by Autobody News Staff
Foundation Ambulance is an ambulance repair facility in Fayetteville, GA, that repairs emergency response vehicles.
The facility’s ability to refinish ambulances that make their way to the shop is largely due to the size of its Accudraft spray booth.
David Diget, vice president of Foundation Ambulance, said, “Our booth is long enough to accommodate large ambulances and even fire trucks. The ability to paint various fire apparatus is a big draw for the emergency response industry. It can be very cost-prohibitive to send an apparatus back to a manufacturer, which could be across the country, just for a paint repair that could be handled right here in the heart of the South.”
Foundation Ambulance invested in a 43’4” x 16’10” x 14’16” Accudraft booth for its facility as well as a 10’ x 8’ x 8’ Pro Mixing Room that it uses to spray its PPG paints.
Diget said, “The quality produced by the Accudraft paint booth is amazing. We know we will have a high-quality finish the first time, every time.”
Dee and David Diget founded Foundation Ambulance in October 2016 and opened in January 2017 after the closure of their former employer, the nation’s largest ambulance remounter. The pair boasts 25 years of experience in the ambulance and collision repair industries, respectively. Among the certifications they’ve received since opening are the Ford Quality Vehicle Modifier Program (QVM Certification), Certified Woman-Owned Small Business, Drug Free Workplace certification, NHTSA, GIADA, and NIADA certifications, plus the facility is PPG Delfleet Evolution certified.
The facility is 24,000 square feet, where 12 to 15 emergency response vehicles are repaired each month. Although it currently employs 33 industry professionals, Foundation Ambulance is currently looking to hire more personnel to keep things moving smoothly.
Foundation Ambulance is able to turn around a high number of ambulances and fire trucks each month because of the quality equipment it has invested in. Its two buildings are stocked with two lifts, two metal fabrication shops, a complete cabinetry facility, a complete graphics shop, an upholstery shop and “one awesome paint booth,” Diget noted.
“In addition to repairing emergency response vehicles, we also offer graphics repair, fleet rebranding, used ambulance sales, ambulance remounts, and new ambulance construction.
“The ambulance industry is a little bit different than the collision repair industry. Not all adjusters have full knowledge of ambulance repair. There is a general lack of knowledge among adjusters where emergency vehicles are concerned. Our role is to educate the adjusters who oftentimes have never come across an ambulance accident repair job. There are certification requirements in place that would present a liability for an ambulance that was previously in an accident and subsequently repaired and put back on the road. In the event of a future accident, the liability would be a great risk.”
The increased liability concerns associated with emergency vehicle repair make it even more imperative than normal for Foundation Ambulance to ensure that it is delivering a high-quality repair. That quality begins with the products and equipment it uses for the repair process.
According to Diget, “In addition to the Accudraft booth, we have a Delfleet mixing bank system, and we purchase all of our supplies from ACS, such as paper, tape, bondo, grinding discs and more. We have always used ACS at Foundation and at our previous company over the last 18 years. The service at ACS is second to none. GSB Industries provides maintenance and filters for our booth.”
Foundation Ambulance received training on how to use the paint booth and the mixing room from ACS.
Diget stated, “It was very easy to implement these products into our normal business operations. With PPG’s training and technical support, they made the process a breeze. The RTS cost is low. The finished product is outstanding. Also, the team at ACS provides exceptional service from the counter employees to the management team to technicians. They are a top-notch company. Our employees appreciate the support we receive, from the ease of product application to the readily available products when we need it.”
Looking at current industry trends, Diget observed “a serious lack of qualified technicians within the body shop industry,” predicting, “Unless more focus is put on educating and training our youth, the industry will be seriously struggling within the next 10 years.”
Because Foundation Ambulances recognizes the importance of protecting the environment, its paint shop is equipped with a paint recycler. It also uses the recycled thinner in the production process, leaving it with a carbon footprint of zero.
Community involvement is also important to Diget, who reported, “Foundation Ambulance supports Trinity Christian School’s robotics department and football team. Another way we enjoy giving back is to support various equine competitive sports through the use of our graphic shop by donating signage or customized items.”