Just under one month remains before the inaugural “Futures Collide” Collision Repair Conference takes place at the centrally located Novotel Melbourne On Collins on Saturday August 10.

There is still time for collision repairers from Victoria, across the country and New Zealand to register online at and take part in this custom designed industry event that will address the real issues facing the collision repair industry from people who are experiencing these issues - fellow collision repair business owners and operators.

Leading the impressive line-up of industry speakers at the Capricorn “Futures Collide” Collision Repair Conference is leading American collision repair industry business owner and consultant, Mike Anderson. A champion of the industry on a global scale, Anderson spends the majority of his time sharing from his own experiences by teaching cutting edge management and operational techniques, while also serving on leading industry advisory boards throughout the USA and Canada.

The emphasis on our Australasian collision repair industry at this conference is paramount and to address many of the day to day issues of this highly specialised sector of the automotive repair industry, Capricorn has assembled a panel of local collision repair business owners alongside automotive repair industry heavyweights to share their learned insights at this event.


Andrea McCarthy - McCarthy Panel Works

Andrea has 22 years of collision repair experience gained from her family business. Andrea became the first female elected to the Board of I-Car Australia last year and is the only female repairer representative on the MTAQ Committee NACA division. Andrea brings outstanding integrity and relative insight as a current collision repair business co-owner.


Carly Ruggeri - Europanels

Carly Ruggeri is a second-generation body repair business owner who has grown up in the industry. Her proudly independent prestige vehicle repair business, Europanels, is based in the Victorian coastal city of Geelong. Carly and her brother Jake took over the family business from their father Peter. Europanels is a TESLA Approved Body Shop and a Subaru Certified Collision Repairer. Carly is currently Acting Chair of Body Repair Division Executive for the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and also sits on the Industry Policy Council.


Mike Killen - Killen’s Smash Repairs

Mike commenced his panel beating apprenticeship in 1983. Mike’s enthusiasm for his profession saw him join the James Hardie (Bathurst) 1000 TAFE Smash Repair team in both 1986 and 1987 and he also represented the state of New South Wales at the 1988 Work Skill Olympics. Mike has served on several industry committees including the NRMA Jumpstart Training Initiative and the NRMA Preferred Repairer Advisory panel. He currently serves as an Industry representative on the Skills Australia Training Review panel for Body and Paint. Mike is also Green Belt 6 Sigma PPG Qualified and he has been a recipient of the National Collision Repairer Lifetime Achievement Award. Killen’s Smash Repairs is one of the few Regional Operations to be I-Car Gold Class, Holden and Subaru Certified Collision Repairers and Green Stamp Accredited.


Jason Trewin, I-CAR Australia

In the role of OEM and Industry Relations Director for I-CAR Australia, Jason works closely with vehicle manufacturers to assist with the introduction of dedicated training pathways and the facilitation of specific training roles for body repair technicians. Jason is a passionate collision repair industry member whose goal is to ensure that the industry’s current and future workforce is upskilled with the latest repair methods.


Geoff Gwilym - VACC

Geoff Gwilym is the Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and brings a long history in the automotive industry. Geoff’s many achievements include the running of two national skills councils; Automotive along with Transport and Logistics. Geoff has managed large industry training provisions and holds a central role in the development of automotive qualifications and skills forecasting for the automotive industry. More recently Geoff has been a key driver in national industry policy initiatives including improved code protections for body repairers in their engagement with insurers.


Sam Street - Paint & Panel

Sam Street has had a long career in automotive magazines from consumer magazines as well as business to business based automotive aftermarket industry publications. Sam is editor of Australasian Paint & Panel. Sam has developed several excellent industry initiatives including the annual Paint & Panel Bodyshop Awards, the Paint & Panel L!VE conference, the Next Generation seminar and group for younger repairers and she has also initiated a highly successful Women in Collision awards program and annual seminar.


Rod McDougall – QBE Insurance

Rod McDougall is the National Motor Strategy Manager for QBE Insurance and possesses 30 years of experience across the insurance and collision repair Industry. Rod has worked for several Australia based general insurers in various roles from Motor Assessing through to Supply Chain and Motor Insurance Strategy positions.


According to Rob Mildenhall, Capricorn National Panel Manager, “Capricorn is fully committed to supporting the panel repair industry. We look forward to engaging in meaningful conversations with the attendees at the conference, including both Member and non-Members, who are interested in making the collision repair sector more prosperous for all.

“While many collision repair conference speaking topics tend to place a major amount of emphasis on technologies that may not impact repairers for some time, this conference is totally focussed on the real issues facing the Australian and New Zealand collision repair industry here and now.

“These are the day to day issues that are important to collision repairers now, including access to technical data, repair methods, the sourcing and sustaining of labour, procurement pressure from insurers and parts sourcing software just to mention a few,” Mildenhall added.

This special event will also provide networking opportunities with a number of suppliers, concluding with a cocktail function immediately following the conference. The centrally located Novotel Melbourne On Collins is adjacent to the city’s major shopping and entertainment precincts and Capricorn has negotiated discounted accommodation rates that can be easily booked upon registration.

With Capricorn Members accounting for almost half of Australia and New Zealand’s collision repairer population, and with non-Members welcome to take part, there is no doubt that the “Futures Collide” Collision Repair Conference, hosted by Capricorn, will be a highly worthwhile day of learning and networking in Melbourne on Saturday, August 10.

To register to attend online, Capricorn Members may do so at, while non-Members can register at






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