At 24 years old, Dan Morrow was an auto body technology graduate, working as a refinish technician at a local body shop. Although he was excelling in that role, he had the drive and desire to do more with his talent.
Taking a leap and following his heart, Morrow founded Morrow Collision Center on N. 22nd St. in Lincoln, NE. The shop grew quickly over the next decade, and after eight years of planning, Morrow’s second location opened in February 2020.
“The N. 83rd St. location is a custom-built shop designed around a more efficient repair process,” Morrow said. “We’re equipment heavy and employee light. We provide our employees with the best tools, equipment and environment possible, so they can perform their best and reach their professional goals.”
With that in mind, Morrow equipped the new collision facility with “sleek and modern” equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas. “We’d just built a brand-new, state-of-the-art body shop, and the equipment had to be equally up to par," he said. "While planning the shop, we left space for these products because we’re constantly evaluating ways to make our unique repair process more efficient.”
The I-CAR Gold certified shop has grown to 21 employees who average 140 vehicle repairs monthly, making efficiency a top priority, along with quality. The tools Morrow purchased from Spanesi Americas include self-piercing riveters, a 106 EXT structural straightening bench, a 14,500A SMART squeeze-type resistance spot welder, a Q5.2 three torch MIG/MAG welder and a Multibench workstation repair machine.
“The advanced welders are easy to set up, allowing our technicians to get more work done in a day,” Morrow said. “The Touch electronic measuring system really gives us a competitive edge. We use that machine all over the shop and can easily transfer it between locations. It’s extremely intelligent and accurate. If there’s a custom measurement we want to record, it’s simple. With the Touch electronic measuring system from Spanesi Americas, we aren’t getting frames measured ‘close enough;’ we’re measuring them spot-on!”
Morrow’s Collision Center uses the Multibench “every single day. It’s so fast to get the vehicle set up and measured, too,” Morrow said. Although transitioning from a 30-year-old frame machine to the modern equipment manufactured by Spanesi Americas was “a drastic change,” implementation was “very easy” since Spanesi sent a representative to train Morrow’s team.
“The entire team at Spanesi Americas is really helpful. Whenever we need to contact customer service, someone is immediately available to answer our question,” Morrow said. “Our Spanesi representative formerly worked as a technician, so he has significant collision industry background and provides our team with appropriate training.
He visits our shop in-person several times each year to answer questions and train new employees, and if we ever need new parts, he drives more than four hours, so we receive them quickly.
“No one on my team has complained about any of the products from Spanesi Americas,” Morrow continued. “In fact, some of our experienced techs, who are accustomed to doing things in the traditional way, have caught on to the benefits of these products. They’ve even commented that they don’t know how they did it before we started using Spanesi’s equipment.
“These products are a necessity. We live in a world where cars must be repaired perfectly, and Spanesi equipment allows us to do exactly that.” By enhancing efficiencies in the collision repair process, the equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas help Morrow Collision Center lower its carbon footprint.
Morrow designed his second facility with efficiency in mind, building the auto body shop entirely from concrete. “Our building is more efficient overall, allowing us to use less energy than a standard building of the same size, and vacuum extraction sanding creates a safer, cleaner work environment for our employees,” Morrow said.
The City of Lincoln has recognized Morrow Collision Center’s recycling efforts. Yet, even as Morrow designed his second location with efficiency in mind, he’s continuously recognized the value of community.
“Our N. 83rd location was uniquely designed with a large, open, drive-in estimating area. Nonprofit and youth groups consistently use this space for meetings and events, free of charge. We also host several free, public events every year to bring our neighbors together—tailgate parties, garage sales and yoga-brunch,” Morrow said. “We want our locations to be viewed as positive additions to the community, not just large industrial buildings that moved into the neighborhood.”
Morrow’s efforts have led to the continued growth of Morrow Collision Center. “Today, Morrow Collision Center consists of two locations with numerous direct repair relationships and a growing book of satisfied customers," Morrow said. "We’ve created a highly efficient repair system in which all vehicles move in a cycle, eliminating much of the normal body shop waste, and we’re always forward-thinking.
“It’s important to remain agile in an industry where many auto body shops are stuck in the past, sticking with what’s comfortable and familiar.”