CREF Board of Trustees
Steven Schmidt is Manager – Transportation Engagement Office, at State Farm where he supervises a unit whose responsibility is to maintain relationships and facilitate relationships with the global transportation industry and with other industry organizations aligned with the manufacturing and repair of motor vehicles.
Steve joined State Farm in 1986, serving six years in Auto Claims and the last 28 years with their Enterprise Research department. He assumed his current responsibilities in 2019. Prior to joining State Farm, Steve developed as a technician in the collision repair industry and successfully managed two collision repair facilities.
Steve is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, where he led a technical standard development division as well as served on the SAE Technical Standards Board. Steve was an instructor for I-CAR for 31 years, maintains his I-CAR Platinum qualifications and is currently a member of the Collision Repair Education Foundation Board of Trustees.
An active automotive hobbyist, Steve enjoys sharing an ever-changing collection of vehicles with his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
Parts Trader, Strategic Accounts Vice President
Brenda Hogen is the Strategic Accounts Vice President for PartsTrader. She has responsibility for business development and account relationships. With more than 20 years of combined experience in technology sales and insurance claims management, Brenda understands the talent development needs in the auto industry.
Brenda holds bachelor’s degree in business administration from Portland State University as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration. She resides in Jacksonville, FL with her husband. In addition, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, travel, boating, and participating in a number of charity bicycling events.
Mr. Irish graduated from Saint Leo University with a BA in Business Management and has nearly four decades of collision industry experience, including expertise in appraisal and claim technical development. Mr. Irish began his career as a repair technician, eventually owning a repair business, as well as managing multiple Dealer and Independent Collision Repair Centers. In addition, as a licensed appraiser he spent 20 years with MetLife Auto & Home, responsible for estimatics, training, vendor solutions and
MetLife’s “Guaranteed Repair Program”. Having established professionally recognized expertise in operational leadership, Irish now oversees the strategic operations as President and CEO of AccuracyDriven4 as well as heads up Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Collision Repair & Refinish Technology Program as Department Chair. Mr. Irish is responsible for developing and delivering curriculum to students pursuing a career in the Collision Repair Industry, while also handling the day-to-day operations of the department.
Intertek, Aftermarket Industry Relations Manager representing the Certified Aftermarket Parts AssociationStacy Bartnik is the Intertek Aftermarket Industry Relations Manager representing the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association, CAPA. In this role she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key industry stakeholders.
Ms. Bartnik has worked in many segments of the collision industry, including Vice President of Operations for a franchise organization, Association Executive Director, Shop Estimator, General Manager, Insurance Adjuster, Trainer and Consultant. She is a Past President of the National Auto body Council, served as the Chair of the Collision Industry Conference in 2007 and 2008, and serves as a judge for Skills USA. She has been a speaker at WIN, contributing editor to ABRN, and was honored in 2004 by Akzo Nobel as one of the Most Influential Woman in the Collision Industry. Ms. Bartnik was inducted into the Collision Industry Hall of Eagles in 2010.
Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA), Vice President Industry Relations and Alliance Partnerships
Mark leads the industry relations efforts for IAA, Inc. including spearheading strategic partnerships with organizations that support the overall automotive industry. Mark holds several board and committee seats including Collision Repair Education Foundation (Board of Trustees), CIECA (Trustee), and SkillsUSA (National Competition, Technical Committee Member). Mark has held several management positions at IAA since he joined the organization in 2003. As a 30-year industry veteran of the automotive claims indstry, he was previously Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Greenleaf Acquisitions, a division of Ford Motor Company.
GEICO, Assistant Vice President
Ryan West is assistant vice president of Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), with responsibility for claims operations in the company’s Lakeland, Florida, regional office. Before assuming his current duties in 2017, West had headed GEICO’s claims home office since 2013.
West joined GEICO in 1992 as a claims service representative in GEICO’s Macon, Georgia, regional office. He advanced through supervisory and management assignments there before becoming liability director in the company’s Lakeland, Florida, regional office in 2003. West then entered the executive assistant program in 2004 at the corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
He returned to Lakeland for sales, service and underwriting rotations early in 2005 and was named director of claims for the company’s Buffalo operation later that year. West was elected assistant vice president in 2006, with responsibility for claims operations in New Jersey and the New England states in GEICO’s Buffalo, New York, regional office; he served in that role until he took on the home office claims duties in 2013.
West holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mercer University in Georgia. He earned an Associate in Claims from the Insurance Institute of America and is a designated Casualty Claim Law Associate.
Tom Wolf has worked in the collision industry since 1985. Starting his career from grass roots in the business as a refinish technician in the Bay Area of California working for Jim’s Auto Body, one of the first 3 store MSO’s in the country.
Tom hired on with PPG Automotive refinish in 1994 where he remains today. His various roles include: Lead field technical trainer, Territory Manager, Zone Business Development Manager, Regional Manager and was promoted in the spring of 2015 to Director Business Development USCA.
Tom is a sales professional skilled at leveraging innovative techniques to convert leads into new partnerships. His passion, drive and desire to give back to an industry as a lifelong participant that has afforded him and his family lasting experiences and friendships. Currently living in Northern California, he enjoys time with family in a place he calls our resort, the backyard.
He currently sits on the Collision Repair Education Foundation board, where the greater needs of our industry can be met. He is humbled to be working alongside such a giving group of professionals at the Collision Repair Education Foundation.
Axalta Coating Systems, Commercial Director, North America
For over three decades, Keith has spent his entire career in the automotive coatings industry. He is currently the Director of Distribution Management and Industry Relations of Axalta Coatings Systems LLC, (AXTA) headquartered in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Axalta is a global coatings company with net sales of $4.4B, 47 manufacturing centers, serving over 140 countries and employing over 13,000 team members.
Throughout his career, Bell has primarily concentrated on distribution strategy and channel management and is regarded as one of the automotive paint industry’s leading authorities in the field of aftermarket distribution. Bell has worked in various senior leadership roles in sales, marketing and distribution management with BASF Corporation and AkzoNobel.
He is a past board member of NABC and Auto Care Association, PBES (Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists). Bell was elected and served as PBES Chairman from 2014 to 2016. He is also an active member of the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) and Collision Industry Conference (CIC) where he has served on various subcommittees.
Keith attended the University of Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University. He resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, Cindy of 35 years. He has a passion for music, motorcycling and classic cars.
Sr. Director, Replacement Sales
Kristle Bollans has been with The Hertz Corporation for 20 years, holding positions in both the Airport and Off Airport Divisions. In her current role as Sr. Director of Replacement Accounts, Kristle oversees the carrier and body shop Rental Management program for North America.
Kristle is extremely passionate about supporting the collision repair industry, sitting on the Executive Board for the National Auto Body Council as well as a member for board for the Women’s Industry Network (WIN).
Kristle studied Human Resources and Business Management at Madison College; currently residing in Madison, WI with her husband and two children.
Chief Automotive, Global Repair and Training Product Manager, Collision
Mike joined Chief Automotive Technologies in 2014 as a Chief University Instructor. He joined our team with over 17 years of experience in the collision industry. Mike holds a degree in Automotive Business Management and has worked for various automotive dealers as a technician and service writer. Prior to Chief, Mike worked as a seasoned Collision Equipment Manager for a Chief automotive distributor. He successfully managed sales, training and installation for frame equipment, MIG/STRSW welding and refinishing equipment.
In addition to his professional goals, Mike has always enjoyed volunteer work within the automotive industry. He is a devoted advisor for various technical school organizations and a National Technical Committee member with Skills-USA. Mike uses a hands-on approach in training to serve as an I-CAR Instructor and is a ASE Subject Matter Expert for Structural Analysis & Damage Repair (B4). This association has given Mike the opportunity to build many strong business relationships with key players in the automotive training industry on a national level. Mike’s dedication to the collision industry, friendly demeanor and great family orientation are what we strive for at Chief.
GM, Head of Product, Accident Assistance, GM Global Strategy
&Innovation Future Digital Products
John Eck has over 30 years of automotive aftermarket experience with General Motors and has held numerous field sales, marketing, and management positions in several business segments in the USA, Canada, and South Africa.
From 2024-2022 John served as the Collision Manager for General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales. In that role John was responsible for managing parts strategies, developing, and executing innovative programs, and deepening indu
stry relationships. John was also the GM lead in the development of MyPriceLink, an industry-leading dynamic pricing and data-protection engine. In April 2022 John joined the Global Innovation team as Head of Product, Accident Assistance, to improve the customer journey/ownership experience and develop new solutions that drive revenue and retention. John has served two terms on the I-CAR Board of Director’s Strategic Planning and Finance Committees, John held the position of President and Chairman of the Board for the OEM Roundtable from 2017-2020 and is an active participant on the CIC Governance Committee, two CIECA committees and serves on the CREF Board of Trustees. John actively engages with industry stakeholders to advance awareness of GM’s drive towards a “Zero-Zero-Zero” future and collaborates globally to help drive the industry forward in safe and proper repair.
LKQ Corporation, Senior Director of Insurance Services-US
Paul Folino is the Senior Director of Insurance Services-US for LKQ Corporation. With his team of Account Managers, Paul is responsible for fostering the relationships between the insurance industry and LKQ Corporation’s core sales group. Paul and his team present new products, services and training geared to help their insurance partners reduce claims cost and severity.
Paul joined the automotive parts distribution industry in 1998 and has held many positions within. He has developed strong relationships throughout the collision repair industry, traveled to Taiwan to work with overseas partners, supports CAPA and other industry associations.
Paul lives in Connecticut with his wife Bernadette and has two grown sons, Dominic and Daniel. He enjoys weight training, bike riding, fishing and restoring old cars and trucks in his spare time.
Caliber Collision Centers, Senior Vice President, Talent Development
Ty Gamill, Senior Vice President, Talent Development at Caliber Collision Centers, began his career with GEICO as an Auto Damage Intern and held various positions during his 18-year career with the organization. He last position with GEICO was as Regional Auto Damage Director (2001-2010), in which he was responsible for the physical damage operations of 11 states.
Ty joined Caliber in 2010 and currently holds the position of Senior Vice President of Talent Development. Ty has oversight of training and development for the organization, both leadership and technical, as well as Caliber’s centralized call center. Ty is also responsible for Caliber’s internal communications group. Ty’s focus is on creating leaders in every role, building a bench of talent for current and future needs, and driving Caliber’s culture throughout the organization.
Ty graduated from Stephen F Austin State University in 1989 with a BA in Communication.
Ty has been married to his wife Lisa for 27 years, and they have four children, Tyler (24), Megan (21), Angel (17) and Xander (16).
CCC Intelligent Solutions, Senior Vice President & GM, OEM & New Venture
Andreas Hecht has led strategic and business-building initiatives in automotive, digital publishing and consumer electronics industries for more than two decades. He currently serves as General Manager, Senior Vice President of OEM & New Ventures at CCC, the industry’s leading provider of business intelligence solutions for OEMs, insurers, auto repair shops and consumers. Among its offerings, CCC provides an open telematics platform enabling its network of more than 350+ insurance carriers to connect with CCC’s automotive manufacturing partners to share and build new high-value business models from connected car data. Much of Mr. Hecht’s career has focused on the emergence of the connected vehicle through leadership roles at companies such as INRIX, Navigon and HERE Technologies. He holds higher degrees in artificial intelligence from Technical University Berlin, Germany, and currently lives in the wilds of Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and two sons
Josh Krentz is a high school Auto Body Instructor at Forbes Road Career and Technology Center, just east of Pittsburgh, PA. About 18 years ago, Krentz was a student at Forbes Road CTC, in the then Collision Repair Program. After graduation, he attended Universal Technical Institute in Houston, TX. he returned to the Pittsburgh area and worked at the local BMW, Jaguar, and Land Rover dealership for about four years. Krentz then moved on and continued to learn various other skills, such as welding/fabrication, part/parts managing, and sales, while teaching an adult education evening course in Auto Body. Following these experiences, he decided on a career and technical education instructor and enrolled in some of the required college classes, and then ended up being offered the position at my alma mater. Krentz is currently in his ninth year teaching secondary students auto body and refinishing. He also completes contract work for Verifacts an OEC company performing independent OEM collision repair program inspections.
If you work hard while attending a CTE class, you will end up with many skills that will lead to many opportunities in the field. In life, a lot of things can change, and a lot of things can be taken away from you. No one can ever take your knowledge and skills away from you.
Mark Verbois is Vice President of the Replacement and Leisure Division for Enterprise Mobility. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing some of the company’s largest insurance replacement, leisure and domestic tour accounts. Verbois also leads the company’s strategy for MSO (multi-shop operator) partnerships.
Enterprise Mobility operates – through an integrated global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises – the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands.
Enterprise partners with insurance companies and collision repair centers to provide a replacement rental when a customer’s vehicle is out-of-service for repairs. Enterprise also plays an integral role in mobilizing the local recovery efforts of insurance providers, emergency response organizations and collision repair centers following natural disasters.
Verbois began his career with Enterprise in 1994 as a Management Trainee in Seattle, Washington. Over his decades-long career with Enterprise, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in markets throughout the country, earning a promotion to his current position in 2021.
J. Laurence “Larry” Costin
CCC Information Services, Inc.
Lirel G. Holt