Kevin Haller, a 1987 Automotive Collision Repair graduate, came to Ranken yesterday morning to present the first Alumni Entrepreneur Workshop of the academic year. Haller has served for 22 years as the General Manager for Schaefer Autobody Centers and was the recipient of Ranken’s Distinguished Alumnus award in 2014.
At Schaefer, Haller currently employs over 20 Ranken Collision graduates, and he also maintains an apprenticeship program for Ranken students. In yesterday’s workshop, Haller provided insight into his hiring process, providing students with a frank discussion of traits his company looks for when hiring.
The keys to success, according to Haller, are maintaining a good attitude and setting specific goals. Unmotivated employees with bad attitudes, he explained, are “the kinds of guys we’d rather have working for our competition.”
Haller emphasized the importance of his attitude in his own success. He acheived his current position by starting with an entry-level position at Schaefer and demonstrating his work ethic at every step along the way. He began as a detailer, cleaning cars at Schaefer. When a body work position became available, he had proven that he was the right person for the job. Shortly after that, he became an estimator, and eventually became a manager.
He described the way that he uses incentives to motivate employees at Schaefer. Everyone in the company has incentives paid out weekly, from the detailers to the General Manager, because “You can’t play football without a scoreboard,” he said.
“Ranken did a lot to get me on the right path,” Haller said, and he continues to support the College in a variety of ways. He has donated to the car show and supports the Automotive Collision Repair Technology program by serving on the department advisory board. In this role, he helps Ranken to stay on the leading edge of the collision repair field by teaching the most current skills technicians need.
Haller has also assisted the department with evaluations to maintain accreditation from industry organizations including the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Additionally, Kevin is a Skills USA judge and has written letters on Ranken’s behalf for the I-CAR grant application. Kevin also supports Ranken through donations to the annual Fund for Ranken campaign.
In 2007, Kevin was honored as one of Ranken’s Top 100 Outstanding Graduates to commemorate the centennial of Ranken’s founding.