Kim Beck (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)
CULLMAN – Kim Beck knew when he was young that he wanted to work with and help kids. He even thought about running a daycare at one time. He also developed a love for cars after fixing his own as a teen following a minor collision with a tree. This led to him becoming an expert in body work and more.
Beck recently opened his own body shop in Cullman. Beck’s Auto Body, located at 1645 Second Ave. NW in Cullman, specializes in collision repair and painting. Beck is bringing an assembly line approach to his body shop with two different shifts to better service customers.
He explained, ”With two shifts we will be able to get our customers back in their cars sooner.”
Beck has an impressive resume of experience.
“I’ve worked in and around body shops my entire life and I finally have my own,” he smiled.
Beck got his start in 1971 at Mitch Smith Chevrolet and eventually became the foreman of its body shop. While working at the shop, Beck earned his teaching degree from Athens State University. He left Mitch Smith in 1986.
Beck taught at and is now retired from Brewer High School where was a body shop instructor, coach and homeroom teacher. While teaching, he spent his nights and weekends teaching seminars throughout the country and locally. His knowledge, especially in painting processes, put Beck in high demand.
After Beck retired from Brewer in 2011, he said Ford Motor Company reached out and asked Beck to help in the redeveloping of its paint processes. In particular, Ford needed a more efficient way for new paint and spot repairs in its factories. Beck created the manuals of guidelines, protocols and procedures still used by Ford today. He traveled extensively to Ford’s factories in the U.S. as an instructor.
Other companies such as PPG Paints, Axalta (DuPont), Polaris and Tesla consulted with and use paint processes developed by Beck.
During this time, Beck stayed on the road saying, “Last year, 244 of my days were spent staying in hotels while training at factories.”
Beck decided it was time to stay home. He can now spend more time with his family and especially his grandkids. Beck’s Auto Body opened in late summer and Beck said he enjoys working with the people of Cullman. The shop can do body repairs and/or paint on cars, trucks and motorcycles. The shop uses the same painting technique he taught; it involves a heating process that dries the paints from the inside out. Beck said the technique allows for a much quicker drying time resulting in a longer lasting paint job.
Beck can also be heard on a radio show on Monday nights for a station out of Mobile. “It’s a car talk show and we have a good time. I love being part of the Cullman community and the body shop community.”
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