The Right Tool
Experience has shown us that the right tool can affect the quality of a repair, the time it takes to complete a repair and most important, it can dramatically reduce the damage that PDR work does to the human body.
The main goal in creating EdgyTools, was to give PDR techs everywhere access to the safest and most productive tools available on the market.
Helping to improve the working conditions, raise the quality of work, and lengthen the careers of the men and women in our industry is always a priority focus.
We want to put the right tools in the hands of every PDR technician.
This is our story…
PDR vs RSI
During my first five years in the industry, I was extremely driven to improve the quality of my work. I purchased every new tool that hit the market so I could make sure that the quality of my work was dependent only on my ability to do it and not the tools I had available. During the next couple of years, I focused on increasing my speed without sacrificing any of my quality. I loved the work so much that I just kept pushing myself to new levels of performance.
After eight or nine hard-working years, the wear and tear on my body finally caught up with me. The damage done to my shoulder over time threatened to sideline me for good. So, I found the best physical therapists in the area. They happened to be the same team of professionals that puts the Green Bay Packers back together after football injuries. (Trust did not come easy to this Bears fan).
The lead therapist asked to see some of my best moves. After demonstrating the bending, twisting, pushing and pulling that makes up every day in the field for a PDR tech, he told me that the human body wasn’t meant to hold those positions and that it definitely wasn’t meant to exert force while holding those positions. Also the repetitive motions commonly made during hail repair can cause damage to tendons and muscle tissue in the knees, back, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. Damage that can occur without you realizing what is happening to your body. These types of injuries are known as Repetitive Stress Injuries or RSI.
My therapist told me to find another profession.
Not willing to give up on a young and growing industry that I loved and that had done so much for me and my family, I had to look for other options. This is what led me and my team to start reimagining the tools and the working processes of the trade.
One of the first tools we developed was the Pull-Rite Hooker™. It seemed silly that while trying to maintain such precision in most of our repairs, we resorted to a block of wood and a mallet to straighten the edges of doors.
The technology for a good repair already existed slide hammers in the collision repair industry. We just needed to adapt their attachments to work with our smaller slide hammers.
It seemed easy. But in order to work, we had to get the material thin enough to fit between the doors without bending or breaking. We had to play with countless steel formulations and hardening processes in order to come up with the perfect design and strength without being too soft or too brittle.
Our time and attention to detail paid off and today we have a tool that does the job of straightening door edges very well. We have been very pleased with the success of the Hooker.
After my injury, I was unable to work for a couple of seasons. My first year back, I had to glue pull everything because of the strain the push rods put on my shoulder. The experience taught me great glue pulling skills but also taught me how rough the process is on our bodies as well.
The glue pulling operation requires twisting back and forth several times from our tools to the dent we are repairing. Each twist is accompanied by bending, lifting and/or pulling. The fact is a simple rail with only 25 dents in it could require twisting from the equivalent of a golfer’s full back swing back to middle as many as 1,000 times. Talk about a misalignment.
After hundreds of prototypes and tens of thousands of dollars we have developed the patent pending TabTote™. The TabTote removes almost all of the twisting by keeping your tabs, mini lifter, alcohol and other tools right in front of you, on the car, where you need it. This makes the repair process much faster and better for your health. We calculate that the first rail you repair with the TabTote will pay for it financially and the savings to your body is priceless.
The Italian Job
A few years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of a team sent to Italy after the Port of Rome was hit by hail. 11,000 Chryslers were left in need of dent repair. About 100 PDR techs from around the globe arrived in Rome for a one-of-a-kind experience. People I met on that trip became some of my best friends in the industry.
The really surprising thing turned out to be the way we all freely shared our knowledge and our best tips and tricks. It reminded me of when I worked as an efficiency expert helping car washes shave seconds off of operations to save money. One of the largest car wash chain owners sent me to teach some of the best strategies to his direct competitors in the area. I didn’t understand at the time but he told me that sharing best practices was good for the industry and that all the car washes would benefit.
In Italy, it clicked for me how sharing information and helping each other was like the tide raising all boats. Especially in a fledgling industry like PDR that was struggling for stability and credibility, everyone would benefit by making more knowledge ‘common knowledge’.
The beginnings of an idea was spawned on this trip that would later become the World Hail Network. An online resource that allows techs from all over the world to learn from each other. Somewhere they can share tips and tricks, stay on top of the latest tools and accessories or simply learn more about the trade. The World Hail Network is the digital version of the experience I had in Italy, learning from and along side sharp, capable people from around the world.\
Edgy As We Wanna Be
In high school, I developed a fascination with alligators and crocodiles. I even owned four of them at one point. Wally, Suitcase, Izod and Mikey, (he was a picky eater like to Life cereal kid), lived in a nine-foot horse trough in my bedroom. My unconventional high school pets inspired our EdgyGator mascot. We had a blast designing him and we continue having fun transforming him into different characters to represent our various product. Meet pimped out EdgyGator.
Unconventional thinking and dogged persistence have been our greatest assets in developing and building new tools, extensive training materials and awesome online resources for the PDR industry. Our mission is to question all the norms and create better solutions whenever possible. Our desire is for that spirit to be reflected in everything we do.
My name is Dave Streen.
Proud father and devoted husband of 25 years. Loves to fly power kites, read, cook and eat.
My love of PDR has pushed me to try and help the industry in any way I could. I am currently the President of the World Hail Network, Treasurer of PDR Nation and I am on the Website Committees for NAPDRT, PDR Nation and the World Hail Network.
All of these great organizations want the PDR industry to mature and develop, to provide jobs to exceptional individuals and become known for extraordinary service. But, in the beginning, they all had very different approaches. As the first person to belong to all three organizations, I have worked hard to help them focus their efforts and work together instead of pulling each other down. I believe that uniting the independent technicians and holding everyone to higher standards is what will protect the industry long term.
Just as PDR has evolved over the past 20 years from using bent up rebar and cheap heavy florescent lights to state of the art LED battery operated lights and rods with interchangeable tips, so too will these organizations grow into the powerful united voice to help steer and guide the industry to new heights.
PS: So many great people have helped me along the way. I would have gone broke and given up about a hundred times if I did not have such an amazing family and support system. My marketing friends, tool designers, partners and my network of PDR technician friends have all helped to bring my ideas and dreams to fruition. Thank you.
My Favorite Dent
I had just finished working a hail storm in Atlanta Georgia and needed to get the transmission checked on my wife’s Santa Fe that I had driven to the storm before heading home to Wisconsin. Her SUV did not have any logos or anything like my truck does so I was undercover.
When they brought me out to the service area to show me the leak, I saw a dent guy set up working and was going to go say hi to him. Before I could, however, he threw a fit and screamed out loud “F*ck this dent, I’m going to lunch!” and he stormed off.
It was a nasty deep dent but very fixable, I am sure he was frustrated by price or other factors or something. Anyway, I snuck over there and used his tool (still hanging out of the window opening and his light and quietly completed the repair. I moved his light several times and absolutely glassed it from all directions and then put everything back as I found it and went back into the waiting area.
I waited and watched and sure enough, he came back refreshed and ready to tackle the tough dent, which by magic, had vanished. I watched his disbelief as he kept looking the panel over and could not make sense of what was going on.
Before I could go explain and have a chuckle with him, they called me over and went over my wife’s repairs with me and I hit the road. By the time I realized, I was too far to go back. I never told him what happened. LOL
My Favorite Hail Damage Repair
I was working in France and my wife and daughter where with me. It was Thursday and I had just finished all of the work at the two body shops I was servicing in the small town of Murat when my liaison told me there was a car in a tiny town about an hour away that I could fix on Friday if I wanted. I always wanted more work back then so said sure. I followed him to the shop Friday morning and he showed me the car which had what we call gravy damage (very fast and easy to fix). My goal was to finish the repair in under 3 hours because they break at noon for a two hour lunch over there. Finishing the car by noon would mean that I got to start my weekend early and eat lunch with my girls. Otherwise I would waste most of the day in this tiny town.
I set up my tools and put my headphones on and attacked the car. In a short time, I had a guy literally looking over my shoulder. Like I could feel his breath close. I smiled and kept working; I was on a mission. By the time I moved from the hood to the roof, I had a few guys watching me. As I cleaned up the hail damage on the sides of the vehicle, everyone else in the shop had stopped working and were all gathered around watching me. I did not speak any French and nobody in the shop spoke any English. I thought they were just impressed with how fast a tech I was back then and how clean my work was. I took it as a big compliment.
I finished the vehicle, loaded my tools and brought my invoice to the office and was ready to leave just a few minutes before my noon deadline. As I was headed for the door, a gentleman pulled me by the arm and sat me in a chair in the office and motioned with his hands to stay, like you would with a dog in training. I waited patiently, not knowing what was happening. Anytime I tried to get up, he would motion again and I could tell by the look on his face that it was important. After about a half hour of this, another man came in the office who spoke a tiny bit of English and he was asking me who I was and where I was from and other simple questions. I finally was allowed to leave and I went back to the hotel in Murat and ate lunch with my wife and daughter.
On Saturday, my liaison stopped by to pay me for the week and he explained it all to me. There had been a miscommunication with the body shop. The shop had never even heard of Paint-less Dent Repair and was under the understanding that I was coming in to conventionally repair the vehicle and would be there for a few weeks working with them; not a few hours. Watching me work, they thought I was a true dent wizard. LOL
When he had stopped by the shop Friday night to pick up the check and finalize the paperwork with them, the vehicle I had repaired was parked in the town center and the town was celebrating and talking about what I had done and how they had seen it with their own eyes. Which is why that vehicle is my favorite hail damage repair and I will never forget the experience.