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Caliber Collision Centers and NHRA Champion John Force Honor Individuals in the 'Mentors At Work' Apprenticeship Program.

IRVINE, Calif. -- Caliber Collision Centers, an Irvine-based operator of high-quality collision repair facilities in California and Texas, recently honored two individuals for outstanding achievement in the collision repair industry. Julio Gonzales and Scott Larkin, both first-year apprentices at Caliber's Chino Valley location, received MAC toolboxes worth $2,500 each for their outstanding progress in Caliber's "Mentors At Work" apprenticeship program.

John Force, 13-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) champion top-fuel funny car driver, presented the autographed MAC toolboxes to both apprentices. "These guys are our future," said Force. "I congratulate these kids on their hard work and perseverance, and I believe that a technician's toolbox is like their office. They personalize their toolboxes, just like a person does their office or cubicle. In time a technician's toolbox becomes an extension of themselves, complete with family photos, little league photos and meaningful possessions. They take a great sense of pride in their tools; it's how they make their living."

Caliber filled the toolboxes with many of the tools most often used by collision repair technicians. "Tool costs can be a deterrent when attracting top quality people to this industry," said Rick Reiss, vice president, operations - California. "By offering a tool reward incentive package through our apprenticeship program, we have removed this barrier. We're thrilled that MAC Tools and John Force donated these toolboxes and having John here to present them in person was the icing on the cake."

Both Gonzales and Larkin are participating in the Caliber "Mentors At Work" apprenticeship program under the watchful eye of J.C. Baccus, director of technician training for Caliber. Baccus, a veteran of 25 years in the collision repair industry, is one of the top technicians in the country and in 2004 was named the collision industry's "Mentor of the Year" at NACE.

"It was really cool to meet John Force and receive these awesome toolboxes," said apprentices Mike Larkin and Julio Gonzales. "Through the 'Mentors at Work' program we've completed over 100 different skills tests and in six months we've learned more about the collision repair industry then we ever imagined. We're extremely thankful to Caliber and 'Mentors At Work' for giving us this opportunity to grow and learn the skills needed to become the best in the business."

Founded in 1991, with headquarters in Irvine, Caliber Collision Centers operates high-quality collision repair facilities in California and Texas. Caliber currently owns and operates 68 facilities and today has annual revenues exceeding $200 million. In addition, Caliber plans to continue acquiring, developing and integrating high-volume collision repair centers while providing innovative collision repair solutions and automobile physical damage claims support. For more information about Caliber Collision Centers visit www.calibercollision.com.

"Mentors At Work," founded in 2001 after 18 months of research and development, provides automotive repair and collision shops with a full plan for shop implementation of an online apprenticeship program, complete with attracting, training, retaining and tracking components. For more information, log on to www.mentorsatwork.com or call 888-225-6968.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 18, 2005
Words:498
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