Chris Chesney

Senior Director, Customer Training for Advance Auto Parts – CARQUEST Technical Institute

Celebrating his 46th year in the automotive service industry, Chris Chesney has held every primary role from a Master Technician, Service Advisor, Shop Owner, Technical and Management Educator, owner of a successful independent training organization (Diagnostic Technician Education Consultants) to his current role as the leader of the most successful automotive training organization in the industry with Carquest Technical Institute (CTI). As a self-taught technician, Chesney is fully aware of the challenges that today’s complex vehicles present for those entering the automotive service industry. These technologies present great opportunity for those entering the industry but also pose a tremendous challenge because of the limited education opportunities available.

With vehicles becoming some of the most complex machines on the planet and recognizing the shortage of talent the industry faces along with the limited education model, Chesney has committed his work to help guide the industry toward solutions to these issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for the National Automotive Service Task Force and helps lead their Road to Great Technicians project that is focused on creating a new education curriculum framework for the industry. He also is a board member of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association which set standards for vehicle inspections and customer communications and is the Past Chair and active member of the ASE Training Managers Council which is focused on growing and supporting the education of in service automotive technicians. As well Chesney is a charter member of the TechForce Foundation Future Tech Success Cabinet, an organization focused on improving the image of the industry while also influencing the parents and influencers of peripheral students who are the future of the automotive service industry.

Over the last 20 years, Chesney has lead the Carquest Technical Institute and is now working to partner with the parent organizations Worldpac Training Institute creating the largest aftermarket technical, sales and management training organization in the world. The focus of these groups is to provide quality continuing education to the in-service technicians across North America. Currently these groups see over 30,000 individual students in the classroom every year and serve online training content to a similar number of additional students. This consolidated team features over 110 highly skilled technician instructors and a management team of 18. All content is created by a group of skilled developers at the CTI Research & Development Center in Raleigh, NC or is licensed from the Original Equipment Manufacturer. The experience and skill of these teams is second to none in the industry.

Jill Trotta

VP/GM, RepairPal Express, RepairPal

Jill is an ASE Certified Technician with over 25 years of experience in the automotive field. She started out as a technician in the early 1990s and has worked her way through many areas of the industry, including as a service advisor, service manager, parts director, and shop owner. In 2017, Jill was awarded the Auto Care 2017 Woman of Excellence Award by the Women in Auto Care Association.

For the past five years, Jill has been a critical member of RepairPal’s Automotive Group. She was responsible for the team that evaluated thousands of independent repair shops across the country in search of the most technically qualified and customer-focused automotive establishments for the RepairPal Certified Network. In addition, Jill has advised many shops on how to improve their business practices so they could later achieve RepairPal Certification.

Jeff Thomas

Business Development Manager, PPG

Jeff Thomas is a 30 year veteran of the Automotive Refinish business. In 1982 he started his career in a small town in Kentucky as a Painter in a Body Shop. He quickly decided that he wanted to change the world with words that would teach and inspire others to challenge themselves to become the best they can be.

Jeff took a sales job with Sherwin Williams in 1987 and took every advantage to reach outside of his sales roll to educate and inspire anyone who would listen to his Game Changing action plan to get the most out of the opportunities that were presented them. “Most people do what you ask them to do” Jeff wants you to do 10 times more than is expected of you. Jeff then embarked upon a career at PPG Industries in 1998 and is currently the Business Development Manager for Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii. He enjoys breaking the mode of just doing your job and reaches across the boundaries that PPG expects and brings a real value to his roll.  Jeff believes in continuous improvement and lives it every day!

Change isn’t necessary because success isn’t mandatory!

Jeff says, “If you’re as good as you’re going to get right now, you aren’t qualified to work with him on any project.” in fact a supervisor told Jeff exactly that 30 years ago and it stuck. Break the rules fast, Fix the problems fast and move on fast.

Jeff has a unique gift that flat gets results and makes everyone,


Armin Price

Principal, Supplier Business Development, I-CAR

As Principal, Supplier Business Development, Price is responsible for managing all supplier business development activities and relationships on behalf of I-CAR®. In his role, he works closely with I-CAR’s field sales operations, product management and marketing organizations.

Price’s career spans more than 25 years in field sales team leadership positions with companies in the collision repair industry, where he helped grow their business and profitability. He earned a B.S. degree in marketing from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Walt Commans

Consultant, Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

Walt Commans has over 40 years’ experience in the Automotive lndustry. He spent 30 years with Snap-on Tools and the last 15 years working as a consultant for ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) covering the nine western states. ln addition to being a consultant to ASE he is also an ASE Education Foundation Manager.

Over the last couple of years he has been working on building a closer working relationship with the independent repair aftermarket and the CTE programs at local high schools and community colleges. Walt has been holding ASE test taking tip workshops for the automotive, truck, collision, school bus technicians. This has now expanded into both high schools and community colleges in the western states. The workshops help technicians better prepare to take the ASE Certification Tests and students taking the ASE Student Entry Level Certification Tests at their schools.

The latest project is holding round table meetings that bring instructors, students, aftermarket shops, school administrators and other lndustry partners together to build much-needed support for local high school and community college automotive, collision and truck programs.

Tim Spurlock

President & Co-Founder, American Diesel Training Centers

Tim Spurlock founded American Diesel Training Centers in 2017 using an innovative model of 300 hours of hands-on training supported by cutting edge learning technology and curriculum.  In 16 months ADTC has become one of the top 10 producers of diesel mechanics in the United States.  Its graduates work for more than 80 companies including every OEM dealer.  Many of its graduates work for independent shops.

ADTC uses an innovative sharing model where it partners with shops to deploy its recruiting and training system.  This provides the shop with a new income stream by monetizing its existing resources and facilities.  ADTC currently has 12 locations either launched or in development to launch by April.

Clark Souers

Owner & Founder, EXPERT EFFECT

Before launching his adventure as an entrepreneur, Clark Souers held several leadership roles in the field of human resources during his 20-year career. During his tenure in the entertainment industry, Clark was Director of Human Resources for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) where he was responsible for all employee-related matters for entertainment venues around the world.  While in the hospitality industry, he developed acumen in the areas of training and development, employee relations and policy development. In the non-profit sector Clark held executive level HR positions with several high profile organizations.

Clark is the Owner of EXPERT EFFECT, a company that he founded which not only provides human resources excellence for a minimal investment, but surrounds actors, athletes, business executives, entrepreneurs and high-performing students with a team of stress-resiliency experts.

Brett Steele

Director, Auto Services Division, Podium

Brett Steele is the director of the Auto Services division for Podium, a communication platform for local businesses. From getting found online to winning repeat business, Podium powers every step. It’s the simplest way to collect reviews, gather insights, and talk to customers in real-time through text. Brett is fascinated by business strategy and helping businesses adopt new technology to create continual competitive advantages. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and endurance sports.

John “JB” Burkhauser

Director of Education, Bolt On Technology

John ‘JB’ Burkhauser is an Auto Repair Specialist with over 30 years of experience—with expertise ranging from A Level & ASE Certified Master Tech, Shop Advisor/Manager, to Automotive Trade School Instructor, and Technical Writer.

He is a highly sought after industry thought leader who has been published in both the US and Europe. JB currently serves as Director of Education at BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY, the leading provider of automotive software solutions that solve the most common struggles facing the Automotive Repair & Maintenance Industry.

Larry Monroe

Client Advocate, DRIVE

Larry has extensive experience using industry-specific tools of management helping people and businesses for over 30 years. He was part of the consultant team in the development of the SBA program and has been an expert with DRIVE (formerly known as Management Success) since 1994, assisting small business owners throughout the United States and Canada. Larry has personally helped hundreds of owners build better businesses and lives through advanced management techniques.

Jim Saeli

Senior Consultant, DRIVE

Jim Saeli is a senior service consultant, instructor and shop inspector for DRIVE. With more than 35 years of industry experience and having owned a shop of his own, Jim is a highly requested keynote speaker, specializing in areas of management, marketing and employee relations. Jim resides in New York with his wife of 30 years; they have 2 children.

Karla Vice

Client Advocate, DRIVE

Karla is one of the most senior Business Advisors at DRIVE with over 15 years of experience helping shops all over the United States and Canada. She works with shops of all sizes and has personally helped hundreds of shop owners achieve their goals. She is also a skilled instructor, teaching many workshops on a variety of subjects, including marketing and deep diving into shop financials. Her specialty is in helping shop owners get organized so they can move their shops to the next level. She has shown time and again that her purpose is to help business owners succeed. She constantly works to find the best resources to help each and every shop owner she works with to get them to the next level of expansion.

Chris Scully

Client Advocate, DRIVE

Chris Scully is a highly trained executive and entrepreneur with over 35 years of management, consulting and business ownership experience. As an expert in several areas of business management, he has worked with businesses in 18 different industries including professional services, manufacturing, real estate, building trades and non-profits to name a few. Chris has worked with organizations as small as one-person shops and as large as several hundred staff and over $50M annual revenue.

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