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MSO Symposium

A review of the 2022 speaker line-up

David BeumerManager, Product Management, Mitchell International, Inc.

David Beumer has more than 25 years of experience in the auto insurance industry. As a product manager at Mitchell, he oversees the development of Mitchell Intelligent Estimating, the company’s advanced claims automation solution that leverages AI, machine learning and one-of-a-kind data to improve the efficiency and accuracy of collision damage appraisals. Prior to joining the company, he held roles as an auto body shop technician, manager and owner with I-CAR Platinum, ASE Master Technician and General Motors Master Technician certifications. David also spent nearly 10 years as an auto insurance appraiser, adjuster and claims leader. In addition, he has a background in organizational development with a focus on human behavior, psychology and change management.

Charles BlankVice President, Commercial Support, Customer Satisfaction, AutoZone

Charles Blank, Vice President, Commercial Support, is a dynamic sales leader for the company’s Commercial business and a member of AutoZone’s CEO team. He has a demonstrated track record of influencing his teams to deliver progressive and recurring sales goals. Charles’ high caliper and energetic style positions him to build strong relationships with global leaders at Business-to-Business (B2B) companies to ensure AutoZone is set to enter new markets and to support additional business growth from more than 5,400 Commercial store locations.

Charles joined AutoZone in 2001 as a part-time Parts Sales Manager and a year later was promoted to Store Manager. He became a District Manager in 2006, worked as a Divisional Project Manager in 2011 before becoming a Regional Manager in 2012. He was promoted to Divisional Commercial Sales Manager in 2015, Divisional Vice President in 2017 and his current position as Vice President, Commercial Support, in 2021. Charles is ASE-certified, and the recipient of several company awards. Charles is also an Executive Sponsor for AutoZone’s Black Business Resource Group, whose goal is to drive a diverse and inclusive environment that connects AutoZoners through networking, educational opportunities, and community engagement while raising cultural awareness. Charles is originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Andy ChallengerSenior Vice President, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Andy has been with Challenger for 8 years. He leads the Sales Team and appears in the media as a trusted expert on workplace and employment topics. His mission is to provide the highest quality outplacement and executive coaching services available to the global business community.

Tracy DarringtonDirector, Replacement & Leisure Division, Enterprise Holdings Inc.

Tracy Darrington is Director of Sales for the Replacement and Leisure Division at Enterprise Holdings Inc. In this role she is responsible for overseeing some of the company’s largest insurance replacement, leisure and domestic tour partnerships.

Enterprise Holdings operates – through an integrated global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises – the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands, as well as nearly 10,000 fully staffed neighborhood and airport locations, including franchisee branches, in more than 90 countries and territories. Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental company in the world, as measured by revenue and fleet. In addition, Enterprise Holdings is the most comprehensive service provider and only investment-grade company in the U.S. car rental industry.

After earning her business degree from Alabama State University, an HBCU, Darrington began her career with Enterprise in 1998 as a Management Trainee in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2004, Darrington earned an executive-level promotion to Area Manager in Montgomery. Two years later she was promoted to Area Manager overseeing the larger daily rental operations of both Montgomery and Macon, Georgia.

In 2011, Darrington was promoted to Group Rental Manager in Maryland, where she led Enterprise’s rental operations. This journey to Group Rental Manager prepared her for a career transition out of operations and back to her passion of sales and developing valuable business partnerships. Darrington was promoted to Replacement Sales Director in Maryland in 2017 and it wasn’t long after that she was promoted to her current role at the global headquarters for Enterprise Holdings in St. Louis, Missouri.

Darrington demonstrates a devotion to social responsibility and community service in various areas. She currently serves on the St. Louis Board (and as a national member) of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA). She is a committee chair member for the St. Louis Alzheimer’s Walk Association, a member/volunteer of the Regional Business Counsel (RBC) as well as founder and member of “Goal-Friends,” an executive working woman’s support group. Darrington also has served on several other boards throughout her career such as the Salvation Army, United Way, Boys and Girls Club(s) and the National Urban League, to name a few.

Dean FisherMaster of Ceremonies, President, Collision Group, Driven Brands

Dean Fisher has almost 50 years of experience in the automotive industry. After owning multiple automotive-related companies, Dean decided to bring his independent collision repair facility into the CARSTAR family and became a franchise owner in 1991. In 2013, Dean took his expertise in collision repair operations to the corporate team at CARSTAR, where he held varying leadership roles including chief operations officer and president of the CARSTAR brand. Now, as president of collision companies within Driven Brands, Dean is focused on helping ABRA, CARSTAR and Fix Auto USA maximize its franchisees’ growth, profitability, and operational standards.

Susie FraustoVice President of Marketing, The Boyd Group

Susie Frausto is a marketing professional with over 20+ years of experience in the automotive and consumer packaged goods industries. She is currently the Vice President of Marketing and part of the Executive Management Team at the Boyd Group, overseeing all branding and corporate marketing activities for the organization. 

Susie previously held marketing leadership and brand management roles for Kellogg’s, the Jel Sert Company and ConAgra Foods. Her early career included working for Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. She started with Kraft Foods as a Hotdogger, otherwise known as a goodwill ambassador, driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. 

Susie serves on the board of WIN, the Women’s Industry Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement and retention of women in the Collision Repair Industry, where she is Vice Chair and part of the Executive Committee. She recently joined a local board for the Dupage Symphony Orchestra and mentors school age students in the FIRST Lego League. 

Susie has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison along with an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. She lives in Saint Charles, IL with her husband Chris and two sons. 

Chris GardnerSenior Vice President, Operations, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA)

Gardner is part of AASA’s senior leadership, manages staff operations and directs technology initiatives for members.

He provides executive leadership for the AASA Technology Council, Mobility Technology Council, OES Council, Supply Chain & Operations Forum, and the AASA Technology Conference, which is the leading technology event in the North American Automotive Aftermarket industry. He serves on the board of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) and the University of the Aftermarket Foundations.

He also provides executive oversight over AAPEX for AASA.

Gardner has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, has received two automotive component patents, and has written dozens of articles and white papers on various automotive materials and processes.

He has been with the MEMA/AASA organization for 24 years.

Gardner has a B.S. degree from North Carolina State University and a Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional designation from Northwood University’s University of the Aftermarket. He received the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award. He is a Lifetime Trustee with and serves on the board of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation.

Ricardo GonzalezManaging Director, New Mountain Capital

Ricardo Gonzalez is a Managing Director at New Mountain Capital, a New York-based private equity firm.  He is focused on investments across sectors including auto aftermarket, insurance services, and software. Previously, Ricardo was a director at private equity firm Hellman and Friedman, a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, and worked in sales and marketing at Eli Lilly and Company. He currently serves on the board of Classic Collision, Alpine Intel, and Summit Wash Holdings.

Eddie HightowerSenior Vice President, Sustainability & Social Responsibility, Caliber Collision

Eddie Hightower is a business leader with deep experience that includes General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer and Head of Human Resources Officer roles across many industries in both private and public companies.

Currently, Eddie is developing the initial Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) programs for Caliber Holdings Corporation, a private-equity-backed company that is the largest collision repair provider in the U.S. As Senior Vice President, Sustainability & Social Responsibility, he also is directing the company’s business continuity, security and risk management/corporate insurance programs. This follows Eddie’s time as the company’s Senior Vice President, Teammate Services, when he was responsible for executive leadership of the Human Resources function across the enterprise, providing talent development, employee relations, compensation, recruiting, benefits and payroll services. He also led Caliber’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to present.

He has been a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Bar Association, and a volunteer for Operation Kindness – North Texas No-Kill Animal Shelter.  When not working, Eddie enjoys traveling with his husband, walking their rescue dog and reading about history.

Diane KappasVice President, Global Sustainability

Diane Kappas is PPG vice president, global sustainability. She is accountable for leading the company’s efforts to implement positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) actions into core business strategies and functions, enabling the company to reduce its environmental impact, creating positive social impact and growing sales by creating value for customers.   Kappas assumed this role in July 2021.

Prior to this newly-created position at PPG, Kappas was vice president, automotive coatings, Americas and vice president, protective and marine coatings, Americas, where she had P&L responsibility for the businesses in the region.     

Kappas has worked at PPG for over 35 years across multiple product platforms including specialty films, optical monomers, automotive glass, specialty chemicals, architectural coatings, industrial coatings, refinish coatings and automotive coatings. These PPG products are sold into various industry segments including construction, transportation, oil & gas, marine, power, security films and optical. She has held a variety of roles in manufacturing, supply chain, quality management, procurement, human resources, EHS and general management prior to moving into her current role.  

Kappas is an avid believer in the power of diversity and was the founder of PPG’s Women’s Leadership Council in 2001, which was created to attract, develop and retain female talent. She was also the executive sponsor and is a current active member of PPG’s LGBTQ+ employee resource network. She represents PPG in the “Sustainability 50” organization which is a private community for sustainability leaders from globally respected organizations to intimately share ideas, solutions and collaborate on climate change issues.  

A native of Pittsburgh, Kappas earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Business Administration from Duquesne University.

Bart MazurekVice President of Consulting & Services, CCC Intelligent Solutions

Bart Mazurek is the Vice President of Consulting & Services for CCC’s Automotive Services Group (ASG) based out of Chicago.  The consulting practice supports CCC’s ASG National Accounts by providing the data analytics as well as workflow optimization. 

Bart has more than 20 years of experience in automotive and P&C Insurance markets, including seventeen years with CCC Intelligent Solutions and four years with Accenture Consulting.  His strengths include long term strategy development, process re-design, value prop development, and deep-dive data analysis. Bart has an M.B.A. in Strategy and Marketing from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, an MS Ed from The University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in History from Boston College.

Frank RicciRegional Claims Leader, Allstate Insurance Company

Frank Ricci is the Regional Claim Leader for the Allstate Good Hands Repair Network (GHRN).  He is responsible for the execution of the GHRN program and a fast, fair and easy claims experience for customers.  Frank has over 25 years of experience in Auto Insurance with several carriers in the industry.

Dan RisleyVice President of Quality Repair, CCC Intelligent Solutions

Dan is the Vice President of Quality Repair and Market Development for CCC Intelligent Solutions.  He has spent the past 30 years working in the collision repair industry. He began working in a family owned and operated collision repair facility in Chicago, Illinois. Upon leaving the family business, he began his career in the industry by working as a refinish sales and service representative for BASF and later as a project manager for CCC Information Services. He spent 8 years as the President of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and most recently, the past 5 years as the President of the Automotive Service Association (ASA).

In his current role, he works closely with the collision repair industry and the car manufacturers to better understand their needs to ensure CCC delivers products and services to meet their changing needs as it relates to things such as repair quality, certified collision repair programs and parts.

Dan’s has participated on many board and committees over his career including:  Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) board member, Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Database Task Force co-chair, CIC Data Access, Privacy & Security Committee co-chair, Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) board member, Automotive Management Institute (AMI) board member, Certified Aftermarket Parts Association (CAPA) technical committee, Aftermarket Telematics Task Force member, NSF Repair Standard advisory board, Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) board member,  State Farm Advisory Council, Taiwan Aftermarket Parts Task Force and National Auto Body Council (NABC) board member.

Vincent RomansManaging Partner & CEO, The Romans Group, LLC

Vincent Romans is the founding principal and managing partner of The Romans Group LLC established in 1996 leveraging four decades of business operator and consulting experience with domestic and global enterprises. The Romans Group provides business, market, financial and strategic development advisory services to the collision repair, property and casualty auto insurance, and the auto physical damage aftermarket ecosystem.

He is a frequent speaker, moderator, panelist and writer on the dynamic and evolving marketplace and industry trends impacting collision repair, property and casualty auto insurance, and numerous other adjacent segments involving the auto physical damage supply chain. Through his thought leadership and as a change agent, catalyst and facilitator of concepts and ideas, he drives the development, introduction, understanding and acceptance of new innovative and disruptive business models.

His broad base specific market experience, SME, has assisted domestic and international private equity, investment banking firms, and strategic buyers in their research, evaluation and acquisition of target assets. He has participated in developing company, market, industry and competitive due diligence knowledge and intelligence involving most segments within the auto physical damage and P & C insurance marketplace.

Stacee RoyceVP of R&D, Automotive Aftermarket Division, 3M

Stacee began her 3M career as a sales representative in the Automotive Aftermarket Division in 1996 and has since enjoyed a varied and successful career with 3M. She has held positions in sales, application engineering, project management, acquisition management, and various R&D management roles.  Stacee is currently responsible for the strategic operations of the laboratory and driving global growth and engagement across the business.

Christopher Thornberg, PhDFounding Partner, Beacon Economics

Christopher Thornberg founded Beacon Economics LLC in 2006.  Under his leadership the firm has become one of the most respected research organizations in California serving public and private sector clients across the United States. In 2015, Dr.Thornberg also became Director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and an Adjunct Professor at the School. An expert in economic and revenue forecasting, regional economics, economic policy, and labor and real estate markets, Dr. Thornberg has consulted for private industry, cities, counties, and public agencies. He became nationally known for forecasting the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007, and was one of the few economists on record to predict the global economic recession that followed. Dr. Thornberg holds a Ph.D in Business Economics from The Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the State University
of New York at Buffalo.

Jason VerlenVice President, Product Marketing, CCC Intelligent Solutions

Jason Verlen is Vice President of Product Marketing for CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc. Before leading Product Marketing Jason led Product Management at CCC for six years.  He has extensive experience in the software industry with specific expertise in product marketing, product management, big data, and analytics.  Before joining CCC in May 2015 Jason spent five years at IBM where he was VP of Big Data Analytics.  Prior to IBM, he was VP of Product Management for SPSS, a predictive analytics software company.  Jason earned a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. 

John WalcherPresident, Veritas Advisors, Inc.

John Walcher is the President of Veritas Advisors, Inc., an M&A, capital raising and strategic advisory firm that works with automotive aftermarket companies to help them achieve their growth objectives through acquisitions and real estate developments, or representing them in their pursuit of the ultimate milestone: the sale of their businesses.

Mr. Walcher brings a wealth of knowledge to every engagement.  During his more than 20 years in M&A, he has been involved in numerous collision repair transactions, including many MSO deals on both the buy side and the sell side. He also has led multiple deals in other segments of the aftermarket, including automotive service, paint distribution, equipment manufacturing, software and professional services.  His background is supplemented by dozens of deals in health care, engineering & construction, manufacturing and various service industries, as well as transactions in China, Brazil, England and Canada.  He provides expert witness testimony and valuation opinions, speaks on M&A trends and strategies, and has advised several large private equity groups on consolidation strategies.

Prior to starting Veritas Advisors in 2009, Mr. Walcher spent many years in corporate M&A, doing deals for two Fortune© 500 corporations, as well as spending seven years at Caliber Collision Centers, departing in 2007 as its Vice President of Corporate Development and Governmental Affairs (during which time the company was ranked #9 on the INC. 500© list of Fastest Growing Private Companies).

Before attending graduate school, Mr. Walcher was a senior staff economist performing econometric analysis as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor.  Mr. Walcher holds a Master of Science in Finance from the London Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Economics cum laude from the University of California.

John WysseierChief Operating Officer, Glass America, LLC

John F. Wysseier serves in the role of Chief Operating Officer of Glass America, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boyd Group.  Glass America and Gerber Collision & Glass are leading providers of auto glass repair, replacement, collision, and ADAS calibration services across the United States.

John began his career with PPG Industries and successfully progressed through several assignments of increasing complexity and managerial responsibility through his twenty-two-year career within PPG.  John’s experience within PPG Industries includes Finance, Operations, Merger & Acquisitions, Sales and Commercial Market Development, and General Management within the U.S. and Europe.  

John was instrumental in launching LYNX Services’ highly successful customer servicing and call center operational platforms in Fort Myers, FL and Paducah, KY and driving rapid growth of LYNX Services in the mid-to-late 1990s.  This assignment provided John with a unique opportunity to broaden his career interests and leverage his professional skills and personal competencies beyond a traditional Finance functional role into operational and commercial areas of the business.

In early-2000, John was assigned into the role of Director, Operations and Business Development, The CEI Group – a PPG majority-owned business focused on providing collision repair, accident management, and driver safety and risk management services within the fleet, leasing, and P&C insurance segments.  In this role, John managed the integration of CEI into PPG ‘s Insurance and Services SBU portfolio and led the business on a journey of rapid and profitable growth via market penetration, new product development, and Client acquisition initiatives.

In 2003, John was assigned into the role of Managing Director, CEI Europe.  Based in Barcelona, Spain, this assignment provided John with a unique opportunity to lead the launch of CEI within the pan-European marketplace which enabled him to gain valuable commercial, entrepreneurial, and general management experience with full income statement responsibilities within highly complex, non-US market environments.  

In late-2006 following John’s highly successful European business development experience, John was appointed into the role of Vice President, Operations, LYNX Services.  In this role, John had responsibility for the full scope of LYNX Services’ call center and related operational support activities.  In 2011, John was appointed into his current Executive Leadership role as Vice President and General Manager, Insurance and Services and President, LYNX Services, L.L.C.

John is based in Fort Myers, FL.  John received a BS Degree in Finance from the Pennsylvania State University and an MBA Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.