It’s the people: Holland Collision named Business of the Year

February 2013 Posted in Business, Community, People

The team of Holland Collision Service.By Brenna Wiegand

Silverton resident Mark Holland credits the success of his business to his employees.

“All of my people have got many, many years of experience and therefore I have complete trust in their decisions,” Holland said. “I don’t have to watch over anybody because I know they’re going to do exactly as I would – do the correct repairs and do them right.” They’re the reason, he said, Holland Collision Service was named Silverton Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Business of the Year.

Holland, a third generation ‘Silvertonian,’ hires seasoned body repair specialists – only.

“Taking a car with minor to severe damage and bringing it back to its former glory – that’s where my talented employees come in,” he said.

“I started out in it and it’s all I’ve ever done,” said body tech Larry Helms. “Once you get under a car, you tend to stay there.”

Hooked in high school, Helms earned an Associate of Applied Science degree at Linn-Benton Community College and launched into the trade, working for a Salem dealership 27 years before signing on with Holland five years ago.

He said Holland creates a no-stress environment in which “you are left do your job.”

The crew’s satisfaction spreads to the office, said office coordinator Tammy Schmaltz.

“It’s fun working here,” she said. “They’re a really good group – the guys are a lot of fun.”

“I got interested back in high school in Ithaca, N.Y., then took training in Atlanta,” said Adam Gatch, a retired body technician working part-time for Holland.

“I like doing the work,” Gatch said. “If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. It’s all I’ve ever done.”

Maintaining excellence means keeping up with the constantly changing materials cars are made with.

“The metals are getting thinner and the types of metals used now lend less to reparability and more to replacement,” Holland said. “They’re thin, high strength steels, where more panels need to be replaced than in years gone by – as little as five years ago. The urethane plastics are more difficult to repair too.”

Such decisions complicate an insurance claim for the average person, while Holland deals with the large entities on a regular basis.

“Mark bends over backwards to make sure a car meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations,” painter Willie Meyer said. “They can usually drop it off, get the rental car and Mark takes care of everything else so that when you get your car back all you’ve got to do is turn the key and go home – pretty cool.”

“What do most of us know about cars?” said Ken Hector, who volunteers with Mark Holland through mutual community involvement. “When it comes to auto repair it’s worse than a doctor; you’re so totally at their mercy, but Mark is a genuine guy to work with.”

Jeff Gerhards developed a friendship with Holland while playing soccer at Silverton High along with Holland’s sons Don and Greg. Mark encouraged the players and helped found Silver Falls Soccer Club.

Jeff’s a Marine stationed somewhere out of Kuwait, so his father John Gearhart spoke for him.

“Jeff is a major fan of Mark’s and makes a point of seeing him whenever he comes home,” he said. “Both my boys have great respect for him.”

“Mark does a lot of things – much of which are behind the scenes,” Hector said.

“All of this fanfare and limelight on me is really unexpected and I don’t know quite how to take it – it is a super honor,” Holland said. “Auto repair historically has been plagued with a poor reputation, and I’ve worked very hard to correct that.

“I intend to continue to provide service to the community that has given me such great support and say thank you to Silverton, Mount Angel and the surrounding communities.”

Holland’s wife Mylisa is a human resources manager for the State of Oregon. They have three grown sons: Jason has a law degree and works for the Washington Public Employees Association. Greg owns a Hubbard-based granite countertop business and his twin brother Don, an automotive insurance adjuster, lives in Mount Angel with his wife Jill. They’re expecting Mark and Mylisa’s first grandchild – a girl – any day now.

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