Training/Seminar Instructor Profiles

Todd Althouse, Beacon Software
Technology and the Workplace, Thursday 2 – 2:50 pm Going Mobile, Friday 9 – 9:50 am

Todd began his career in the towing and recovery industry in the late 90s after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a Minor in Computer Science and spending almost 15 years developing commercial software. After realizing the many ways well-designed software could benefit towing and recovery companies by making their businesses easier to operate and manage, Todd partnered with a towing company and founded Beacon Software.


Beacon now dispatches over four million calls per year throughout the United States and in over 30 countries worldwide, and continues to develop software that helps drive towing companies into greater profitability. Beacon Software proudly supports many towing and recovery industry associations and organizations.

Carol Berz, Private Dispute Resolution Services, LLC
WTRAA Education Series:
Conflict in the Workplace and Beyond, Saturday 1 – 4 pm

Carol Berz is the Chief Executive Officer of Private Dispute Resolution Services, LLC, a mediation services and training organization headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and serves as a Chattanooga City Councilwoman representing District 6.

A civil and family mediator, Dr. Berz is listed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee as a Rule 31 Neutral and Trainer in General Civil and Family Mediation and as a Trainer in the special circumstance of Domestic Violence. In addition, Dr. Berz serves as a mediator for the United States Postal Service REDRESS program and does extensive teaching in both the public and private sectors in the areas of mediation, mediation advocacy, mediation ethics and employment and labor/management matters relative to the costs of corporate conflict.

Formerly the Director of Forensic Services for Joseph W. Johnson Mental Health Center, and subsequently its Executive Director, Dr. Berz also has served as a visiting professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, teaching social policy, law and ethics. She is a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, with extensive post-doctoral training in mediation, law and conflict management system design.


David Bouvia, WreckMaster
Handling Hybrids, Thursday 3 – 3:50 pm
Common Towing & Transport Damages, 10 – 10:50 am

David began his career in the towing industry in 1985 operating a light-duty wrecker providing towing and light service. Within his second year in 1986, David moved on to a fulltime middle management administration position in the emergency road service department with a major motor club and remained there until December 2001. David is a certified instructor for the New York State approved traffic safety program. In 1994, David held a position for a decade on the advisory board for the automotive program at Morrisville State University of New York. David joined Team WreckMaster in January of 2002 as a full time lead instructor presenting seminars and demonstrations at trade shows internationally. David has also contributed to WreckMaster’s research and development department.

Bill Giorgis, Tow Times
CYA: Documenting a Scene, Thursday 4 – 4:50 pm
Safety, Safety, Safety – Friday, 11 – 11:50 am

Bill Giorgis has been a full time towing operator since 1986, when he stepped in to manage his family business, Mike’s Wrecker, in Saginaw, Michigan, for his ailing father. Bill’s commitment to improving the towing industry is evident by his many past and current commitments – he has served in many officer roles for TRAA, the national association, culminating as President. He continues to serve as President of the Michigan Towing Association, Secretary of TT Publications Inc., parent company to Tow Times magazine, and is a member of the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Marine Division Dive Team, with certificates in underwater recovery, salvage and life saving. Bill was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 2002. Bill regularly speaks for the towing industry on a state and federal level, and on many automotive-related panels and task forces. He has for years been advocating safer working conditions for towing operators through increased safety training.


John Harmon, Tennessee Highway Patrol
TIMS Training

Lt. John W. Harmon is the supervisor of the Special Programs Unit in the Chattanooga District. Which includes ACES, Pupil Transpiration, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Motor Coach, CMV New Entrant, Safety Education, Dept. of Safety Hand Gun School Inspections & PIO for district. Lt Harmon started his career in the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement in 1995. And is a graduate of Northwestern School of Police Staff & Command. He is a Commercial Vehicle Specialist holding numerous Commercial Vehicle certifications. He is an Adjutant instructor at the THP Training Center and holds both Federal and State instructor certifications in Commercial Vehicles. Lt. Harmon is an Instructor in the National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Training.

Michael McGovern, The McGovern Law Firm
The Story After the News: Famous Tow Calls, Friday 10 – 10:50 am

Attorney Michael McGovern has been representing towing companies throughout the United States for over 30 years. He grew up in a towing family, driving a tow truck on nights, weekends and summers while attending the University of Tennessee College of Business, from where he graduated with honors, and later the UT College of Law.


Michael is the former executive director and general counsel of the Towing and Recovery Association of America. He authors the popular “Legaleze” column that has appeared in Tow Times magazine for over 15 years. In 2007 he was honored with Ford Truck’s Lifetime Leader award for his work in the towing industry. In 2011 his book “Towing and the Law” was published and it has become the recognized reference book on legal issues in the towing industry. He currently serves as attorney for the Tennessee Tow Truck Association and, last year, became the only practicing attorney to be inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame here in Chattanooga.


Dan Messina,
Get Out of Debt, Thursday 2 – 2:50 pm
Educating Your Staff – Friday 11 – 11:50 am



Dan began his career in the 60s working with Pittsburgh National Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1977, he moved to Texas and continued his career in the computer industry. Dan worked for several consulting firms in Dallas for the next 35 years. In 1997, he had an opportunity to run a small towing business for four years, turning it into the largest private property towing company in the Southwest. He began teaching classes on how he built his business and created a DVD.


In 2003, Dan started his own towing company with one truck and no accounts and in two short years was again number one. In 2006, Dan founded Southwest Tow Operators, one of the largest U.S. towing associations. In April 2011, Dan sold his second towing company at a very nice profit.


Dan’s accomplishments include being named American Towman 2009 “Towman of the Year,” published author and columnist for industry publications and motivational trainer and lecturer.

Nick Porto, The Porto Law Firm
Protect Your Company from Wage and Hour Issues, Friday 9 – 9:50 am

Nick is a lifelong resident of the Kansas City area. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri Kansas-City School of Law, where he served as literary editor of the UMKC Law Review. Upon graduation, Nick completed a one-year judicial clerkship in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Jackson County, Missouri followed by several years at a prominent Kansas City litigation firm. In 2011, Nick realized a lifelong dream and founded the Porto Law Firm. He is also an adjunct professor at Penn Valley Community College, where he teaches tort and contract law. Nick works with the Move Over for Blake Foundation, focusing on gaining more recognition for move over laws to protect towing operators working roadside.


Ray Rodecker, Insurance Auto Auctions
Don’t Crush Your Cash, Thursday 3 – 3:50 pm

Ray has been in the automotive business for over 20 years. He is a leader in being first in whatever venture he takes on. He was one of the first to get involved in the subprime market in the 1990s with a large dealer group, working with GE Capital to create the first used car subprime leasing. In addition, he was first in bringing a bank to the Carolina’s without a brick and mortar foundation. In his role as Divisional Sales Manager for Insurance Auto Auctions, Ray’s newest venture is bringing better ideas for handling abandonment inventory to the towing industry.

Wes Wilburn, American Towing & Recovery Institute
Advanced Light-Duty Towing Class, Thursday 9 am – 6:15 pm
At the International Towing Museum

Sponsored by Alabama Towing & Recovery Association
Wes Wilburn, Towing Industry Consultant from Fayetteville, North Carolina, is a contributing writer for Towing and Recovery Footnotes plus many other state association newsletters. He has produced and conducted training and certification programs for leading towing companies, equipment distributors and towing associations across the United States. Wes has “shared information” as a main speaker for 20 years at 650+ sessions and was recognized as One of Americas Greatest Towing Trainers at the awards ceremony during the Millennium Celebration at the Baltimore Tow Expo. He has a straightforward but down-to-earth teaching style.