucks joins the HD Repair Forum for the first time in 2023. This session will provide useful information on new and current model Isuzu model vehicles, Fleetvalue parts, repair tools and resources, as well as alert attendees to engagement opportunities like the OEM’s “Dealer Direct Advantage” Program.

Chris Bishop, ISUZU Commercial Truck

9:45 - 10:15 a.m.

Networking Break

Sponsored by 

10:15 - 11:00 a.m.

Panel Discussion - Claims Handling Best Practices and Challenges Post Pandemic

Although collision repairers and insurers share a common customer – the vehicle owner, there are challenges for both parties in the repair and claims handling processes. This panel discussion will focus on a few key issues including photos and documentation, with the goal of gaining understanding and identifying potential solutions for the industry as a whole. 

Tom Farney, National General, an Allstate Company
Michael Brown, Great American Insurance Group
Kelly Reich, Federated Insurance

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

The Latest ADAS Features on Motor Coaches

Robert Hitt, Prevost

11:30 - 11:45 a.m.

HD & MD Collision Industry: Ongoing Support, Progress, & What Lies Ahead

Dan Risley, HD Repair Forum

11:45 - 12:00 p.m.

Open Mic

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Networking Lunch

Sponsored by

Focused Learning Tracks: Session Four

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track A: Adapting Your Legacy Management Methodology

This interactive session will assist you in charting a course for future success. For well over a decade, the collision industry has been in a ‘sales minus’ approach to profitability. However, with an abundance of work, a shortage of employees, parts and materials, and rapid inflation, a ‘Cost Plus’ approach is necessary to survive and thrive today. Join us to take a reflective look at your business practices and your management philosophies. 

Ron Kuehn, Collision Business Solutions, Inc

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track B: Improving Estimates

The class will discuss items that are commonly missed in the estimating process, This includes missed labor, parts, materials, and sublets in the process. Oftentimes, these commonly missed items pertain to a safety matter and/or contribute to an increase in gross profit.

Dean Hancock, Fleet Collision Solutions

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.

Track C: Life-Work Balance

As life continues to become more complex and move faster, we can learn how to structure our lives to improve performance both personally and professionally.  Most of us are constantly accessible with e-mail and cell phones blurring the lines between work life and personal time. Sadly, many mistakenly believe that this is necessary to get more accomplished and advance careers. This course will provide new ideas in creating balance in everyday life, reduce stress at home and work, and more.

Steve Beck, Beck Seminars

Focused Learning Tracks: Session Five

2:50 - 3:35 p.m.

Track A: Repairing Your Heavy-Duty Repair Business Insurance

Your business insurance needs to identify defects and potential hazards, just as much as any vehicle you repair. In this session, 9 Risk Control Techniques will be discussed to help you identify how to approach your business insurance needs, understand what is essential to properly insure your business, and ensure what is being implemented is working properly for you.

David Willett | Billy Eddy, Spark Underwriters

2:50 - 3:35 p.m.

Track B: Best Practices in HD Truck Refinish Operations

This session will review best practices that should be followed when proceeding with Heavy-Duty truck refinish operations. From proper identification of the substrates, to accurate selection of color and tooling, to setting up the spray equipment or applying different coatings to make up the final finish. Following simple guidelines and processes are key to being efficient and productive.  In this session attendees will also discover, perhaps some new products, processes, programs, support and training offered to help your business.

Normand Cormier , Axalta Coatings Systems

2:50 - 3:35 p.m.

Track C: Mentoring- Your Opportunity Amid Crisis

Month after month, and year after year, the conversation remains the same. “There is a technician shortage.” Action is needed, and mentoring is often a lightly discussed solution. This session will consider the culture needed for successful mentoring, finding the right team members to participate, preparing career pathways for entry-level technicians, the importance of tracking progress, and much more. Mentoring is the long-term solution to technician shortage, so be prepared to do it the right way to have a chance for a return on your investment.

Marc Brune, MentorMentee