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Thank you for visiting my PDR Nation profile. My name is Shane Glidewell. I live in Searcy, Arkansas approximately 40 miles north of Little Rock. Personally I consider myself a bit of a podcast-addict, a fan of audio-books, things that have a vintage quality and am fascinated with all aspects of cars. I have a beautiful wife of over 13 years. Together we have raised two children; Ty now 21 and his sister, Shelby, 18. My wife Allison is presently a nursing student at Arkansas State University and has approximately 1 semester left to complete her Registered Nurse degree. My son is a senior at Arkansas State as well, majoring in Chemistry, and my daughter will be attending Arkansas State as a freshman in the upcoming fall. I also studied at Arkansas State for 2 years; you could say we are ASU fans! Go Red Wolves!!
A little personal history –
Professionally speaking, I have a background that began as a love for cars even as a child. In my early to mid 20’s, I worked in a high-end collision center as an estimator. I learned how to create a solid estimate and deliver quality detailed service in a professional manner. From there I worked in the auto industry selling autos for a local dealer. Again, I learned a great deal about how to make a quality transaction and the importance of the details. It was the next stop in my career that prepared me best for my eventual time in the PDR world. It had been a dream of mine for years to own an independent auto dealership. Allison and I saved our money for years to be able to make this dream come true. At age 27, we were finally able to pledge enough cash and commitment to open the doors. This allowed me a nice run at offering a solid 30-50 retail-friendly units (average unit cost 12k). The majority of the business’ success was a result of good internet marketing and good ole fashioned networking. I truly believed that quality of product and hard-lined customer service was drastically more important than profitability. I believed that the former would eventually provide the latter. That quality mind-set showed up in my inventory. My vehicles were known to other dealers as “Shane-ready”. One aspect of that quality, was in using local PDR techs and appreciating the skill enough to keep it in the back of my mind as a possibility of a future endeavor. After owning Shane Glidewell Auto Sales for approximately 7 years, the dealership business as a whole had changed a lot and was forcing me to go in a direction that was no longer fun or profitable. I made the tough decision to shut down the dealership and pursue a career in PDR.
Finding quality training proved to be difficult for me. I could not imagine paying the amount of money required to attend a 2-3 week school versus what I might get in return for such a short period of time. I just felt like for that amount of money, 2-3 weeks was not long enough. I sought information online, talking with local techs that I had used for years, and watched what seemed like a thousand YouTube videos. Combing through the deluge of online information regarding training classes etc, I happened upon information about a convention specifically targeting the paintless dent removal industry, Mobile Tech Expo (MTE) in Orlando, FL. This was Jan 2014. Much to my surprise, the next MTE event was approximately one week away. I attended having never pushed a dent in my life. While down there, I ran into the local tech that I had paid thousands of pdr dollars to over recent previous years for the benefit of my own dealership, Mr.Wade Johnson. I also ran into Mr.Greg Van Winkle. He and I had been friends for years outside of the pdr industry. We had run the Hot Rod Power Tour together, attended other car events together and had mutual friends in the autobody industry. Greg and I had been close friends for years. He owned a retail pdr shop and a solid route in the Conway, AR area, (an hour from my home). Also there, was a hail tech named Billy Jo Virden (BJ). Greg had trained BJ some years earlier. He was quiet but I could tell, very smart, motivated and sought to hone his craft. I wanted to know this guy better and am fortunate to have had that opportunity because he has helped me many times since. During that MTE weekend event, these three techs were so kind to me. They welcomed me to tag along the entire 3 days. They offered advise willingly and made me feel right at home being around them. Looking back, this was an incredibly valuable time in my life. These guys mean the world to me and I am very thankful to the each of them for their unselfish influence.
My #1 goal in attending MTE was to find personal training with a reputable experienced tech. In those 3 MTE days, I had learned a lot but not nailed down a 100% commitment to an individual I was willing to trust with my training investment dollars. Driving home, Greg called me. Within 20 min we had agreed upon an arrangement for cost of training and a plan. I knew of his reputation for quality and that if he was able to convey some ground-level knowledge and a place to learn, my commitment and educational dollars would be his – whole heartedly and with deep commitment. I drove an hour, one-way for a year working to learn as much as possible. Working in this environment challenged me to learn all that I could every day. I truly believe that working under Greg’s tutilage, fast-tracked my skills a bit. In addition to day-to-day physical training with Greg, during the first 6 months, I subscribed to 6 months of Dent Trainer. I met John Highly at MTE the previous week. Looking back, subscribing to Dent Trainer was a integral part of the skills that I possess today. It was a daily routine to work at night in the living room on a hood or fender that I had mounted to a stand that I made of 2×4’s. I would roll either of them in and out of the garage and annoy the family to insanity banging and hammering. They have been very supportive too, and I am thankful for that.
After a paid one year apprenticeship with Greg Van Winkle at Dent Masters of Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas was completed, I felt that I wanted to put my motivation, business experience and fledgling skills to work building a company. Thus, I ventured out independently. I reached out to my dealership relationships and former customers to get busy building a daily schedule of work. The first two years, I ran route work for dealerships and collision centers and had some success. However, no doubt about it; my pursuing a career in PDR is the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do professionally. Financial success proved to be difficult and just short of my goals and expectations; even with having local connections and relationship history. A successful PDR career requires much more than just big-time PDR skills. Business experience and raw physical craftsmanship are not enough. I have learned that success doesn’t come merely from PDR lessons taught in a shop or classroom. It comes when the perfect storm collides with motivation and a deep desire to succeed. I have yet to reach that goal yet, but it will happen. I am determined to make it happen.
The Present and Future Goal-
Simply put, my children are in school and this affords me the opportunity to chase hail. It makes professional sense to go in this direction, as the financial reward is greater. For so many years, I worked to build an independent auto dealership that would profit as a result of enticing clientele with a near perfect preowned vehicle. The problem; my hard work, my investment dollars, my commitment was subject to success, not based on how hard I worked, rather if the car was the right color or had the right amount of miles. The resulting solution; putting that same mindset of hard work, investment dollars and commitment in a scenario that compensates me at the behest of said hard work, money and commitment, and not the whimsy of a potential buyer. I am prepared to put my business experience, and pdr skills to work specifically in the pursuit of full time hail work. I am insured with General Liability, Workers Comp, and Garage Keepers policies. I have experience writing hail estimates and can do so with Mobile Tech RX or other industry standard software. I look forward to being a part of the solution for your hail storm repair needs.
My name is Gerald Miller from Jonesboro AR, I am the owner of To Hail And Back. I have been performing PDR since May of 2011 after a friend of mine noticed I was struggling with my touch up business. He said he would train me if I would work for him and I agreed. Before I started PDR I owned a small touch up business where I repaired bumpers, scratches and rock chips for several car dealers in NE Arkansas and SE Missouri. I owned that business for 7 years until the used car market came to a stand still after the governments Cash For Clunkers promotion. After that happened I started training with my friend Neil Waters and work with him for a year until it was time to go out on my own. I wish I had listened to him all those years he tried to tell me I would be great at PDR, it only took him 8 years to talk me into it. I have worked on cars most of my life doing everything from paint and body to fabrication and customizing Muscle Cars and I like PDR the best. Thank you for your time.