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INSURTECH INCOMING! The FIVE big data trends coming to auto insurers that every repairer should know about.


NIP IT IN THE BUD What EVERY repairer must know about legal and prescription pot!


Tech-Bond’s Don Meyers’ quest to unlock the secret of polymer bonding.

The untold story of how B.C. repairers won a spin war against the government.

OPPORTUNITY KNOX CARSTAR Fredericton’s Steve Knox steps up to the challenges of repairing in an age of change

PLUS OEMs charge-up their

EVs; Lessons from CCS’s top performers summit; Fix hits the Falls and MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Volume 17, number 3 l June 2018




Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40841632   l  86 John Street, Thornhill, ON L3T 1Y2


ON THE COVER 34  OPPORTUNITY KNOX Need something done? CARSTAR Fredericton GM shows us why it is best to hire a busy person. Photography by James West and Nick Robinson.



The untold story of how repairers won a war of words with the provincial government.


The story of how one innovator managed to crack the secrets of polymer bonding.


The five big data ideas changing the face of automotive insurance.



16 COLLISION REPAIR Tesla’s terrible day, China corners cobalt and Herbie and HAL turn 50.


DEPARTMENTS 06  PUBLISHER’S PAGE  by Darryl Simmons A blast from the past. 27  WHO’S DRIVING?  by Jay Perry What millennials look for in leaders. 29 PRINCIPLES OF REPAIR by Peter Sziklai The future appears hazy.


Fix Auto’s first network conference, held in Niagara Falls, Ontario.


Canadian and American auto recyclers meet for cross-border summit in D.C.

ON THE COVER: CARSTAR Fredericton’s general manager Steve Knox. Photography by James West.

31 DEAR JOHN by John Scetta Weighing up the cost of strategies. 32 TRAINING  by Andrew Shepherd Certification and its discontents. 51 ATLANTIC VIEW  by Kelvin Campbell Labour shortage, meet International hiring.


60  EMPLOYEE RELATIONS  by Chelsea Stebner Budding concerns about legal weed.

Canada’s collision repair information resource. New articles and top news stories daily. Visit

72  EXECUTIVE VISION  with Michael Macaluso A conversation with CARSTAR’s CEO. 94  RECYCLING  by David Gold On the ARA’s new, clearer vision.

HAVE YOUR SAY. We welcome your comments on anything you see in Collision Repair magazine. Send your feedback to


98  FINAL WORD  by Jeff Sanford Canada’s collision conquest.




A look back at the industry in 1970


By Darryl Simmons



ertification programs, new materials, technologies and procedures—the collision repair industry is undergoing a monumental shift, one for which there is no precedent. I sometimes feel like a broken record, but perhaps I shouldn’t complain. With an understanding of the changes in the industry becoming more and more vital to the success of individual shops, it is a great time to be in my line of work. I do, however, indulge myself in the bit of nostalgia, putting on a pair of rose-tinted goggles to remember the halcyon days of repairs past. It was such a feeling that

What I had not expected to discover was how many of the issues we think of as very modern problems are in fact, ones being raised so long ago. In the second issue, the big story revolved around the B.C. Automotive Retailer Association’s attempt to create a professional standards certification structure. Forty-eight years later, I understand the province is still considering the proposal. Insurer expectations—especially the demand that shops perform certain unpaid duties—were also the focus of considerable ire, as they are today. More surprising was the piece about an idea sweeping insur-

DESPITE THE CHALLENGES WE NOW FACE, IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE HOW FAR IT HAS COME. gripped me when I decided to take a look through the early issues of Bodyshop magazine—which was acquired by CRM in 2016. It was a profound pleasure to read about what the industry was like almost 50 years ago. As I dug into the articles, it was clear that the half-century-old stories were talking about about a very different industry. For one thing, the work being performed by shops was far less specialized—which is reflected in lower labour costs. In 1970, the hourly rate was estimated at $4 in Vancouver and $3.50 in Calgary— which would only be about $25 and $23 per hour today. It also describes these wages as surprisingly high for positions requiring similar levels of skill. The products being advertised to shop owners were designed as solutions to problems we no longer face. At the time of the first issue, lead was the industry standard filler material, though health concerns were pushing the industry to explore other options. It was a mood that Metal Mate Flexible Autobody Filler manufacturer Falcon was clearly trying to capitalize on in their advertisement.

ance company boardrooms—to put certain shops on approved lists. In fact, in Bodyshop’s second letter from the editor, a point was made I have heard many times—if you don’t qualify for approval, you really shouldn’t be in the business at all. The industry is changing at a spectacular pace. Despite the challenges we now face, it is refreshing to see how far it has come. Not only has the workforce professionalized, today’s customers view collision repair shops as welcoming places—with coffee pods and staff dedicated to providing quality customer service. While it is true that many of the most pressing concerns facing the community are very modern, the core issues have been around for a long time. There’s a lesson in that: the collision repair community has, and always will learn to adapt.


ART DIRECTOR MICHELLE MILLER (905) 370-0101 STAFF WRITERS JEFF SANFORD IT/WEB DESIGN WAUN BRODERICK (905) 370-0101 VP INDUSTRY RELATIONS & ADVERTISING GLORIA MANN (647) 998-5677 MANAGING DIRECTOR IMM/DIRECTOR BUSINESS SOLUTIONS & MARKETING ELLEN SMITH (416) 312-7446 INDUSTRY RELATIONS ASSISTANT WANJA MANN (647) 998-5677 CONTRIBUTORS DAVID GOLD, PETER SZIKLAI, JAY PERRY, ANDREW SHEPHERD, CHELSEA STEBNER, KELVIN CAMPBELL, BRIAN HOUGH SUBSCRIPTION One-year $39.95 / Two-year $64.99 Collision Repair™ magazine is published bi-monthly, and is dedicated to serving the business interests of the collision repair industry. It is published by Media Matters Inc. Material in Collision Repair™ magazine may not be reproduced in any form without written consent from the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising and disclaims all responsibilities for claims or statements made by its advertisers or independent columnists. All facts, opinions, statements appearing in this publication are those of the writers and editors themselves, and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions or endorsements by the publisher. PRINTED IN CANADA ISSN 1707-6072 CANADA POST CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL SALES PRODUCT AGREEMENT No. 40841632 RETURN POSTAGE GUARANTEED Send change of address notices and undeliverable copies to: 455 Gilmour St Peterborough, ON K9H 2J8

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Collision Repair magazine is published by Media Matters Inc., publishers of:


PEOPLE ON THE MOVE CARSTAR promoted Collin Welsh to serve as the director of franchise development for Canada. Welsh joined CARSTAR just six years ago, with his efforts fo- Collin Welsh cused in Eastern and Northern Ontario, cultivating relationships with CARSTAR franchise partners and enacting strategic growth plans in order to develop them into successful multi-store operations. General Motors announced the appointment of Steve Carlisle as senior vice president and president of Cadillac, replacing Johan de Nysschen. Travis Hester Steve Carlisle of global product programs is named president and managing director of GM Canada, replacing Carlisle. Carlisle began his GM career in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. Polaris industries announced that Craig Scanlon is Transamerican Auto Part’s (TAP) new president. Scanlon succeeds Greg Adler, who is assuming a new role as Craig Scanlon executive vice chairman. Scanlon and Adler will both report to Steve Eastman, president of aftermarket, parts, garments and accessories for Polaris. Dent Wizard International has announced the promotion of Mike Black to CEO. With just six locations in Canada, Dent Wizard’s Mike Black strategy has appeared to focus on building up a presence in the Maritimes, with three of its locations in the Atlantic region. The former CEO, Terry Koebbe, will be elevated to the position of chairman and will advise the senior management team and assist in the company’s merger and acquisition efforts.

Harry Dhanjal, well known throughout the collision repair industry, has taken on the role of global strategic developer for Fix Auto World. Dhanjal is a seasoned industry professional Harry Dhanjal, with a lifelong passion for all things automotive. Harry’s experience spans a wide array of positions from business development, regional manager, national sales manager, OEM business manager, Canadian business manager for the automotive refinish division, North American insurance and industry relations manager and most recently global key accounts and industry relations manager. In his role as global strategic developer, Dhanjal will be responsible for identifying key markets and growth opportunities for Fix Auto and NOVUS Glass, with a special focus on India and the Middle East. Fix Auto has announced the appointment of Mark Weeks as general manager for the Fix Auto Network, Atlantic region. Weeks has been with the Fix Auto family for over three years Mark Weeks as a strategic partner developer in the Atlantic region, which is a key operational role that directly supports Fix Auto’s members. Paul Randles, the former general manager of the Atlantic region, will remain an integral member of the Fix Automotive Network’s senior management team. Randles will be moving to the eastern U.S. to assist in developing the network’s U.S. - based brands in that region. John P. Roth, currently vice president of marketing, sales and service at GM, has been named president and managing director of GM Africa and Middle East operations. John P. Roth Roth will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and responsible for growing the Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and AC Delco business throughout the region. Mario A. Spangenberg, president and managing director of GM Africa and Middle East operations, elected to retire.


Scott Bell, currently director of sales operations for Chevrolet in the U.S., has been named vice president of GM Canada’s marketing, sales and service. Scott Bell Bell will be responsible for marketing, sales and service across all four GM brands – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Bell joined GM in 1989 and has held numerous sales, service and marketing positions across the GM brands, including fleet and commercial and Buick GMC.


Open Dialogue Dear Collision Repair magazine, I just wanted to say that this article written by [new columnist and Tsawwassen Collision owner] Peter Sziklai was excellent. It is obvious he has a thorough understanding of the challenges and changes happening in our industry. We plan to share this article with the appraiser visiting our collision centre today to review a file that was rejected by the image desk specifically because we followed OEM procedures—thank you for a great article, Peter. Regards, Pat Stenson, co-owner CSN Kingston Thank you for the note.We had a feeling that Peter’s column, which appears in this issue, would be a hit, and so previewed it in our daily e-zine. We are very happy to have him—and his ideas—in our magazine. Not only is he exceptionally well informed about many facets of the industry, but he has valuable insights about what it means to be a progressive repairer. —Ed


Dear Readers: As the leading collision repair trade magazine in Canada, your opinions are immensely important to Collision Repair magazine, the leading collision repair trade magazine in Canada. It is our mandate to provide you with meaningful content that is of value to anyone in the industry. Our team maintains close relations with many of our readers, and we hope that everyone who opens these pages feels comfortable enough to call in to our offices and share his or her thoughts about the industry with us. We are always open to hearing from the community about what we should cover, should have covered and, most importantly, should have covered in a different way. Please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us a letter. While we do read every letter we receive, we lack the space to publish them all. We are particularly interested in the industry’s thoughts on our most recent regular segment, “Wednesday Wisdom.” In recent weeks, Collision Repair magazine’s daily e-zine has introduced this new weekly section, which is set up as an interview with notable figures within the automotive aftermarket. The discussions revolve around their thoughts on the state of the industry and their advice for those seeking to succeed in it. We welcome any suggestions for future subjects. To reach out, please email our editor, Gideon Scanlon, at or call him at (905) 370-0101.


Repairers anonymous: What is the biggest problem facing the industry? In March, CRM embarked on a new mission: to build an online platform where the collision repair community could speak its minds about the issues facing the industry without fear of retribution. “The Stand Up, Speak Out” forum is now live. What follows are a list of anonymous answers to a simple question: “What do you see as the biggest problem facing the industry.” Fair warning, CRM has not filtered the submissions, only edited them for style. They do not necessarily represent the views of the magazine.

Compensation and insurer pressure on our industry forces repairers to do more with less. Insurers are always looking for the lowest-cost provider with little regard for training, equipment or customer service. Many preach it is all about the customer, but actions speak louder than words, and they tell a different story. For example, insurers are asking for volume rebates where repairers are already discounting labour.

I have a few top concerns: We are handling towing bills and we are not authorized to put in mark up on them. Insurers are taking discounts off towing invoices when we bill them at cost. We can also find ourselves spending up to 2-3 hours on a total loss and no compensation from them. The large insurers have not permitted a labour rate increase for 4 years running—that is abuse.



We need to find a way for the honest repair shops to unite and portray the industry as one that has integrity and is trustworthy. To do this, they must be compensated fairly by their largest employer, the insurance industry. Only then can the cheaters be eliminated.

What is wrong with the industry? Of course the door rates come to mind, as well as the growing list of included operations costing shops up to ten hours on every repair job. Repairers must provide free estimating, free car washes, free storage, no charge for moving vehicles to dealers for re-coding sensors.

The biggest problem? It is the lack of backbone within the industry. Too many shops are willing to back-stab their competitor to get a job and it is ruining the field. It has set us back fifteen years because shops are slow and will do anything to survive, including reducing door rates that we have fought so hard to increase!


What is the biggest problem facing the industry? Insurance companies’ unfair business practices. They demand kickbacks in the form of discounts, 3-5% claw-backs on payments, suppressed door rates and parts procurement—all the while condemning tow trucks demanding kickbacks to drop cars. There should not be a double standard and car owners should not be directed by insurance companies or tow trucks.

We need to be receiving fair payment for the procedures that we currently perform on a daily basis for free. Cars have quickly become one of the most complex machines on the planet. Insurance companies shouldn’t fight repairers that are doing everything they can to fix them correctly and safely. We aren’t fixing ‘86 Topazs anymore!

Referrals and steering must stop at all levels. There must be national guidelines on estimating and repair practices to make everyone accountable in the industry. OEM standardization should be the norm, after all, they engineered and produced the products. Repairs should not differentiate their work based on whether insurers or customers are paying. We must stop the proliferation of cheap knock-off parts and shoddy repairs.


Insurance relationships are out-of-balance. They have the control, their unreasonable expectations regarding cycle times, proper repair procedures and payment for them and parts usage. Stagnant labour rates not reflective of the cost of doing business and realizing a profit. Insurers are always looking to tell us how to run our businesses when they don’t even know how to run theirs properly!

As an industry, we must figure out how to shut down shops like the ones shown in the W5 program about auto insurance fraud. Enforcement of a minimum standard on equipment and training in order to operate a collision repair shop.

Banners making deals with insurers that hurt the industry. It reflects labour rates and part sales. They were to greedy to get work in there shops, and they hurt the industry as a whole. There is a lot wrong with the industry, but I think it is important to ask how it is that one insurance company exposes the fraud situation from a bad market in the GTA, and it can paint a terrible picture of the industry in general.




Reports of blaze incorrectly pin blame on bodyshop In early May, reports began to emerge that a fire had broken out in a bodyshop in Etobicoke Ontario. Firefighters, it was reported, were unable to prevent the collapse of the garage roof, barely making it to safety themselves. Unfortunately for the reporters, there was no bodyshop fire.Yes, there was a fire on Albion road, in which there were no injuries. Yes, a garage roof did collapse, and the business in question was involved in the automotive aftermarket. That is where the similarities between the truth and the news reports end. The business that burned down was a tire store. While it may seem like a distinction without a difference to some reporters, the whole incident was a little more annoying to Nick Jalaf, owner of Nanak Collision Cen-

Nanak Collision Centre’s garage remains uncollapsed.

tre. With a business in the same complex as the tire shop, he wants it to be clear that the fire—and the lingering smell of burnt rubber—had nothing to do with his business. As for how the case of mistaken identity began, he has a pretty good idea. “Firefighters closed the roads so no one could get too close. While the tire shop

does not have a sign, the bodyshop does and the reporters just assumed it was us.” Unfortunately for Jalaf, the reports were the least of his concerns. Beyond the smell, his business—which, along with the tire shop, is part of a 21-unit building—was without electricity for three days, and without water for five.

A Porsche Affair 427 Auto Collision in Etobicoke, Ontario, recently hosted the Porsche Club of America – Upper Canada Region (PCA-UCR) Shift into Spring event. More than 400 guests attended and over $3,000 was raised throughout the day in support of Make-A-Wish Canada. Kimberly, who works in 427 Auto Collision’s accounting department, attended the event. She commented, “There is a first for all things. I attended the Shift into Spring Porsche event at 427 Auto Collision this past weekend and I was truly amazed. Not only at the vehicles being displayed, but the complete setup. All the information was right at your fingertips. What drew me to the event was my four-year-old son’s passion for cars and I’m glad I made it out, because of both the atmosphere and welcoming


400 guests attended 427 Auto Collision’s Porsche Club of America open house, raising money for Make-A-Wish Canada.

faces from the D’Alessandro family and the members of the Porsche Club.” The event allowed attendees to set their sights on the business’s recently expanded production facility, which added 2,400 sq m to the shop. The new

space also features a customized Symach System. As well, a large selection of Porsche vehicles were on display for attendees to enjoy. For more information about 427 Auto Collision, visit


Third-generation Steel to Improve Driver Visibility

With aluminum becoming increasingly prominent in modern vehicle design, the U.S. steel industry has begun to develop a third-generation steel to compete. The major benefit of this new steel is its improvement to driver visibility. The increased visibility is largely due to effects the steel has on the A-pillar—a structural component located on the right and left windshield to help secure the roof to the rest of the car. Unlike when aluminum is used for the A-pillar, a material that demands a wider appli-

Jody Hall estimates it will take 20 years for aluminum to catch up to other steels in the market.

cation width due to its lower strength material, steel allows for more flexibility. Jody Hall, vice president of the Steel Market Development Institute, estimates that it will take about 20 years for aluminum to catch up to other steels in the market in terms of strength and malleability. Hall also notes that there can be massive reduction in weight in vehicles from high-strength steel, because the thickness needed in the frame is much less. Consequently, it is vital to keep other materials in mind as viable options.

Former news anchor reports on his own collision at the scene Retired CTV anchor Lloyd Robertson was given just the nudge he needed to get back in front of a news camera—one that also sent him careening on the highway. The venerable newsman, who retired in 2013, reported on his own accident after a vehicle struck his car’s left side at the rear, sending his vehicle into a swerve and ultimately striking a nearby van. “I’m told by police friends that this is where they would hit them when they want to spin them out,” said the unflappable Robertson, who had been handed the microphone by the on-scene reporter from the CTV offices Robertson was headed for, planning to attend a retirement party. Neither Robertson nor the other driver was injured in the crash. His famously thick head of hair also escaped unharmed, despite the airbags which deployed during the incident.

Former CBC and CTV news anchor Lloyd Robertson.

FinishMaster at Fifty On April 25, 1968, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, founder Jim White completed FinishMaster’s first transaction with the aspiration of delivering automotive aftermarket products to collision repair shops. In celebration of this anniversary, FinishMaster has donated $50,000 to the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). The contribution provides support for CREF and its mission to improve high school and college collision school programs by training and connecting students interested in entering the industry.

FinishMaster president and CEO Steve Arndt.

Over the past 50 years, FinishMaster has expanded from a single outlet to a team of more than 1,800 associates with over 200 branches. “The core values Jim embodied from the very beginning have stood the test of time and still guide us forward today. We continue to put our customers first and embrace change with the market,” said Steve Arndt, president and chief operating officer of FinishMaster. “As we reach the milestone of our 50th year, I can confidently say Jim and the FinishMaster family have succeeded in the paint business. We are grateful to our team, customers, and manufacturer partners for their support of our growth.” JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  17


Nissan offers free repair procedures and additional support to certified shops Nissan announced that it will add and improve partnerships among key industry people, according to a story by our partner publication, Repairer Driven News (RDN). The changes will result in certified shops receiving more information about repair considerations up front. According to Mark Zoba, a manager at Nissan North America, offering an opportunity for shops to advance their knowledge will lead to setting the correct repair expectation for customers. Doing so, says Zoba, is “key.” For example, he continues, when an insurer predicts a repair will take five days, a shop would know to tell a customer it would really be a week, based on their upfront understanding of the necessary repair procedures. In this, the customer would be kept well informed of the repair process. According to a Collision Advice webinar, such repair planning was already available to certified repair facilities, with Nissan’s free subscription to its OEM repair procedures website. Normally the subscription costs $19.99

Mark Zoba speaks at a conference. Nissan has recently announced that it will add and improve partnerships among key industry people.

for single day access, or $720 for the year. The webinar also notes that both certified and uncertified shops can use Nissan’s buying power to receive discounts on certain equipment. Additionally, Nissan plans to offer special financing opportunities to qualifying shops. Z oba adds that Nissan has b een working on opportunities for more


Nissan-specific training. According to RDN, this is in response to shop requests for dedicated training. Zoba says more details will be available in the coming months, though the OEM looks to work with I-CAR and other trainers to develop courses. For more information about Nissan, please visit



GM recognizes Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics

GM executives with Shawn McMahon, president of Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics (second from right) and spouse Tracy.

Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics was named a Global Supplier of the Year by GM during its 26th annual Supplier of the Year Awards ceremony held in Orlando, Florida, on April 20. GM recognized 132 of its best suppliers from 17 countries who have consistently exceeded GM’s expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company. This represented the most suppliers GM has recognized since debuting the Supplier of the Year event in 1992. This is the second time Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics has received the award. “This is an opportunity for General Motors to honour those suppliers who are truly the best of the best,” said Steve Kiefer, GM senior vice president, global purchasing and supply chain. “The automotive industry is transforming at an incredible rate. The relationships we have with our supply base mean everything when it comes to delivering a strong vehicle lineup today and the cutting-edge vehicles and mobility services of tomorrow.” More than 45 percent of this year’s Supplier of the Year awardees are repeat winners from 2016. GM’s Supplier of the Year Award is reserved for suppliers who distinguish themselves by meeting performance metrics for quality, execution, innovation and total enterprise cost. Award winners represent companies who provide products and services to GM in the areas of vehicle components, supply chain and logistics, customer care and after sales and indirect services. “The GM Supplier of the Year Award is a significant achievement for Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics and all of its team members who made this possible as it takes into account all suppliers of General Motors globally,” said Shawn McMahon, president of Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics. “In 2017, there were 132 suppliers recognized out of over 20,000 global suppliers. We sincerely appreciate the trust that GM continues to place in our organization and we look forward to finding new ways to bring value to our partnership.” JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  19


BC ARA president sticks up for luxury car dealers after report links sector to money laundering Just a few months after clearing the automotive aftermarket of playing a role in the financial crisis at the Insurance Company of British Columbia, the BC ARA has, yet again, had to come out swinging against baseless claims made about the local automotive industry. At the beginning of April, a provincial government report on possible methods for laundering money in B.C. was released, raising concerns among members of the automotive industry. The luxury car market was singled out as a sector vulnerable to exploitation. Why? Because luxury vehicle sales are not legally required to be sent to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC), which makes information on most transactions of over $10,000 available to the RCMP. But, as Ken McCormack, who represents both dealers and repairers in his role as the president of the BC ARA, points out, despite being legally allowed to avoid sending this information, it is almost unimaginable that a dealer would pass on the information.

“I don’t know of any dealer who doesn’t keep up with FinTRAC on every sale. Luxury car dealers all rely on lines of credit, and even if they didn’t want to, their banks would make them,” he said in an interview with Collision Repair magazine. It was a position McCormack made clear when he released a press statement. In the piece, he made it clear that the BC ARA was in favour of mandating that date be providing to FinTRACK data on any purchase worth


more than $10,000—not just vehicles. “There are a lot of places where money can be laundered. Casinos and real estate have been singled out, and now luxury cars. But we would support reasonable legislation that requires car dealers to report cash transactions that align with FinTRAC rules. Most dealers already do this,” McCormack’s statement read. The statement went on to outline his organization’s concerns regarding the report’s decision to specifically link car dealerships with financial crimes. “The automotive industry seems to have been the government’s and other’s favourite whipping post these past months—first by suggesting collision shops are overcharging, which was proven not to be the case, and now suggesting that car dealers are involved in laundering illicit cash through transactions for luxury cars. Reputable car dealers do not do these things.”


CARSTAR and Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation fight cystic fibrosis The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, in association with CARSTAR, recently presented a $12,750 donation to Brandon Newell of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The initiative comprised of a $500 donation from CARSTAR for every overtime game played by the Oilers. This amount was matched by $250 from the Oilers Community Foundation. The overtime donation commitment continued until the team’s season ended, this past week. “The Edmonton Oilers are an outstanding partner for CARSTAR as they care and support the causes that are close to CARSTAR and our culture,” says Mike Piper, Western zone director, CARSTAR. “We have been a proud supporter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada for over 20 years, and it is incredible knowing that when we support the Oilers,

From left to right: Brandon Newell, Cystic Fibrosis Canada; Natalie Minkler, Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, and Mike Piper, CARSTAR.

we are also supporting a terrific cause.” The charitable donation from both CARSTAR and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation will go directly to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, an organization committed to research, care and advocacy in the battle against cystic fibrosis. “The Edmonton Oilers are a driven organization with everyone behind this company committed to the community

and the causes it supports,” says Brandon Newell, a representative from Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “My family has been affected by cystic fibrosis, but the diagnosis does not define us, rather it drives us into to find these influential partners to help us finally get to a cure.” For more information on CARSTAR visit

Skate In Strides fights for a cure

With every Skate In Strides custom hat purchased, TJ Brodie and the Calgary Flames Foundation match the earnings.

CARSTAR Canada and the Calgary Flames Foundation, in partnership with T.J. Brodie—a longstanding advocate in the fight against cystic fibrosis—recently presented a $60,000 donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada from its Skate In Strides program. “We’re so grateful for the terrific partnership we have with the Calgary Flames Foundation and Brodie, as we all fight against cystic fibrosis

together,” said Michael Piper, zone director of Western Canada at CARSTAR.“It’s easy for fans to get behind Skate In Strides because they can represent their favourite team, while simultaneously raising valuable funds for an important cause.” With every Skate In Strides custom hat purchased, Brodie and the Calgary Flames Foundation match the earnings.

All proceeds go directly to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, which uses these funds for cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy. According to CARSTAR, Brodie has been extremely impactful in using his platform to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. Skate In Strides gear is still available on Fan Attic, at



Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in the province.

Saskatchewan association hosts Mike Anderson

During the month of March, the Saskatchewan police force embarked on another Traffic Safety Spotlight to catch distracted drivers in the act. Tactics police used included travelling in unmarked vehicles, standing plainclothed on sidewalks and observing traffic flow from elevated vantage points. The initiative resulted in 711 distracted driving charges (583 of which were the result of cellphone use), setting a Traffic Safety Spotlight record for the highest number of tickets reported in a single month. Distracted driving is the leading cause of all traffic collisions. SGI reports that in 2016, distracted driving “was a factor in nearly 8,300 collisions, contributing to the deaths of 42 people and more than 1,200 injuries.” While these stats may be frustrating for the distracted drivers who would rather spend their money on anything other than a traffic violation, these kinds of infractions likely represent a large portion of the minor and major repairs collision repair facilities receive. 22  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM


Number of collisions hit record highs An organization reported that “February 2018 was the second worst February in Manitoba for road deaths in two decades, with 14 deaths as a result of crashes on Manitoba roads. This brings the number of Manitobans killed in motor vehicle crashes for the first three months of 2018, about 80 percent higher than average over the last five years during the same time frame,” according to the public insurer in that province, MPI. The press release also notes that, “further analysis reveals that of the 13 drivers and passengers killed in fatal crashes so far this year, nearly 40 percent were not using a seatbelt at the time of the crash.” The provincial police announced 2017 collision statistics. The numbers were not good. According to the force the province experienced, “a five-year high for the number of fatalities from collisions” on roads they patroled in 2017 and “a 10-year high for the number of people killed in collisions involving a transport truck.” According to a media report, “343 people died in collisions in 2017 compared to 307 in 2016, with the increase coming from driver inattention, speed and not wearing seatbelts. 91 people died in collisions that involved a commercial transport truck in 2017.” As well, 48 motorcyclists died in 2017— another 10-year-high—with 27 of those riders not at fault for the collisions. The police also said 2017 was, “the deadliest year on record for snowmobile deaths with 29, compared to 16 the year before.” They blame excessive speed, loss of control and driver inattention led the list as primary causes.



Hydro Ottawa announces partnership with FLO to pilot residential EV charging stations Hydro Ottawa recently announced a new partnership with Canada’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging provider, FLO, to pilot 100 level two charging stations with residential customers in Ottawa. The announcement was first made at the EV/VE 2018 Conference and Trade Show, and indicated an increasing consumer interest in EVs. Bryce Conrad, president and chief executive officer, Hydro Ottawa, comments, “As Ottawa’s local electricity provider, we are in a unique position to help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Ottawa. This pilot project with FLO will allow us to learn the impacts of EVs and charging stations on our electricity grid, helping us pave the way to better support electric vehicles in Ottawa.” Louis Tremblay, president and CEO of FLO, says, “Accommodating the growing demand for electric vehicle charging represents an opportunity for utilities as the majority of EV charging happens at home. The connectivity of our products allows utilities to future-proof their assets and reduce pressure on the grid. We’re proud to support Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan through this initiative, and greatly look forward to working with other North American utilities to deploy similar solutions.”

[LEFT] Bryce Conrad, president and chief executive officer, Hydro Ottawa. [RIGHT] Louis Tremblay, president chief executive officer, FLO.

Expected to be rolled out in the coming months, the project intends to help the utility understand residential EV demands on the electricity grid. Hydro Ottawa will be responsible for recruiting pilot participants, marketing the pilot project and managing the installation of all charging stations. Meanwhile, FLO will make available up to 100 FLO Home X5 charging stations throughout the term of the pilot. It will also provide various software services, including real-time monitoring, reporting and analysis of infrastructure impacts, and conducting demand - response events as well as determining integration with renewable resources.

Fix auto welcomes family owned and operated Stratford team to the network

The Fix Auto Stratford team.

Fix Auto has announced the addition of Fix Auto Stratford, in Stratford, Ontario, to its network. The sibling team, Andrew and Kate Tapley, are carrying on their family tradition as second generation owner/operators. Their father founded the family’s first location back in 1979, acquired a second facility in 2000 and then in 2016 the siblings consolidated the two locations into one, which is now the site of Fix Auto Stratford. “It was the dream of our mother and father that one day we would take over the business,” said Kate.

“It’s a very exciting time in our industry and we are elated to be part of a growing brand that focuses on supporting their franchise strategic partners with innovative operational, management and marketing tools,” commented Andrew. Fix Auto Stratford is an 1,800 sq m facility, featuring production space, a drive-in appraisal bay and a modern reception area. In addition, the Tapleys recently installed a new paint booth with the intention of improving cycle times. The team is I-CAR Gold in Progress and has just achieved recognition under the Canadian Collision


Industry Accreditation Program (CCIAP). “Andrew and I are extremely proud of our team here. Our staff are all highly trained and treat each of our customers like family,”said Kate. Daryll O’Keefe, general manager for Fix Auto in the Ontario and Manitoba Region adds, “Having Andrew, Kate and their team join the Fix Auto family is great for our entire network. The pride they have in this family run business is inspiring and we are so pleased to partner with them as they continue to grow their business.” For more information about Fix Auto, visit


Government drops $11 million to expand Tesla supplier Verbom in Quebec The federal and provincial governments have teamed up to contribute $11 million toward an expansion that will increase production for Verbom, a Tesla supplier located in Quebec. “By integrating new technology into its aluminum parts production line, Verbom has built a reputation for excellence in sheet metal processing. We are therefore proud to help this manufacturer today in carrying out this major project, which will help increase its productivity, while showcasing aluminum and driving the development of the electric vehicle sector in Quebec and around the world,” says Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for Digital Strategy. The federal government provided a $4.8 million grant for the project, and the government of Quebec topped off the funding with a cool $6.1 million loan. This comes after the government sectors initially teamed up to offer Verbom $7.4 million in support of building

The Verbom facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

the initial production line, which was established to build body parts for the Tesla Model X. This new addition to the project will create around 100 jobs and increase productivity in the facility. “In adopting the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government of Canada imple-

mented an ambitious approach to support innovative Canadian businesses that find new ways of creating value and expanding into new markets. This is a firm commitment to sustainable job creation and community prosperity,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.



Halifax Regional Fire Division Commander Mike Blackburn says roughly 55 firefighters responded to the fire, building which had engulfed in flames when they arrived on scene.

Shop fire blazes through autobody shop in Halifax area Explosions shot through the sky when a fire roared through Harrietsfield Auto Services on Old Sambro Road, in the Halifax area. Roughly 55 firefighters responded to the emergency, according to Mike Blackburn,

Halifax Regional Fire Division Commander. The building was engulfed in flames when they arrived around two o’clock in the morning. The fire was already, “Fully involved, heavy volumes of smoke coming throughout the building,” described Blackburn. He notes that the explosions were due to chemicals in the shop. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many chemicals were in there or what types, but throughout the night there were major ex-


plosions, numerous explosions, and again that contributed to the heavy volume of fire I’m sure,” he says. According to Blackburn, the building was not occupied and no one was injured in the fire. However, a firefighter was treated for minor smoke inhalation and residents of a nearby home had to evacuate as a precaution. The firefighter looked healthy when leaving the scene and the family has since returned home.




A good leader lets others lead

By Jay Perry


eaders in organizations must see themselves in a different way than most people—at least most of the ones I meet—do. Most leaders are prone to becoming overly involved in the day-today running of their department, unit or company and too deep in the trenches to be effective at the level the current business climate demands. This is not to say they do not need to know what is going on out on the production floor—they absolutely do.

Being a good leader is more about being an auditor than anything else. You want to examine the work product of your staff and support them when you see that it should be improved. That support consists of listening to what they think could be done differently or what alternative equipment, software and training should be employed, and how to go about acquiring that. The financial incentive is there. According to Qualtrics,“Highly engaged employees are 38 percent

WHAT IS GOING ON IS AN OLD SYNDROME OF THINKING: THAT LEADERS MUST COME UP WITH ANSWERS TO EVERY PROBLEM AND BE INVOLVED IN EVERY SOLUTION. It is an old syndrome among those burdened with command. The thinking goes like this: leaders must come up with answers for every problem and be involved in every solution to the exclusion of the thing they really should be doing—facilitating. It is ironic that the most complained-about generation, millennials, are the ones who have created this opportunity for leaders. It is upon their entry into the workforce that management has started to pay attention to things like employee engagement. Under the old model this was not necessary. You did what you were told to do and pretty much all of the workforce held the same view—keep your head down and march forward under the command of the boss. The shift is not easy for some to make. They hold onto old notions that were imprinted upon them when they were young, that the value they held for the company was directly correlated to the amount of things they accomplished. The real truth about the leader’s value is that it is determined, in large part, by what they can facilitate getting done. That looks different because it is about seeing that the team is engaged in the right activities, equipped with the right tools and employing the right knowledge.

more likely to have above-average productivity.” It involves constantly checking-in with people to see how it is going for them—not you. Those checkins should start with questions about them and their thinking, and then you need to listen and stop talking. The leader needs to develop more acute listening skills and put such skills to use frequently. The days of annual reviews are over. Most companies are moving to check-ins that are done very frequently in order to facilitate real-time feedback and more of a coaching environment. As stated in a recent paper by Reflective, “These interactions are lightweight, but align a report’s priorities and give chances for course corrections, feedback, and information sharing.” They are far superior to the old ways and it is the new ways that will keep you as the one who’s driving. Jay Perry is co-author of the book Success Manifesto with Brian Tracy, and the founder of Ally Business Coaching, a process improvement and leadership development firm. He can be reached at



REPAIRING IN AN AGE OF CHANGE Why confidence—not overconfidence—is key By Peter Sziklai


ifteen-hundred MPa steel, composite structural materials, pre-scan and post-scan, calibration, OEM repair instructions, energy transfer paths and self-driving electric vehicles. Are these buzz words or are the changes occurring in the collision repair industry really much more significant than any we have seen before? Most progressive operators believe the answer is the latter. They have been working hard to position their businesses to survive and thrive in the industry of the near future. In their operations, the equipment needed for tomorrow’s repairs is planned and budgeted for, or already in place. The required training is well underway, and the organizational structure of their businesses is

get paid to write but takes twice as long as it used to because of the complexity of researching correct repair procedures? How about if the people paying are looking only at the dollars and complaining about your prices? All of these things, and many more, are likely to present challenges and will keep your confidence in the future from looking anything like overconfidence. You may be prepared for the future, but do you have the timing right to survive the journey? Confidence should come with the realization that performing repairs with consistently rigid adherence to manufacturers’ guidelines will become mandatory in the near future.

YOU MAY BE PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE, BUT DO YOU HAVE THE TIMING TO SURVIVE THE JOURNEY? changing to reflect current requirements. These people recognize that the old structure—the one based on manager, estimator, bodyman and painter—is no longer valid. These roles are simply too broad for an industry that requires specific training and specialization. Progressive operators are confident that they are ready to work with the coming changes (many of which have, in truth, already arrived), but they are not overconfident. The future may be almost predictable, but the path that will get us there is not at all clear. Preparation is vital, but it will be best if this is undertaken with a good measure of flexibility and humility. What could possibly get in the way of being successful if you are doing the right thing and preparing for changes? What follows are just a few things that could. If most of your competitors are not actively preparing for change and nobody seems to care about it, they could well be getting more work out the door. They are making money and, for now, their customers have not noticed that the repairs may not be right. What about flat-rate employees? It may be difficult to persuade them to slow down and do careful, accurate repairs. What about that estimate that you don’t

A few months ago, I visited another operator and we had an excellent discussion about the rapidly changing repair world. It very quickly became clear that we were taking quite different approaches. Where we did find total agreement was in believing that the industry changes were real and any action toward understanding and working with these changes was valuable. Approach aside, we both plan to either get it right or learn from our mistakes—at a manageable cost, we hope. The truth is, the challenges and changes are so new and so rapid that there is no template to follow, and while you cannot prepare for every eventuality, you can take sensible steps to be prepared. With no playbook to turn to in the new environment, action requires confidence – though not too much. Peter Sziklai is the owner of Tsawwassen Collision, an independent collision repair shop near Vancouver. Actively involved in the industry since 1982, he is the founder of the Ready For its Next Accident project (, which focuses on fostering an awareness of the principles of repair. He can be reached at



DIFFICULTDECISIONS Weighing the costs of business strategies

By John Scetta


ear John: How can I choose between becoming a Certified Collision Centre or being on a Direct Repair Program?

Every decision you make comes with a domino effect of outcomes, good, bad or both, that can impact your life in many ways—ways that you may not even realize. Unlike many roads you will choose to drive down in life, the consequences of how you run your business are less subtle. The decision you are currently trying to make in choosing between becoming a Certified Collision Centre (CCC) or taking part in a Direct Repair Program (DRP) is a good example of a business decision that will have

a CCC does not necessarily mean your relationship with insurers will improve. In fact, your need for more expensive equipment has the possibility of making the relationship more tense. As I like to say, certification is like a round peg, and insurance companies are square holes. The two do not always make for a positive marriage. Being a part of a DRP means you will get more customers, a pretty huge perk for any business. The insurance company you’re partnered with will send customers right to your door, leaving a lot of potential for added revenue. With this, though, a problem surfaces: are you repairing to the OEM’s standard i.e. the only standard you should really be

CAN YOU BE BOTH A CCC AND PART OF A DRP, SO YOU CAN FLOURISH WITHOUT FINANCIAL PENALTIES? CAN YOU CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER AND STILL THRIVE? immense influence on your company, in everything from your KPI to employee satisfaction. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is absolutely no way to easily make this decision. There are, from my experiences, positives and negatives to both. The key is researching and figuring out what is best for you and your business. Let’s start with the perks of becoming a Certified Collision Centre. A large perk is that you get verified documentation from manufacturers that you can lean on when you require proof (for insurers, staff, etc.) that you have access to specific resources to properly complete repairs. This way, chances of receiving the funding you need are higher. Depending on whom you’re certified with, it can also mean ongoing training, more resources and higher credibility. You can see that the perks are certainly there. But there are negatives, too. Your cycle time is going to be higher because you’ll be more likely to replace over repair, given the higher demands you will have to address when certified. You will also find yourself investing more in equipment, fulfilling another demand of being a CCC. One other thing is that being

repairing to? Or, are you repairing to the insurance company’s standard, which could be much lower than that of the manufacturers’ ? To be brutally honest, how to best make this decision is something that even I am still trying to figure out. Can you be both a CCC and part of a DRP so you can flourish without financial penalties? Can you choose one or the other and still thrive? What I do know is that regardless of which you choose you need to choose the right partners, who understand your company’s needs. You need to find partners who are like - minded and will pay you accordingly. Despite difficult decision making, always keep in mind that at the end of the day what should drive your business decisions, more than anything, is what will best serve your customers. John Scetta is the general manager of Performance Collision & Restyling in St. Catharines, Ontario. He can be reached via email at john.scetta@



THE DEVIL,THE DETAILS Five years ago, naysayers seemed paranoid. Today, OEM certifications have revealed a darker side. By Andrew Shepherd


ho among us would argue that shop certification doesn’t lead to a great future for collision repair in Canada? Meeting standards, providing evidence of capacity, demonstrating proficiency—things most industry stakeholders value as dearly as motherhood and apple pie.  Repair networks are in favour—they have greater power to drive their own shops to meet certification standards, and are using this power to gain business share.  The better independent facilities have an obvious path to continued success.  Suppliers benefit from enhanced equipment requirements.  Vehicle manufacturers gain confidence—for themselves and their car owners—in safe repairs.  Public insurers can, as in the case of Manitoba, create a world-leading collision repair network by mandate.  Even private insurers, most taking little or no leadership or even interest, benefit passively through better repair outcomes.   So anyone standing on a stage five years ago, saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” may well have been mocked as a cynic and a naysayer.  But the past half-decade has proven that there is more detail—and more devil—than most predicted. Certification has started to show its darker side.

THE SUNKEN COSTS The most obvious problem is the growing cost—and number—of certification options. There are now a dozen or more individual OEM programs and a handful of amalgamated ones.  There are private and public options, and an ever-growing choice of audit agencies.  Most of these are expensive and most have not yet shown a return on investment—at least for the repairer.

THE DIVERSIFICATION OF STANDARDS A second related problem is the diversification of standards within these options. Specific and duplicative equipment requirements, from data provision clauses to additional software installations—all adding cost to the repairer.  Eventually it will be clear that a multiplication of standards is no standard at all.

THE TROJAN HORSE Once the certification programs are inside the walls of the repairer they will have the traction and leverage to introduce requirements beneficial to the certifier and not the repairer. Parts procurement, brand exclusivity, customer and process data sharing demands—all are possibilities or even probabilities, but none will sit well with the needs of the repairer.

THE ANSWER: RECLAIM CONTROL Andrew Shepherd is the executive director of I-CAR Canada, a non-profit organization that provides collision repair training and ongoing education. He can be reached via e-mail at


So how do we reconcile the heavenly vision of shop certification with the devilish details of its rollout to date? At the moment, collision repairers involved in certification programs have allowed the locus of control to fall beyond their reach. It must be wrested back into the hands of shops. Repairers must take a leading role in determining the standards,  process, costs and benefits of certification. Then—and only then—will repairers reclaim control of their business destinies.


OUR MAN in the



CARSTAR Fredericton general manager Steve Knox is a busy man. An I-CAR certified teacher, a member of the CCIF steering committee, a director at the New Brunswick Country Showcase musical society and a father-of-two.


n almost every situation, the words “We have been waiting for you” spell doom for a candidate’s chances at any job interview. When Steve Knox heard them in a meeting about the role of general manager at CARSTAR Fredericton, he knew he had landed the gig. In reality, the 2017 general manager position interview—with Roy Kennedy, owner of Fairview Plymouth Chrysler and CARSTAR Fredericton—may have been more of a formality than a rigorous examination. For one thing, Knox was an experienced store manager who had spent the previous 12 years overseeing the collision centre at local dealership Woods Motors. For another, Knox is the sort of person who has a knack for taking on responsibility. The husband of Jennifer and father-of-two girls, Lila and Sadie, is also I-CAR certified instructor. In addition, Knox is also involved in the broader community, serving as a director—and occasional performer—for the New Brunswick Country Showcase, which hosts several large musical performances in Fredericton each year.


Left to right: Steve Knox, Brian McDonough and Kevin Thompson.

In fact, Kennedy was not calling Knox on his lateness, but referencing the fact that, in 2007, a deal to hire Knox had fallen through. As for his decision on whether to accept the position, Knox had made up his mind a few moments after he arrived at the facility. “As Roy opened the door, he said,‘let me show you where the artists work—these guys don’t replace parts, they use their hands to create art,’ ” Knox recalls. “Roy’s compassion shone through every person who works here. He cares about each employee. He travels to the store to thank employees on their work

anniversary. He knows their families and lives. He talks to them like friends. Roy is also a man who understands that the collision industry is and always has been changing. Investing in technology as the need presents itself is a regular part of business.” It was on a sunny September day that Knox officially took up the reins at the 800 sq m facility. As he walked in for the first time as the general manager, he reflected on what his childhood self would have made of his career and how he had almost walked down a very different path. “As a kid, I always wanted to run a hot

Kevin Thompson inspects one of the vehicles in the store. The team has focused on blueprinting procedures, allowing them to keep up with the wild weather.

rod shop,” Knox says. “This is as close as I could hope to have come. It is a lot closer than where I almost ended up—in sales.” Were it not for an offer to manage a dealer repair facility from Ted Seymour, the owner of Wood Motors who had initially sought to draw on Knox’s sales experience to bolster insurer relations, Knox is not sure where he would have ended up in his career. “I have Ted to thank for who I am today,” he says. “I was a sales guy who had taken arts in university and also loved cars—he took a chance on me,” Knox says, adding that, “The men I worked with at Wood’s—they gave me my real education. They taught me to estimate. They had me learning how to foster insurance relationships. They sparked my interest in the work of the collision repair associations.” This education soon came in handy in his new role at CARSTAR Fredericton. Hitting the ground running, Knox quickly found himself implementing many of the ideas he had gleaned at Wood Motors and in his work with I-CAR, bringing in a series of new strategies. This opportunity at CARSTAR gave him the ability to work with a company that is capable of the changes required to be modern and compliant with the new certification programs that abound. “One of my first goals was to achieve certification through every OEM possible. Carrie Burns, the previous manager, had done an amazing job readying the company for certification status. We only had a few last details to get Ford, Toyota and CCIAP on our facility’s resume.” JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  35


Left to right: Scott Rawlins, Carrie Burns, Cindy Doiron, Steve Knox, and Kevin Brown.

His next conquest was to create a blueprinting position to add to his estimating team. This changed the way his staff handled the winter rush of traffic to the door. “Floor space is at a premium, so it is important to get cars in and out of the facility as quickly as possible,” says Knox.“By smoothing the process, we were able to cut car rental fees and improved customer service. It drives all the KPIs.” Not all of his ideas were met with immediate enthusiasm, however. As the first layers of snow began falling on New Brunswick, even Knox began to have doubts about his most ambitious plan—the blueprinting itself. “In the first month, it looked like it might be a big expense. In the second, we started to see more of a pay-off. Now we are in month four, it is hard to imagine what we were doing before,” Knox says. With Knox still in his first year as general manager, CARSTAR Fredericton has seen rising profits and faster turn-around times. Even before Knox and his team were certain that the new strategies would all pay off, Kennedy was already confident in his hiring decision, and made a crucial decision—the details of which he would leave in Knox’s safe hands. “Roy is very invested in his people. I was brought here to help the business reach the next level and he has given me the ability to make it happen,” says Knox.“So much so that our business has grown to the point where we need a second location.” 36  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM

Construction on CARSTAR Fredericton North, the first Symach facility in Atlantic Canada, is already underway. With Knox anticipating its opening sometime in the autumn, he has been excited by the precision that Symach has brought to the project. “It is a reinvented collision repair facility. From the ground up, it is pure innovation, thought out to the last detail.” While Kennedy’s faith in his general manager was bearing fruit, Knox’s success was

also catching the attention of some senior players in the broader automotive repair community—ones whose attention he had been hoping to catch for a number of years. “I saw the value in the CCIF Steering Committee early on, as the industry began to shift. I had made it known that I wanted to join,” says Knox.“Brigitte Pesant and her team have a vision of where the industry is going, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

CARSTAR’s Peter Duff sanding a quarter panel. After a long winter, New Brunswick residents faced terrible flooding. The new procedures kept the team ahead of the influx of repairs.


“As a kid, I always wanted to run a hot rod shop. This is as close as I could hope to have come.” —Steve Knox

With a huge number of vehicles coming in with flooded engines, the team had a busy April. They managed to repair 121 cars and trucks in 18 working days.

“Now I am satisfied. I have a fulfilling, challenging career on which to comfortably help raise my family and pursue my interests. Life is good. Life is really good.” —Steve Knox

After four years of putting himself forward, Knox was named one of only fourteen members of the nation-wide committee. While still new to the position, Knox is determined to use it as a platform to push for positive changes. “Using my voice to help move the industry toward better support of OEM standards and customer safety is what I’m most excited about,” says Knox. “Accidents are terrifying and they disrupt lives. We, as an industry, need to be there for the human aspect. During the claim

When not at CARSTAR Fredericton, visiting the construction site of its sister location, teaching I-CAR classes, serving on the steering committee or directing the New Brunswick Country Music Showcase, Knox likes to relax with his electric guitar.

process and after the customer drives home in a repaired vehicle, they are trusting you. Not just with their own lives, but their family’s lives. We have to treat every customer as though they are a member of our own family and they need our care.” Knox feels the timing was perfect, not captaining a larger ship until his education proved him ready. In fact, he now feels that the lessons he learned in the intervening years have made him

a better manager—and a better man. “It took me a long time to learn that the more I do, the more I realize I can do. Today, I love fixing problems. I love serving people. That realization has only come to me in the past few years. Now I am satisfied. I have a fulfilling, challenging career on which to comfortably help raise my family and pursue my interests. Life is good. Life is really good.” JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  37




How Ken McCormack stood up to industry critics in the B.C. government—and won. BY GIDEON SCANLON The news has a nasty habit of casting the collision repair community in an unfair light, but what happens when it is a government railing against repairers? This is exactly what happened recently in B.C., leading the British Columbia Automotive Repairer Association president Ken McCormack to step up to the plate—and boy, is he a heavy hitter.


ast autumn, news broke that there was something rotten at the heart of B.C.’s automotive aftermarket industry—or, more accurately, at the crown corporation that holds an effective monopoly on auto insurance. Forecasts revealed that the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) would face a $1.3 billion loss in 2017. Its financial situation was so bad that the new Attorney General David Eby described it as a ‘dumpster fire.’ Enter McCormack, who has made a career of protecting the reputation of his organization’s thousand-or-so repairers. For most of his time in the role, McCormack had been an effective voice of co-operation between autobody repairers and the ICBC, a crown corporation that controls all legally required driving insurance—not to mention 80 percent of the rest of the market. McCormack also had success championing

the cause of an industry-led certification program, one that he and the Automotive Industry Assocation (which has adopted the model across the country), argue could be both cheaper and more effective than the ICBC-led model, should the province approve it. Until last autumn, the biggest challenge he faced was encouraging the ICBC to move away from the unilateral approach to setting rates. However, the fallout of the revelations about ICBC’s books quickly gave rise to a much more difficult situation to manage. The new NDP government, eager to protect its reputation, was throwing blame in many directions—at the previous Liberal government, at ICBC executives and at even the drivers of luxury vehicles. True to his calm demeanor, McCormack set about getting ahead of the story before blame was inevitably levied at the shops. Arranging a meeting with


representatives of the new government, he offered some possible measures that could be taken to put out the ‘dumpster fire’. “We presented them with many ideas that could improve the ICBC’s finances. Among them, we encouraged the government to get behind an industry - led certification model. We suggested they make it easier for local recyclers to buy vehicles in order to keep recycled OEM parts in the province. We also suggested that the ICBC follow the example of Manitoba’s insurer and run a winter tire loan program,” stated McCormack. While it was clear that the government was not yet in a position to deal with the ideas that McCormack offered, Eby did invite the BC ARA to flesh out the proposals and formally submit them at a later date. Unfortunately, McCormack was not the only one who attempted to step in front of the scandal. While he worked on turning


B.C.’s Industry “We took exception to the government’s claims, which we said were irresponsible. These claims were offered with zero evidence. None.” - Ken McCormack

those ideas into more fully fleshed-out recommendations, a former ICBC adjuster, Lance Lestwick, suggested that there was a widespread problem of repairers fraudulently charging the ICBC, costing the crown corporation hundreds-of-millions of dollars. Letwick said, “By the time it comes to payment parts, if we notice there are irregularities in files, we can not stop the payment. We have to pay it and nothing really ever seems to get done,” Lestwick claimed in an interview with 1130 News, adding that “I took it all the way up as far as I could into the corporation. They would not do anything.” The union representing ICBC employees, MoveUP, took up the story, and heat was suddenly turned up on repairers as-a-whole. Speaking to the press, union vice-president Annette Toth claimed that, for more than fifteen years, bodyshops had been exploiting the ICBC billing software. “The system allows the bodyshop to say, ‘we think the repair costs to fix the panel, not replace it with a new part, but fix it, will be 20 hours’, and estimators who have done this work for many years say, ‘hang on a second, in our opinion it is

a ten-to-twelve hour job, or even eight.’” McCormack kept a cool head throughout, as Lestwick seemed likely to be more ill-informed than mean-spirited. He had not been at ICBC for years and, as Lestwick’s statements made clear, he was out of touch with the cost of some basic repair procedures. It was easy for McCormack to avoid the trap of ‘going low’

in his response to the union and Lestwick. “With all of the news about the financial crisis, the union was concerned about making sure employees kept their jobs, and this seemed like a way to protect them.” What really horrified McCormack was the media’s willingness to run the report without including the input his organization had offered to refute it. Worse still, he felt that in the mind of the left-wing NDP government, the opinion of a trade union would carry far more weight than that of a group representing business interests. “We took exception to the government’s claims, which we said were irresponsible. These claims were offered with zero evidence. None. But once the story was out there, the government jumped on it—it all seemed politically motivated,” said McCormack, who still had one card left up his sleeve: presenting the facts. To begin with, McCormack wrote and presented an online video that directly refuted the claims. He then moved on to convincing the media to run a more factbased piece on insurers. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  39


“We invited the media to one of our shops and showed how the estimations were done. The systems—Audatex and Mitchell—are set up to prevent exactly what was being claimed from happening, with parameters in the software to put limits on costs. And the ICBC has audit functions in place to challenge estimations.” With that report—and a vociferous defence of the province’s bodyshops from the ICBC’s management—the public’s concerns were effectively allayed. The union was also appeased, reaching a deal with the province to hire new Auditors and stopped pressing its bogus claims. Though the government offered no retraction, it redirected its ire—this time toward their predecessors in government and the immense payouts given for minor injury claims. Without their own McCormack, the ousted Liberals have not been able to shake the scandal in the press. As for those individuals who benefited from the spoils of bloated legal payouts, many banded-together in support of a group called Rights Over Arbitrary Decisions for British Columbians. Despite gaining the support of numerous small claims lawyers, masseuses, chiropractors,

B.C. Attorney General David Eby. When news of the financial crisis at the ICBC broke, Eby described the financial situation in stark terms: ‘dumpster fire.’

rehabilitation facilities and—somewhat oddly— a real estate company, ROADBC, failed to prevent the passing of legislation capping minor injury payouts to $5,500. It has since folded operations. McCormack’s own reputation with provincial government, was bouyed by the whole affair. A few weeks ago, having heard


no response from the government regarding the BCARA’s fully fleshed-out proposals, he arranged another lunch meeting with Eby and other officials. While the details of some of the proposals remain under wraps, McCormack can report that, according to Eby, they had been received and were under provincial consideration.


Unbreakable Bonds How one inventor unlocked the secrets of polymer adhesion BY GIDEON SCANLON


s many repairers will know, marriages between car plastics—particularly between different polymers—suffer from exceedingly high divorce rates. The solution has been known for years: instead of trying to use glue as a sticky intermediary, those who seek to join different plastics together indefinitely should bond them on the atomic level. Problem solved! Not quite. The solution to the challenge of finding an economically viable method for making effective bonds has been elusive. Within the adhesives industry such a process was considered a Holy Grail. While many had tried and failed to figure out a process, success had the tantalizing prospect of changing the way that a huge number of industries, including collision repair, operate. For Ohioan Don Meyers, founder of glue firm Tech-Bond Solutions, the unsolvable problem was something of an obsession— one that he struggled with for more than a decade. Though the ex-tech executive had started his own glue distribution firm after the tech bubble collapse of the late

1990s, he was not, by training, a chemical engineer. In fact, the product that had been his company’s mainstay during its early days was not of his design.

Tech-Bond Solutions founder Don Meyers, inventor of the Bonding Poly Process.

“I was always unimpressed with the instant glues in the marketplace, and so when I found a product that was better than the others out there, I leaped on it,” says Meyers.

Meyers had reason for confidence in his abilities to understand the chemistry behind the products he sold. His experiences in the tech world had taught him the importance of understanding as much as possible about the business he was in. In fact, by the time he began working on solving the polymer bonding problem in 2006, Meyers had already developed gluing procedures widely used by two groups of professionals—taxidermists and morticians. In 2001, at the request of a friend and taxidermy hobbyist, Meyers figured out a way to get rid of the need to use stitches on the necks of animal hides. Where most glues would fail because of the presence of ambient moisture, Meyers used a viscous glue and kneaded it into the area to overcome the moisture problem. While he had initially thought little of the procedure, it would soon go mainstream. In 2004, Meyers’ friend phoned from the world taxidermy trials. “The judges, after inspecting the work, had asked my friend where the stitching was. He told them about our method, and the next year, virtually everyone was making use of it,” says Meyers. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  43


The Bonding Poly Process Step 1.

Prime both sides of the plastic with the adhesion promoter Poly Prep, and allow it to dry.

Step 2.

Once the Poly Prep has dried, spray the activator accelerator on one side of the bond—not both. The activator will help encourage the bonding process.

Step 3.

Using a hairdryer on its hottest setting, warm the side with the activator for 30 seconds. Heat acts as a catalyst to the chemical reaction, helping to kick-start it and increase its effects.

Step 4.

Apply the SI Adhesive to the opposite side of the bond. Align the pieces together and hold them in place for 15 seconds.

Step 5.

Use the hairdryer to heat the bond for another 30 seconds. While the bond will take up to a month to finish curing, it should have enough strength to be used immediately.

Unlike gluing, bonding connects plastics on a molecular level.

While the avant-garde techniques used in stuffing the hides of dead animals may be of little interest to most people, those who prepare human cadavers do keep up, and morticians adapted the procedure to solve a problem that had vexed them for years. “When a coroner performs an autopsy, they cut a long ‘Y’ shape in the torso and saw off the top of the skull to inspect the brain. Traditionally, they would sew the top back in place for the funeral, but it would never look quite right. Even if hair covered the stitches, the head looked misshapen and there would be some leakage from the torso.” In 2006, Meyers discovered his own procedures were being used to glue together the flesh around the head or torso after an autopsy.

“I realized that the key lay is saturating the adhesive with an adhesion accelerator, which intensifies chemical reactions,” says Meyers. “And I had already worked out that adding heat would be an important part of the final procedure.”

as surprised as anyone when the wood, not the plastic, suddenly snapped.” Now called the Bonding Poly Process, Meyers has also turned to the internet to demonstrate his new, patent-pending technique. In a slick video on Tech-Bond Solutions’ YouTube

“I realized that the key lay is saturating the adhesive with an adhesion accelerator, which intensifies chemical reactions.” - Don Meyers The fit problem still remained, though, and Meyers began working out an even better approach. He created a procedure to glue the bone itself. “By fitting the skull back together directly, the bodies looked far more natural, and I wrote up the procedure, which is still used today,” he says. For the next ten years, with a shifted focus, Meyers would devote his efforts to figuring out a way to bond polymers together. When he was not attending tradeshows or demonstrating any number of gluing procedures directly to repairers, he was experimenting with the adhesives he sold. Many of these experiments ended in outright failure, while others brought him closer to his goal, but only in incremental steps.

In November 2016, when the world’s attention was lasered in on the dramatic presidential election taking place in the U.S., Don Meyers had his eureka moment. “It suddenly came together. I would need a hairdryer, and an accelerator,” he says, proceeding to give the new procedure a trial run. In the next few weeks, Meyers struggled to convince repairers and other professionals about what he had actually managed to accomplish. Eventually, he worked out an eye-catching demonstration. After binding together plastic strips with wooden handles, he invited a volunteer to attempt to pull them apart. “The guy was huge, and I didn’t actually know what to expect,” says Meyers. “I was


channel, the process has been demonstrated for thousands of viewers. But seeing, Meyers notes, is not always believing, and in order to ensure that repairers have confidence in his claims, he provides his customers with a lifetime guarantee on all the bonds made with his product. “The process is quick, easy and, after 30 days of curing, the structural integrity is there,” says Meyers. “I have faith in the product, and so do my customers. No one has requested their money back yet.” Like one well-known fictional archaeologist, Meyers is not content with having found just one Holy Grail. In the next few months, his team will be looking to find many new ways to help repairers make even more unlikely repairs.


Incoming Insurtech FIVE big data ideas taking auto insurers by storm BY BRIAN HOUGH


ike the collision repair industry, the auto insurance industry has been rapidly transformed by the ongoing waves of technological revolution since the 1990s. The pace of changes has not slowed. In fact, it is increasing. With most Canadian insurers operating in highly competitive markets, dynamism is going to be crucial to maintain competitive and consumer-friendly positions—good news for customers, but not, at least not entirely, for repairers. In January, Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press reported that the increasing complexity of cars has pushed insurance premiums up across the States because the more advanced and sophisticated the parts get, the more expensive the labour and

parts to repair and replace them get. It is a point Tompor highlights with a comparison of bumper replacement cost, which stands at “$3,550 for a 2016 model for parts and labour, compared with about $1,845 for a 2014 model,” according to data from Liberty Mutual Insurance. While government efforts to reduce premiums in some provinces have caused a number of dips in rates being paid in several provinces, the increase in repair costs are not just confined to the U.S. market. It should come as no surprise to repairers that insurers are seizing the opportunity to eliminate any possible overhead costs by adopting a number of the industry’s latest tech. To that end, we have highlighted a few of the most promising—and groundbreaking—ideas changing the world of auto insurance.



With eyes in every corner of the digital universe, drivers might want to reconsider posting pictures of themselves as wayward teens.

DATA DRIVEN INSURANCE AGENTS For customers with only a vague memory of joining their university’s binge-drinking society, shop owners might want to consider encouraging them to delete the digital evidence. While actual living, breathing agents will still be at the forefront of sales and customer service, they will soon be backed by an array of new digital tools to assist them in working with clients. Data-based technology that can create profiles of individual clients will be essential for evaluating the all around fitness of a potential client for insurance, measuring everything from risk-averse behaviour, to social media posts and financial patterns .These tools will become ubiquitous among agents in the near future and take the auto insurer’s area of interest in clients off-road.

USAGE - BASED INSURANCE For customers with exceptional driving records, the option to be judged by their own behaviour, rather than by the behaviour of others of the same age group and gender may soon become a possibility. Usage-based insurance (UBI) plans allow mobile phone apps and sensors to track how much any driver actually drives and sets insurance rates accordingly. The logic is plain enough—a grandmother who drives once a week to the grocery store is probably a safer bet from the insurer’s perspective than a male undergraduate. With today’s methods, he would pay considerably higher rates. But is that really fair? Companies like Metromile and Cuuva have already been using UBI to better tailor their price points and service to a wider array of drivers, most notably those classed as infrequent. Other insurers have raised the idea of making such systems a voluntary measure, offering the possibility of reduced rates—though also of increasing them. While it might seem strange for a reckless driver to accept such oversight, this tech may not just measure miles and kilometers on the road. One, True Motion, measures distracted driving and even provides feedback to drivers to improve their driving (using the impact on insurance premiums as a metric—i.e. ‘do x,y and z more/less and your rates will drop’).



Insurers will soon be able to analyze individual behaviour by examining driver’s digital footprint on social media and personal driving patterns.

Insurers have the power to draw conclusions about shops on the basis of digitized receipts. What will they make of your invoices?

DIGITIZING THE PROCESS One less flashy, but no more balance-sheet friendly idea promising a transformation in the industry’s ability to digitize processes and cut down on time spent on administrative tasks. Products can be reworked and repurposed more quickly, processing claims can be done instantaneously and turnaround time on quotes cut to next to nothing. Searching out and processing quotes from bodyshops can also be done in a fraction of the time and insurers will be able to cut their costs by engaging repairers in a much easier and cost - effective fashion.

[TOP LEFT] Insurers have the power to draw conclusions about shops on the basis of digitized receipts. What will they make of your invoices?

SELF-DRIVING CARS The automated car holds a lot of opportunities and raises many questions for the auto insurance industry (and possibly even the courts). On the one hand the reduction of room for human error would seem an easy net win for drivers and insurers, but interesting and complicated questions remain—if the driver is no longer doing most of the driving then who should bear the liability? Who exactly are insurers insuring? As these examples show, many of the gains that insurance companies are looking into allow them to efficiently differentiate each individual driver’s risk factor, but what hap-

If an autonomous drone hits a tree in the forest, does the OEM foot the bill?

pens when the driver becomes increasingly removed as a factor? While questions of the time drivers spend on the road and the number of kilometers they drive will still be relevant if

the car is doing the driving should the focus (and obligations) of insurance practices switch primarily to the car company? More pertinently, what about their relationship with repairers? While repairers are already placed on and off approved lists on the basis of internal insurance company data-mapping software, could it be that big data could eventually work in the repairer’s favour? It is a discussion already happening in the boardrooms of the big banners, but as the cost of data analysis drops, it may be time for independents to start coming up with some ideas.

CUSTOMERS USE DATA TOO Just as information tech has empowered firms to be able to individualize price-point to risk through data analytics, customers can do the same thing. Customers have more power than ever to purchase competitively, customizing their relationship with their insurer to their own needs even as the insurer is customizing their relationship with their customer with the most accurate risk valuation. Insurance firms will have to be able to employ every piece of data they can obtain in order to be as responsive and flexible as possible in a market this versatile.

Insurers may not be the only people empowered by big data—customers can also have more power.



LABOUR WOWS Hiring trouble got you down? Time to look overseas

By Kelvin Campbell


s a shop owner who is involved in discussions about the industry I am often asked, “What is the biggest challenge your businesses face on a daily basis?” For the last decade, my answer has been the same: “We struggle to find decent, committed technicians.” I know, I know—you’re getting sick of hearing and reading about this. Well, I’m here to share some advice I gleaned through my ongoing quest to find additional staff I can invest in—and count on—to help grow my business.

I first started with a recruiter, but as I quickly learned, this is a method that needs to be carefully researched and selected. Instead, I took matters into my own hands by continuously advertising on international job boards, and refreshing the postings on a weekly basis. Soon, resumes began pouring in and, after sifting through a huge number of resumes, my team and I came up with the person we believed would be the best fit. The next step was to hire a lawyer to start the immigration process. In my opinion, this was the best way to go.


About three years ago, I lost one of my best to the competition. It was a struggle to find available technicians in our local market—or even in the rest of the country, for that matter. If I was going to help my existing staff cope, I realized I was going to have to start thinking outside of the box. It was time to start looking for staff outside of Canada.

The New Land of Opportunity? Just six percent of Canadians live in Atlantic Canada, and the region has traditionally seen low levels of immigration compared to other regions of Canada. This trend is starting to shift. In recent years, the need for skilled labour has caused provincial authorities to adopt measures designed to encourage greater immigration. Today, nearly five percent of immigrants to Canada settle in the Maritimes. Number of new immigrants to Canada in 2017: 250,000 Nova Scotia: 4,000 (1.6 percent) New Brunswick: 3,500 (1.4 percent) Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,000 (0.4 percent) Prince Edward Island: 2,500 (1 percent)

A few years have passed and my businesses now have technicians from England, Germany and Greece. These guys have brought exceptional talents and very positive attitudes to their work. I finally feel like the tail is no longer wagging the dog. Instead of entering crisis mode every time a much relied-on employee moves on, I can now focus on growth and implementing new strategies to make our business more successful, which will benefit both the employee and the employer. This is the long and short of it: I’ve come to realize that there is an ass for every seat! It works for me. If you think it might work for you as well, I’d be happy answer any questions pertaining to immigration and my experience with it. Just drop me an email.

Kelvin Campbell is the owner and operator of CSN Chapman Auto Body and CSN Chapman West Bedford. You can contact him at



Movie star Herbie enjoys his retirement. While autonomous vehicles may sound like a very modern idea, the Love Bug, a film about a free-thinking VW Beetle, captured the popular imagination when it was released 50 years ago.




s automakers try to plug into consumers’ future needs, electric cars are stirring boardroom curiosity—but not a lot of sales. Electric cars comprise less than a percent of North American sales, yet some automakers are banking on this changing within a decade. The international vehicle trend research firm LMC Automotive predicts that 75 electric models will be produced over the next five years, and forecasts gasoline-powered engines will still make up about 85 percent of new car sales in 2025, but says the market share on electric cars will continue to accelerate. They are not the only group seeing a sea change from the shore. According to a Bloomberg article, General Motors plans to roll out 20 electric models by 2023 and Toyota, ten by the early 2020s. Also, in Bloomberg’s “2017 New Energy Finance Electric Vehicle Outlook” report, electric cars will comprise over 50 percent in sales of new light-duty vehicles by 2035.


Recent months have shown commitments to advancement from some of the world’s largest OEMs. Both Ford and Toyota have announced their intent to develop fleets of connected vehicles. The Japanese OEM plans to start offering vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity to new U.S. manufactured models beginning in 2021. “By allowing vehicles’ intelligent systems to collaborate more broadly and effectively through DSRC technology, we can help drivers realize a future with zero fatalities from crashes, better traffic flow and less congestion,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America.” While Toyota’s initiative adds fuel to the growing fire of interest in V2V technology, it is not the first OEM to get in on the game. Ford made a similar announcement back in March, with rollout plans that are even more ambitious than Toyota’s. The company announced it would be adding standard connectivity to all new vehicle models by 2020. Ford’s vehicles will be connected via its

Transportation Mobility Cloud, which, according to a Medium post by Ford VP Rich Strader, “can manage information flow and basic transactions between a variety of components in the transportation ecosystem — service providers, personal vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, mass transit systems and city infrastructure, including traffic lights and parking locations.” Strader continued, “With this platform,

cities will be able to facilitate communication between various transportation methods and services operating within them, including individual vehicle data. As an example of the platform’s capability, cities could use real-time location updates from vehicles to control traffic flow, dynamically rerouting cars to reduce congestion, improve commuting times or account for construction projects, sporting events and emergencies. “ JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  53


THE CHINA PROBLEM While not known for the soundness of his economic policies, history—and the rise of EVs—Mao Tse Tung fiscal foresight may be vindicated by historians. His decision to push China to become the world’s largest refiner of rare earth metals in the 1950s has allowed the country to develop a strong solar power industry, and may fill China’s coffers as EVs go mainstream. While conventional vehicles rely on widely available materials, sophisticated electric engines require cobalt and even more exotic metals, including dysprosium, neodymium, yttrium and terbium. With predictions of a boom in electric vehicle production widespread, the prices of these commodities have been rising precipitously. The metals saw a similar run in the early 2000s—the price of metals boomed before crashing after the Great Recession of 2008. Now some managers are predicting commodity prices will advance by 10 percent this year. Many worry that China’s lock on the rare metal market is so tight that it might actually backfire. CEO Ivan Glasenberg of Swiss commodities trading behemoth Glencore, was quoted as saying, “If cobalt falls into the

The word cobalt comes from the German Kobold—a goblin. The metal got its name from medieval iron smelters, who, after accidentally refining the nowprecious metal, would throw it away, believing it to be iron that had been cursed by goblins.

hands of the Chinese, you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe. They are waking up too late. I think it’s because the car industry has never had a supply chain problem before.” While China’s control of the market may appear absolute, Japan recently announced the discovery of an underwater vein of rare


metals off its coast. Should metal prices rise enough to make deep ocean mining profitable, China’s grip may be loosened. While Mao’s economic record may be saved, his contested status as the bloodiest tyrant of the 20th century may make other aspects of his record entirely irredeemable.


BRINGING IN THE AI BACON In 2015, when Toyota made headlines for a decision to a billion dollars into AI initiatives and opening a centre for AI research in California, some industry analysts predicted the investment was premature. Almost all of their competitors have followed suit in the years since. In fact, according to an April report from TATA consultants, 90 percent of OEMs have invested in AI, with the remaining 10 percent planning to do so by 2020. The early investments have already begun to pay off, with the OEMs that pursued AI programs reporting an average of 12 percent revenue improvement.

PARKING IN STYLE VW is promising that the vehicles the company produces—Volkswagon, Audi, Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini—will come with an autonomous parking feature by 2020. According to a report the first version of the system will operate only in some parking garages. The system will rely on pictorial guiding markers to help cars, and those guides will have to be in place for it to work. This first phase of the feature will see the self-parking cars being guided to a separate area so they, “don’t have to deal with the unpredictability of human drivers.” Later versions of the system will see‘mixed parking’, where autonomous and piloted cars share the same areas.’

IS HAL HERE? Charlie, a digital service assistant for OEMs, was unveiled by Bosch in March. Collision repairers across the globe could soon be sharing a co-worker. Charlie, a digital service assistant that could be thought of as the automotive aftermarket’s version of Siri, was unveiled by Bosch Engineering in March. “This patent-applied-for dealership partner aims to bring a focused approach to all dealership services, including scheduled maintenance, collision repair, general repair, warranty processing and technician training,” Bosch said in a press release. The German firm says the prototype is designed to convince an OEM to partner with the company and use the AI to perform a slew of duties for anyone dealing with their vehicles – which, while aimed at dealers, could also be very useful to repairers.

Like Herbie, HAL, the psycopathic autonomous computer from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, is also celebrating his 50th birthday this year.

While the idea of an industry-specific virtual assistant may seem novel on the shop floor and in the showroom, the idea is not new to all transportation sectors.

Boeing, the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft, has invested in a similar system able to provide repair advice to technicians. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  55



Uni-Select to Shred Shares Quebec-based paint distributor Uni-Select announced that the board of directors has approved “a normal course issuer bid”—that is, a plan to buy back shares. Today, more corporations than ever are using share buybacks to distribute cash to stock owners. Traditionally companies pay out the profit of a company to shareholders through dividend payments. But many companies now use share buybacks. The company buys up shares on the open market and cancels them. In doing this, the overall share count is reduced, which boosts the earnings accruing to each share. The increase in earnings per share adds to the wealth of the shareholder through that channel, rather than through a dividend payment. In the case of Uni-Select, the board has announced that

Henry Buckley, president and CEO of Uni-Select. The company plans to buy back up to one-and-ahalf million of its shares.

the company will “repurchase some of its outstanding common shares through the facilities of the Toronto Stock Exchange or alternative trading systems for a period of twelve months.”

Northbound Shares Have AutoCanada Look South The publicly traded Canadian dealership group AutoCanada enjoyed a recent oneday bump in its share price of almost six percent. It seems investors like the story forming at the company. AutoCanada is setting out on an acquisition-driven growth plan (not unlike the strategy at Boyd). The company’s most recent acquisition of a dealership group in Illinois is the first example of the type of U.S.-based deals the company hopes to pursue. The company plans to use the U.S.-generated earnings from that acquisition to go on a south-

Steven Landry, president and CEO of AutoCanada. The company has made a play to establish itself in the U.S.

of-the-border buying spree. AutoCanada expects that U.S. deal to close in the second quarter, and that will add about CAD $523 million in annual revenue to AutoCanada’s

The company expects to buy back up to 1,500,000 common shares, representing approximately 3.5 percent of the 42,273,812 common shares of Uni-Select issued and outstanding. Daily repurchases will be limited to 32,198 common shares. The typical average daily trading volume for Uni-Select shares has been about 128,794 over the past six months. The price to be paid by Uni-Select for any common share will be the market price at the time of acquisition (plus brokerage fees). According to the course issuer bid, the shares purchased will be cancelled. The repurchase period will run until April 22, next year. The board of directors of Uni-Select concluded that the repurchase of up to 1,500,000 common shares is a desirable use of funds for Uni-Select and therefore would be in the best of Uni-Select and its shareholders.

books. The U.S. deal expands the portfolio of the Edmonton-based group to Toyota, Honda, Lincoln and Volvo. Will the plan work? It is said that OEMs do not like publicly traded companies to own dealerships. Seeming confirmation of that fact arrived when General Motors (GM) announced it would bring a lawsuit against the just-acquired U.S. dealership company, Grossinger Auto Group. Apparently GM is claiming that Grossinger breached so-called “exclusive-use agreements” concerning the sale of Chevrolet and Cadillac dealership assets when those were sold to AutoCanada. GM is demanding USD $4.5 million for brand-related losses, according to reports in the auto trade media. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  57


Underestimating Axalta Major American paint maker Axalta reported Q1 numbers. The company beat analyst estimates for EPS by a solid three cents. EPS in the first quarter came in at USD $0.27. Total revenue was USD $1.17 billion, an increase of 15.8 percent from the same period a year earlier. That number beat Wall Street estimates by USD $20 million. In a conference call, CEO Charles Shaver said, “Overall, our quarterly results were slightly better than we have previously projected,including both ongoing strong organic growth in industrial, continued solid performance in commercial vehicle, highlighted by the robust North America heavy duty truck market and welcome benefit from incremental currency tailwinds.” As expected, raw material cost continues to inflate with a particularly notable comparison in Q1 versus last year, given that raw materials were still a tailwind to reported results in Q1 2017. With that context, we’ve also begun to make progress, both in price offsets as well as accelerating cost reduction to meet this input cost challenge.” Margins at Axalta declined slightly to 18.9 percent from 20.2 percent from this time last year due to ongoing raw material inflation.

Charles W. Shaver, CEO of Axalta. The company has outperformed analyst predictions by a solid three cents per share.

“We continue to target mid-single digit growth for the year. We are gaining market share and expect to see favourable growth comparisons in the second half of the year. Volumes were broadly stable with ongoing modest growth in North America offset by flatter trends for the quarter in other regions. Auto production appears to be steady on a global level, with notable ongoing strength in North America standing out relative to more cautious predictions that we have made for 2018 for the region. We continue to expect flat to low single digit growth in auto


production globally in 2018 and slight outperformance versus the industry for Axalta. Commercial vehicle posted healthy net sales growth of eight percent and three percent constant currency growth. Volume growth was witnessed again in nearly all regions, led by continued healthy truck demand in North America and elsewhere,” said Shaver. The company spent USD $105 million in the first quarter on acquisitions with the largest portion going to an internalized refinish colour matching technology platform. “Additionally, we repurchased very little stock in the first quarter, but have devoted additional capital to repurchases here in April. We plan to continue to be opportunistic with share repurchases this year with an expected offset to our share dilution from stock reinvesting as a minimum allocation target. Regarding operating highlights across Axalta’s businesses, we continue to show progress in lowering our cost structure this quarter and you’ll likely notice that we set a new $200 million Axalta wide cost savings target. Clearly, the key focal point this year will be offsetting raw material inflation and we’re committed to doing so via a combination of pricing and productivity,” said Shaver.


Lack of Green Makes Akzo Nobel Blue

Akzo Nobel CEO Thierry Vanlancker. The troubled Dutch paintmaker says “on track” for sale targets.

Thierry Vanlancker, the CEO of embattled Dutch paintmaker Akzo Nobel said in a statement that the company was “on track” for delivering its target of a fifteen percent return on sales by 2020. That figure stood at 6.8 percent in the first quarter, down two percentage points from a year earlier. The company promised shareholders it would deliver that fifteen percent return on sales during the heat of the recent takeover battle. The company’s latest results no longer include revenues from the company’s

chemical business. Akzo agreed to sell that unit a few weeks ago for €10.1 billion to a group of buyers led by the well-known private equity firm Carlyle Group. Overall, the company reported a remarkable 28 percent drop in core profits in the first quarter. That loss was larger than Wall Street analysts expected. Analysts had expected profits to drop as a result of the spin out of the chemical unit, but losses were aggravated by slower business activity in a couple of key sectors.



A BUDDING CONCERN Four things to consider in the age of legal weed


ith the legalization of marijuana in Canada expected at some point this summer, this seems like the right time for us to take a look at what the move might mean for our shop. I should start with a disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or HR professional and definitely not an expert on cannabis or anything cannabis related. I am simply a concerned business owner who puts a premium on keeping our workplace safe now and in the future. To learn more about cannabis and its implications for my business, I recently attended Cannabis 101, a workshop put on through a local business group. While I half expected the day to be filled with lectures and somewhat boring, it wasn’t. To my surprise, I spent the day very engaged in grappling with the coming change and its repercussions for all businesses. While I was the only collision shop owner in attendance, many of the businesses represented were trades driven – mining, electrical, transportation and construction. Here are a few of my key takeaways.

1: Understand the risks

How many of the roles in our business are safety sensitive? When I think of my own shop, the answer is every single one. Pretty much every role has a customer touch point, a driving requirement, tools, equipment and chemicals. While it is easy to downplay the risks of using marijuana recreationally, when you think of all the highly specialized equipment and vehicles we’re working on, the risks on the shop floor become a little more serious. We had better do our due diligence to make 60  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM

sure that we have the proper safety standards in place. It is not only our duty to ensure we accommodate medical users, but to do our best to ensure the well-being of every staff member and customer in our shops.


cannot deny someone a job because of a medical issue that requires them to take a prescribed drug. However, it is important to remember that employees must disclose any type of prescription that could impair their judgment.

2: Rethink your substance abuse policies 4: Arm yourself with knowledge No matter what, employees are not permitted to be impaired at work or pose a safety risk to their co-workers or the public. A strong health and safety policy is non-negotiable. Even if you currently have a substance abuse policy, it needs review. The problem is that impairment is tough to judge with marijuana, so clear boundaries about what you consider impairment must be laid out. Invest some time in making a health and safety policy specific to your business. It must have very clearly set expectations for owners, managers and employees – and all parties must acknowledge, in writing, that they understand and agree to follow the policy. But what happens if you feel that someone is flouting the rules? Even if you are able to ask for a drug test, it would only determine the presence of the drug, not when it was used, how much was used or if it is affecting an individual’s ability to do his or her job. Yikes!

3: Prescription weed is a different story Employers have a duty to accommodate workers with a disability, and that may include the medicinal use of marijuana. Basically, you

Although I got ribbed beyond belief by my team for attending a workshop called Cannabis 101, I would highly encourage collision repair shop owners consider attending a similar one. I learned a huge amount about the issue and recognize that I have a lot to review and revamp in our shop to ensure we’re ready for this change. If you have concerns, reach out to an expert or check in with your local business organizations to see if they have information available. It is time to review and revise policies and write new ones. Legalized marijuana is about to become a reality, and we should use it as a reminder of the importance of having clear communication with our teams – about policy changes and accommodations alike. Chelsea Stebner is a co-owner/ operator of Parr Auto Body, a collision repair facility located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She can be reached at chelsea@


THE GREEN MENACE Chelsea Stebner and the good people behind Cannabis 101 are not the only people interested in the possible repercussions of legalized pot. In 2017, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) released a cleverly named report “Clearing the Haze” on the impact of the legalization of marijuana on the Canadian workforce.

QUICK FACTS • In a survey of hundreds of HR professionals, HRPA found that 45 percent believe that their workplace policies fail to address potential issues that could result from the legalization of marijuana. • Deloitte found that 22 percent of the Canadian adult population consumes pot, while another 17 percent would be willing to try it if it were legalized. • Collision repairers could be one of the most negatively impacted businesses in the country. The HRPA lists the top Canadian business concerns as: employees operating motor vehicles, challenges related to disciplinary procedures, decreased work performance, the use of heavy machinery, and diminished attendance.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS Entitle all Canadians with prescriptions to: • Access quality-controlled cannabis from Health Canada or another licensed producer

• The HRPA writes, “A zero tolerance policy could cause discrimination against employees who use cannabis to treat or relieve the symptoms of a disability. To confidently enact a zero-tolerance policy, employers would have to be prepared to establish that sobriety is a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR) if anyone brought a human rights case against them.” • D rug testing is not able to establish impairment, but only whether the substance has been used in the past few weeks. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission: “The primary reason for conducting drug and alcohol testing should be to measure impairment, as opposed to deterring drug or alcohol use or monitoring moral values among employees.”

THE CANNABIS ACT • Will create a framework for the sale and possession of cannabis in Canada

• Produce a small amount for themselves

• Permit all adult Canadians to purchase small amounts of cannabis from authorized retailers or, in provinces where retailers have yet to be authorized, to order online from federally licensed producers

• Designate an individual to produce it on their behalf

• Allow users to share their marijuana with other adults • Permit the cultivation of up to four plants at home



• The storefront sale or purchase of medical cannabis is illegal

• The sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of 18, although provinces have the option to set the minimum age higher

• Licensed users may only possess the lesser of 150 grams or a 30-day supply.


• The creation of new criminal offences for those who give or sell cannabis to youth



n last month’s survey, Collision Repair magazine looked to the future and asked our readers about their thoughts on the growing role of robots in estimation work, as well as their attitudes toward making the collision repair industry more environmentally sustainable. Readers also shared opinions their own business management practices.

MEET THE NEW GUY With news that Mitchell and CCC have started using artificial intelligence to perform some of their more mundane tasks, human repair estimators have begun to put their skills to use making an informed guess about a much more existential question: Will they one day be replaced by machines, and if so, in how long? Before writing themselves off, estimators should remember that the scope of current technology is quite limited. CCC’s tool analyzes photographs of damaged vehicles to determine whether they should be written off before being taken to the shop, while Mitchell’s technology provides a simplified record-keeping process to lessen the amount of time insurers need to approve estimations. Both of these tools leave plenty of work for estimators.


Our readers have several different arguments to back up their beliefs that vehicle repair will always require a human touch. All of our readers claim that proper vehicle repair will always require a human touch, given the complexities of conducting a repair. About 80 percent believe motorists in need want to talk to a real human who genuinely cares. About 60 percent argue it would cost too much for a shop to accommodate and maintain such technology. Roughly 40 percent believe technology won’t replace humans, but will instead help them do their jobs more quickly and accurately.

Why do you think computers won’t replace humans in estimating?






s, r air man h fo ator rep a hul care mucology stim curate e icle touch o o t h o n a c c k t n ve uman tal actu ma e a ost ech e per t to e hu mor ld c the t Pro ires a h ts wan reciev placer and wouo use e t r I d s u t i t n’ an or pt as req Mot being s ca em f sho the hine e th Macst mak ju



Estimators should also take comfort in the fact that whatever changes technology does bring in the next few years, the collision repair community is largely skeptical of claims they will ever be entirely replaced. Asked if we will see human estimators replaced at the shop level, only 2.7 percent said the technology would eventually be good enough to replace flesh and blood estimators. In fact, the most widely held opinion is that artificial intelligence would begin to assist in more and more estimating work, but never take over. This belief is shared by 82 percent of respondents. About 13.5 percent believe human judgment is too valuable for AI to ever get more involved. 64  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM


CLEAN FOR THE CASH The second topic Collision Repair magazine’s reader survey looked at is our readers’ commitment to providing environmentally friendly services. The answers reveal a startling gap in the market. Asked if their companies make efforts to source their raw materials, equipment and products in a sustainable fashion, respondents all answer in one of two ways—either by not answering at all, or by admitting they do not know. With 95.8 percent falling into the former category, just 4.1 percent have admitted their ignorance. On the other hand, when asked if respondents would be willing to pay more to provide environmentally friendly products, the majority—77 percent—said it would depend on the product and how much more it would cost them.

Would you pay a premium for an environmentally friendly product?



When it comes to paying a premium price for environmentally friendly products, most of our readers are flexible. Some 62.5 percent of respondents would pay more for an environmentally friendly product, depending on the price and product. 6.2 claim they always pay premiums, while about twice as many do not—at 12.5 percent.




Yes (6.2)

No responses (14.5)

No (12.5)

Depends on the price, depends on the product (62.5)

Other (4.1)

While environmentalism has not been a cause traditionally championed by the autobody repair industry, the industry’s indifference toward environmentalism should be of interest to businesses seeking to offer services not provided by the industry as a whole. As one respondent wisely noted, the increased price of environmentally friendly products is not something that the insurers are likely to pay for. It is, however, something that can be offered to customers directly—and in a world where people are prepared to raise chickens in their apartments to save food miles, it is a safe bet that someone will be willing to pay. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  65


THE MANY SIDES OF MANAGEMENT Recently, a number of readers shared their answers to a survey on management practices with Collision Repair magazine. With an immense amount of variation in the managerial philosophies, one thing became very clear in the results: there is more than one way to skin a cat. In fact, results vary so widely on many subjects, that it is clear the industry does not agree on a single style for just about anything. Take, for example, pay practices.As far as pay rates for staff go,31.2 percent of respondents—the vast majority of whom were owners—feel they pay above the local market rate. They give two reasons for this—the first, being staff retention, and the second that it makes hiring quality applicants easier. None admitted to soft-heartedness. Another 43.7 percent of employers pay their staff the local market rate, and 18.7 say that it depends on the employee. 6.2 percent selected “other” for their response, though do not comment on what they pay—or why. On hiring practices, too, respondents were divided. Asked for thoughts on whether they would hire a convicted felon, 21.6 pecent said yes. Exactly 12.5 percent indicated that they believed in the importance of second chances

“Asked if they would be willing to pay more to provide environmentally friendly products, the majority—77 percent— say it would depend on the product and the price difference.”

and the other 9.1 percent said that they would only hire non-violent offenders. For exactly half of respondents,the question was hard to answer, with the group insisting that they would have to consider each individual situation. For the remaining 29.4 percent of respondent, a criminal record was enough to discard a re-

How many team members have you hired in the last twelve months? 31.2

sume entirely, though two of the respondents did leave the door open for reconsidering in a special situation. For hiring on staff, the number of new hires facilities brought in during the last twelve months varies widely. 9.3 percent of respondents hired none, 31.2 percent hired one, with another 31.2 percent hiring two to three. 18.7 percent hired four to five new employees, and 6.2 percent hired six or more. We also looked at length of employment. 68.7 of readers say the average length of employment at their business is over four years. 15.6 say two to four years, and 9.3 say less than two years. As for the longest employed non-executive staff members, 43.7 percent of our readers say the longest serving team member has been around for ten to 20 years. 25 percent say the longest serving employee has been employed for 20 to 30 years, and 15.6 percent say longer than 30 years. On the lower end of the spectrum, 3.1 percent of employers’ longest serving employee has been with the business for five to ten years, and 9.3 percent of employers’ longest serving staff has been around less than five.

What is the average term of employent for one of your permanent positions?



Less than two years (9.3 percent), threeto-four years (15.6 percent); more than four years (68.7 percent); no response (6.2 percent).


6.2 15.6 3.1




None (9.3)

Four to five (18.7)

One (31.2)

Six or more (6.2)

Two to three (31.2)

No response (3.1) an s th Les




our to f Two


rs Mor


four than









Named for the Kievan Rus, a tribe which settled in modern-day Ukraine, Russia is the world’s largest country.

Repairing in a Cold Climate M

uch like its president, Russia’s automotive market can be described only as unpredictable. Not only are the political climates very different, but the experience for repairers is also anything but comparable. While Russia may have more cars on its roads, they are a little more spread out and have a little more room to roam. In line with the country’s grim socialist-turned-quasi-capitalist history, Russians demonstrate less consumerism than we do in the strong and free parts of the true north. Our wallets fatted by the sweat of the proletariat, we purchase more new vehicles, and do so more often. In Russia, the average vehicle is nearly thirteen years old, in comparison with only nine years here. New vehicle sales have been, for a number of years, on the rise in Canada, from 1.8 million in 2013 to more than two million in 2017. In Russia, new vehicle sales have collapsed from 2.3 million in 2013 to 1.3 million in 2016. Despite the country’s larger population, Russians—if the official statistics are to be believed—are much better drivers than we

Red Square, in the centre of Moscow, is where most of the city’s major streets and the country’s highways converge.

are. In Canada we typically ring in around 125,610 collisions a year resulting in injury or fatality and Russia tallies in at 157,108. Unfortunately for Russians, the difference in numbers may have more to do with differences in approaches to record-keeping than to their driving abilities. In fact, the risk of being killed in a vehicle in the world’s largest country is three times higher than in its second largest. The Russians will need to do some work if they are hoping to compete with Canadians on

the environmentally friendly vehicle front to the same calibre they compete with us in hockey. As of 2016, a total of 18,451electric vehicles could be seen on Canadian roads, alongside a quarter million natural gas vehicles across North America. Russia’s alternative fuel vehicles represent far less than one percent of one percent of the country’s vehicles in operation, though this may be explained in part by the absence of electric charging stations anywhere outside of Moscow. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  69


The Lada 4x4 from AVTOVas. Founded as a partnership between the U.S.S.R. and Fiat in the late 1960s, AVTOVas’s creation was one of the first signs of a thawing of Soviet market policies.

Understanding Russia’s auto insurance market is like trying to learn the correct grammar of a language you don’t speak. There are two types of insurance consumers can purchase: voluntary insurance (CASCO) for new vehicles, or compulsory insurance

with differences in price even between the two types of insurance.While the market is becoming more consistent with time and new regulations, professionals still have difficulty ascertaining the average market price on parts.

Understanding Russia’s auto insurance market is like trying to learn the correct grammar for a language you don’t speak.

of civil responsibility (OSAGO). With the rapid decline of new car sales in recent years, the market for voluntary insurance has taken a major hit, with OSAGO slow to pick up the pace. In 2014 there was a market crisis, causing officials to step in and create new regulations. Until 2015 there was also no regulatory body for the sale of spare parts in Russia, thus the prices of said parts were prone to drastic fluctuation and inconsistency ,depending largely on how far a city is located from the capital, but

While we may think of Russia as a stern and orderly place the needs of markets are put before people, its automotive sector seems to suggest that may not be the case. It is, however, this magazine’s firm belief that, without first securing the say-so of Putin’s crony capitalists, any efforts to secure a foothold in the Russian repair scene would be inadvisable—at least for those who dread the thought of ending their days inside the Lubyanka.



146.8 million


U.S. $8,748


40.1 million



While they may call America’s currency the almighty dollar, Russia’s, the ruble is best described as volitile.



GEARS CARSTAR president Michael Macaluso goes into detail about changes coming to the business behemoth


t 35, Michael Macaluso is something of a force of nature in the collision repair world. In 2008, CARSTAR Canada was just one up-and-coming name in a crowded field of collision industry banners. It was also the year that founder Sam Mercanti took note of Macaluso, who was then a young operations team member, and his talents. By the time he was 29, in 2013, Macaluso would be the COO of CARSTAR Canada, and was made its president in 2015. In 2016, he was put in charge of the American side of the business as well and tasked with uniting the operations. Many lesser publications have, understandably, fallen into the trap of describing his rise as ‘meteoric’—forgetting, of course, that the one thing meteors do not do is rise. Recently, Collision Repair magazine approached CARSTAR for some information about the banner’s decision to change up its approach to supporting regional operations in Canada. This magazine was pleasantly surprised that Macaluso took the time to personally respond to our questions. Macaluso wanted to make it clear that, in his view, the change in tack is more an evolutionary shift of the company’s winning strategy, than a revolutionary change of course. In fact, he feels that the change is indicative of the dynamic approach that has fuelled the banner’s success—its commitment to staying humble and staying hungry.



Collision Repair magazine: CARSTAR recently announced

a new operations and sales structure across Canada, designed to give proportionate support for each region it serves in Canada. Could you go into a little more detail about what this reconfiguration will look like?

Michael Macaluso: Both our operational and sales teams have

aligned completely, now reconfigured to be a zone structure. We have our Western Zone, which includes Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta and the prairie provinces, Ontario Zone, Quebec Zone and then Atlantic Zone, which encompasses P.E.I., Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We have always had dedicated team members overseeing particular regions, however now we have formalized it for both our operations and sales teams, as well as making it clear for our stores with defined mapping.

tried and tested operational platform has seen enormous success with our U.S. counterparts over the past four years. This new zone alignment, in conjunction with the launch of the EDGE Performance Platform in Canada, is the the kind of move CARSTAR is not afraid to make. As [former general electric chairman] Jack Welch famously said, “Change before you have to.” We did not have to make these changes; we chose to make these changes for the betterment of CARSTAR and to position us for continued success in the years to come.

CRM: CARSTAR has also rezoned the teams overseeing insurance agreements. With the insurers market so different from province to province, why is CARSTAR only making this change now?

“Growing our footprint and accessibility while also staying true to our values will allow us to better support our insurance and franchise partners. We have to always remain humble and hungry.” - Michael Macaluso

We have also added more than 12 new team members to the CARSTAR corporate team in Canada, specifically focused on franchise partner success and KPIs. The goal is to enhance an already extremely successful program, with the added intent of providing exceptional service and quality to our insurance partners and ensuring sustainability and success for our franchise partners.

CRM: Will it have a significant impact on the day-to-day work of operators? Of team members?

MM: We have always been committed to continuous improvement,

which is one of our core values. This is an evolution of the CARSTAR program. With our exponential growth comes the necessity to ensure we are providing world-class service and support to our system. Our people and program are our competitive advantage and we are enhancing both.

CRM: Could you go into a little more detail about why CARSTAR saw a need for this move?

MM: CARSTAR is constantly evolving. With the changing landscape in the collision repair industry as well as the growing challenges and opportunities, we have to always be willing to enhance our business. We have officially begun implementing CARSTAR’s proprietary EDGE Performance Platform across Canada. This

MM: Again, we have always had members dedicated to particular regions, because insurers do differ greatly, province to province, market to market and insurer by insurer. Our new zone structure gives deeper and more focused support for our partners. This new structure reaffirms our commitment to our local operators and success in their communities, which ultimately helps us uphold our national agreements with our insurance partners. CARSTAR is thinking nationally and acting locally. CRM: Do you have a particular objective you would like to see CARSTAR accomplish over the course of the next five years? In the next ten?

MM: Growth, performance for our insurance partners

and franchise partner profitability. CARSTAR is laserfocused on franchise profitability and growing our footprint across North America, all the while providing exceptional service and KPIs to our insurance partners and the customer. Being a leader in premier collision repairs, we understand the value we provide our insurance partners and customers. Growing our footprint and accessibility while also staying true to our values will allow us to better support our insurance and franchise partners. We have to always remain humble and hungry.



Hosting the High Fliers Performance Collision & Restyling hosts CCS’s first high-performance team meeting


n April, CRM’s own John Scetta and his team at Performance Collision & Restyling in St. Catharines, Ontario, played host to the inaugural CCS High-Performance Group Meeting. Bringing together representatives from seven of the network’s top-performing dealer collision centres in Ontario, the event saw the group spend the day dissecting and critiquing one another’s financial and operational performance. While the prospect of having one’s business critiqued by a team of high-performing peers in the industry might be daunting for most, Scetta was delighted by the opportunity to learn from other industry leaders. “To be honest, I wasn’t daunted. I was excited to have the opportunity,” says Scetta, who believes that there is no place for hurt feelings when it comes to shop management advice. “There were a few key points made— one was that we should display employee certifications, which makes a lot of sense. It was also suggested that we rearrange our reception area.” As CCS general manager Mike Beier knows well, Scetta is not alone in his ‘all criticism is good criticism’ attitude.

“We realized the demand for this sort of meeting amongst many of our dealer collision centre members. While there are many dealer performance group meetings and collision performance groups, there was a gap in the market in terms of providing a new-car-dealer exclusive collision performance group meeting,” says Beier, who facilitated the day’s discussions. The event also included a line-by-line fi-

nancial composite review put together in advance of the meeting, and a presentation from Nicky Woerner of Enterprise Holding on industry trends. The delegates also toured Performance Collision & Restyling, and shared their critiques of the site with one another. They held an open discussion on topics ranging from staffing and parts procurement to advertising and all things collision.



The delegates of CCS’s first high performance team meeting.

“The discussion was interesting. There was obviously many different points of view, but we shared a focus on looking for ways to retain our customers, on KPIs that drive business and ways shorten cycle time and minimize severities.” “We all take one or two things away from these kind of performance group meetings and put them into action back at the dealership, which is a bonus to our stores,” says Shawn Turner, the fixed operations manager at Bennett Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC in Cambridge, ON. “We are happy to be part of such a group. We learn from one another and look forward to growing our collision business together for years to come,” Beier says. In a unanimous vote, it was decided that the group will meet again for an autumn meeting to be hosted by Russ Forbes and Ray Lavoie of Forbes Collision Centre in Waterloo, ON. CCS is operated by Consolidated Dealers Co-operative based in Woodbridge, Ontario. The network is a new-car-dealer-only collision repair organization and currently has over 60 new-car-dealer collision centres in three provinces, representing more than 140 new-car-dealers across Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba. For more information, visit their website at

Special guest Nicky Woerner of Enterprise Holdings.


Swav Pietras of Performance Collision and Restyling.

CRM’s Gloria Mann and CCS president Sandy Ligouri.

“The discussion was interesting. There was obviously many different points of view, but we shared a focus on looking for ways to retain our customers, on KPIs that drive business and ways to shorten cycle time and minimize severities.”

Mike Beier and John Scetta.

Visit Mitchell at NACE located at booth #1627


Fix Takes a Trip to Niagara A

gainst the backdrop of the eighth wonder of the world, Steve Leal paid homage to the advances Fix Automotive Network has made around the globe. No longer focused on the country or even the continent, the company has spread over the far corners of the Earth. Could it, too, become a wonder? “We have a vision that goes beyond borders. We are not bound by country, but by our mission,” said Leal, president and chief executive officer, Fix Auto World.“Our goal is to become a global brand, not limited to geography.” Held in Niagara Falls from May 3-5, this was the first Fix Automotive Network (FAN) conference. With a theme of “ONE Family, ONE Vision,” the conference saw more than 300 attendees representing 200 franchisees in attendance, reconnecting with old friends and associates and, more importantly, meeting new ones. According to Leal, the network has responded well to massive shifts in the automotive aftermarket services environment. “We have to be agile—to make changes; look at different ways to do business. Our

partnerships are key to our operations. On the collision side, we have built tools so we stay united and focused, delivering for our customers and our partners.” He went on further to explain Fix Auto Hub, a communication platform designed to give real time information and communication for franchisees.


Steve Leal speaks to the crowd of the first Fix Automotive Network conference.

“We have invested heavily in technology, bringing programming in-house, and developing proprietary software to further improve on mobile estimating for customers, estimators and fleet partners, resulting in quicker turnaround on estimates.”


The other brands in the network, including NOVUS Glass and Speedy Auto Service on the glass and mechanical side of the business, were also discussed as a key component of growth moving forward with an end game of 10,000 locations worldwide. On the two-day agenda were a host of motivational speakers, including David Chilton and Patrick Leroux. AIA president Jean-Francois Champagne also took to the stage to welcome the group and provide an update on the association and its activities. David Lingham, head of business for Fix Auto World gave his insight into what is happening globally in the market. He said change is coming faster than ever, and predicts more, especially in the next couple of years. “Expect the unexpected. Consolidation is an extremely hot topic and we should expect to see more interest in other potential arrivals and competitors from other countries outside Canada and the U.S.,” he said. Lingham mentions the possibility that the Fix Automotive Network model will be transferred to others as they expand in Europe. “There are several things the repairers around the world can learn from the transparency Canadian consolidators have created, including one-stop shopping, different models for insurers and high industry standards.” Of course no event of this magnitude would be complete without an awards banquet, and this one was no exception. Awards were handed out to salute the achievements of franchise strategic partners from all brands in the FAN family. “We are really proud of the exceptional work all our franchise strategic partners do every day to ensure the success of their business along with the satisfaction of our customers and valued partners,” said Leal. “These awards give us a chance to recognize the best of the best from within our network family.”

Former Dragon’s Den investor and keynote speaker David Chilton.

Des Chan of Global Strategic Development at Fix Auto.

THE WINNERS: Sales growth for a location with total sales under $1.5M Fix Auto Hamilton Mountain, Ontario Sales growth for a location with total sales under $1.5M 7Fix Auto Cold Lake, Alberta Speedy Auto Service Brampton North, Ontario NOVUS Glass Ottawa St. Laurent, Ontario CFO Dan Hogg with Harry Dhanjal, Fix Auto’s new global strategic developer.

Customer Experience Fix Auto Carrefour Laval, Quebec Speedy Auto Service Brampton North, Ontario NOVUS Glass Halifax Bayers Lake, Nova Scotia Brand Ambassador Fix Auto Sherbrooke East, Quebec Speedy Auto Service St. Thomas, Ontario NOVUS Glass Sherbrooke Mi-Vallon, Quebec

Media Matters’ Gloria Mann with Carl Brabander and Sandra Zalec, both VPs of marketing.

President’s Award Fix Auto Edmonton West & North, Alberta – Albert Rosanova Speedy Auto Service St. Thomas, Ontario – Rick & Heather Mate NOVUS Glass Moncton, New Brunswick – Marc Lecocq & Justin McPherson



Collaborative Listening TADA’s conference brings the industry together


he Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) hosted the first Automotive Conference & Expo (ACE), in partnership with Consolidated Dealers. Created specifically for Canadian New Car Dealers, ACE is a combination of TADA’s Auto Dealer Innovation Series and Ontario Dealer Day. Along top notch speakers and more than 80 Canadian vendors, all ready to take necessary action to boost their dealerships to the next level. Over the course of the event, a large contingent of dealers and vendor partners collaborated with their peers to learn from one another about best practices and strategies

for today competitive market. This was one of many industry events that encourages learning from one another, thus allowing the industry to evolve as a whole. ACE provided attendees with multiple opportunities to grow their network and industry knowledge base. Delegates had the opportunity to rub shoulders with auto industry leaders such as Susan Gubasta, president of TADA and dealer principal of Mississauga Toyota; Mike Stollery, president of MJS holdings & Management; Chuck Seguin, president of Seguin Advisory Services; and the senior management team of the Weins Group based in Markham, Ontario.

The showcase floor featured over 80 auto industry vendors, including platinum sponsors Cox Automotive, CARPROOF and Adesa.


Tom Langton, president and CEO of Consolidated Dealers and Sandy Liguori of Woodchester Collision.

Networking is certainly important, but the main highlight of the two-day event was the featured speakers. Peter Mansbridge, former chief correspondent and the anchor on CBC’s The National, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about why we should all be proud to be citizens of this nation. The house was riveted by his personal reflections on his experiences throughout his entire career. Mansbridge’s stories made the audience feel proud to be Canadian, and his anecdotes kept them laughing throughout his speech. Michele Romanow of CBC’s Dragon’s Den and co-founder of Clearbanc, wowed the crowd by sharing her entrepreneurial experiences and emphasizing the struggles


Left to right: Todd Burgan; Susan Gubasta, president and CEO of TADA; Consolidated Dealers president and CEO Tom Langton; and Retail Profit founder Doug Stevens.

that come before success in business. At the end of Michele’s presentation the packed house was given an opportunity to ask questions, which provided additional insight into the life of the accomplished business leader. Chuck Seguin moderated an informative leading-edge session called,“The Future of Residuals from a Leasing Perspective” with an industry panel. Doug Stephens, author of Influencer and Retail Futurist kicked off the first day with thought provoking concepts about the future of retail as well as the challenges and opportunities facing our industry. Some of the featured industry workshops at the ACE conference included, ‘Re-Marketing Auction Trends Panel’ moderated by Mike Stollery, president of MJS Holdings & Management; ‘Economic Trend Forecasting 2018 & Beyond’ moderated by Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director at BMO Financial Group and “Dealership IT—What Matters Now & In the Future,” moderated by Erik Nachbahr, president and founder of Helion Technologies. Between workshops and keynote speakers, attendees explored the trade show floor, which showcased over 80 auto industry vendors including platinum sponsors Cox Automotive, CARPROOF and Adesa. Special appearances by former NHL players Paul Coffey and Wendel Clark created long lineups for photo and autograph opportunities. After the closing remarks the attendees joined the ACE at the other event’s kick-off party at Margaritaville, which featured rock icon Kim Mitchell.

“In between workshops and keynote speakers, attendees explores the trade show floor, showcasing more than 80 auto industry vendors including platinum sponsors.”

Padie Scott of Consolidated Dealers and Michele Romanow, co-founder of Clearbanc and a Dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Left to right: Tom Langton, CEO of Consolidated Dealers; former anchor of ‘The National’ Peter Mansbridge; and TADA executive director Tom Bourgan. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  81

PILLARS OF THE INDUSTRY Bramgate Volkswagen’s grand opening in 1967. Over the next half-century, Bramgate Automotive’s portfolio would come to include another Volkswagen and two Audi dealerships, as well as a pre-owned facility and a recently expanded CSS network collision centre.

The Stuff of Legends Bill Johnston Sr. and Bramgate Automotive’s five decades of success


“My business grew up with Brampton. We flourished together. I cannot imagine a more enjoyable place to do business.” — Bill Johnston Sr.


hat does it mean to be an automotive aftermarket legend? Is it a status that can be achieved by creating a lasting business legacy that has proven its ability to thrive through the industry’s most challenging times? Perhaps it should refer to a leader whose business acumen allows him or her to adopt innovative new strategies so successful that competitors have adopted them as well. Or could it be something more, such as making an impact that resonates beyond the industry, in one’s own community and the wider world? By any of these definitions, Bill Johnston Sr. passes with muster—a visionary business leader, he has consistently read the market tea leaves and built an empire over the course of five decades. Johnston’s daring business strategies have, several times, 82  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM

changed what “standard practice” means throughout the automotive aftermarket. But it is the final test that is his greatest source of pride. In building up his multi-dealership and collision centre operation, he has played an integral part of supporting his community. It was 1967 when the young auto executive and his wife moved from Toronto to the then sleepy suburban community of Brampton, Ontario. At the time, it was an almost unknown place, with just 50,000 inhabitants. “I can still remember how excited I was about the dealership,” says Johnston. “On the day before it opened, my wife and I were painting it when the president of Volkswagen Canada walked in and wished me luck.”


In fact, when naming the dealership, Johnston chose to call it Bramgate as it stood between Brampton and the similarly sized town of Bramlea—now a tiny satellite in comparison with Brampton, Canada’s seventh largest city with a population of more than 500,000. It wasn’t just the move to Brampton that raised eyebrows among his peers. Cutting his promising career short in order to open a dealership—and a Volkswagen dealership at that—made little sense to them. But Johnston knew a cultural shift was coming, and saw the brand’s stock was about to explode. A few months after the opening of the shop, the Summer of Love and the Detroit riots began. Just as interest in American cars waned, Scott McKenzie’s If You’re Going to San Francisco was playing in custom-painted Volkswagen Type 2s across the globe. As if to spite those who suggested that his good timing was more a matter of luck than insight, Johnston repeated the trick several more times, adding to his success. In the 1970s, as the North American automotive sector strained under a stagnant economy, Johnston made a strategic decision to bring collision repair into his business—several decades before this was seen as a matter of good business. He did it again in the new century. As the cost of homes in Mississauga soared, Johnston went all in on a bid to open the city’s sole Audi dealership in 2006, with his vision of the shop winning out over those of other MSOs. By the time that Audi recognized Brampton could be a profitable place for a dealership, and there was no serious question about which

Vice presidents of Bramgate Automotive Bill Jr. and Brad Johnston, Bill Sr.’s sons.

The CSS Bramgate Collision Centre team, with general manager Peter Shiwram on the far left.

group would take it on. It was also the year his collision centre joined the CSS network, with Johnston and his two sons, Bramgate Automotive vice presidents Bill Jr. and Brad, excited by the opportunity to receive the benefits the network offered and the opportunity to expand and modernize the facility.

For Johnston, his long career has left him deeply attached to the community that took a chance on him so long ago. “My business grew up with Brampton. We flourished together,” he says. “I cannot imagine a more enjoyable place to do business.”



• Bill Johnston Sr. leaves Toronto and opens Bramgate Volkswagen.

• Bramgate Volkswagen opened the doors to its new 5,000 sq m facility.

• Brampton population: 50,000

• The Queen Street location becomes home to the Bramgate Pre-Owned Centre.

1975: • Johnston adds a collision repair facility to his dealership, Bramgate Collision Centre. • Brampton population: 98,440

2006: • Audi accepts Bramgate Automotive’s bid to open the first Audi dealership in Mississauga. • Brampton population: 429,440

• Brampton population: 562,000

2017: • Johnston, and his sons Brad and Bill junior, decide to have Bramgate Collision Centre joins the CSS Network. • Bramgate Automotive celebrates its 50th anniversary. • Brampton population: 588,000



Taking Care of Business


f it feels like you’re drowning in an ocean of data, it might be time to upgrade your management system. Today’s software providers are experts when it comes to tossing you a figurative life preserver. In fact, it may be more accurate to say that they can build you a boat! With the right software,

you can keep better track of inventory, order parts, track repair orders, provide estimates faster and more accurately and make life in the shop easier overall. The ability to access procedures with just one click is also incredibly valuable. There are also offerings that go beyond shop

management. Customer research is more important than ever before, and there is software available to help you here too. Whether you’re tracking repair orders, checking customer satisfaction levels, or simply want to be able store and find images easily, today’s software has you covered.

Autadex: Autadex Estimating A web-based bodyshop management system, the ABW Tracker suite has a 20 -year history, tracking labour, cycle times, parts and job statuses. The company says its product, for a flat monthly fee, also offers real-time production status updates, detailed reports analyzing shop efficiency, and cost and sales numbers. ABC also says the system can be used to manage accounts payable and receivable. It also says the suite sends out text and email updates, can produce customized letters and documents and store and process images.



Autadex: Autadex Estimating Audatex says that whether you are working with insurers or walk-in customers, Audatex Estimating improves productivity, reduces supplements and drives faster, more accurate estimating for your business. Repair professionals can collaborate directly with insurers using a single estimating application. The company says this improves cycle time, streamlines communication, and ensures accuracy. Key features include APU, an integrated, real-time alternative parts ordering system; one-click labour reports; inside-out labour methodology system, which reduces supplements; 3-D intelligent graphics with substrate materials colour coding; vehicle specific option-driven database; fully integrated airbag matrix and frame dimensions.

Micazen: BodyshopConnect Canadian firm Micazen’s BodyshopConnect is a bilingual management system that switches languages at a click of the button. Built for single and multi-store facilities, Micazen says its software platform allows for an unlimited number of users at one price, with all services included. The primary users are given the ability to customize everything from the appearance of the user interface, to the layout of printed reports. With a programming team responsive to user feedback, Micazen says it added 1,500 new features in 2017. Built on a number of Micazen’s past programs, BodyshopConnect has been designed to be a complete management system with the intention of “putting the Shop Owner back into the driver’s seat.” It is compatible with all modern devices.



Carrus Technologies: CollisionWay CollisionWay is designed to provide tools that comply with the needs of insurance partners. Giving shops control of the job cost before proceeding to the final invoice, it is said to allow for owners to quickly evaluate the profitability associated with each department. Compatible with Mitchell and Audatex’s estimating software, it includes an appointment scheduler designed especially for the automotive repair industry and an integrated time cycle feature for easy personnel management. A scalable and bilingual system, Carrus says CollisionWay’s progress grid allows you to see what’s happening in your workshop in real time without having to leave your desk.

CosmosSync: CosmoSync Originally developed to help collision facilities manage images during the claims process, CosmosSync now offers the ability to capture images, video, voice memos and notes; the ability to annotate pictures with symbols and text; real-time notifications for appraisers, managers and suppliers and the ability to share information with customers, insurers and suppliers. According to the company, the system is designed to help speed up the entire collision management process and boost revenues while reducing expenses and improving shop productivity. The CosmosSync solution is designed to work on most smart phones and tablets.

Czok’s Garage: Czok A new suite, programmer Matthew Czok describes his new shop management software as dedicated in speeding up workflow and simplifying the administrative and organizational side of shop management. Described as as offering a great amount of MSO or shop-specific customization options, Czok also says the suite can be use to control stock, schedule work, produce shop and employee performance reports and view past jobs, invoices, purchases and quotes for each customer or vehicle. Czok also offers live support from agents and daily account backups. JUNE 2018  COLLISION REPAIR  87


Progi: Progisync Progi, a Canadian company creating digital solutions for the automobile and insurance markets, says ProgiSync’s new planning module allows for easy control of the shop’s capacity and vehicles inventory, and can be used to establish production goals and monitor each repair step. Other modules are said to automatically distribute a satisfaction survey to clients by email or text message, and analyze their responses; compare and order auto parts from various suppliers; broadcast shop availability to insurance companies and vehicle owners; and receive appointments.

Mitchell: RepairCenter Built with your business goals in mind, Mitchell’s RepairCenter brings together tools to help shop owners generate more profit by better managing repairs, customer satisfaction and overall business, the company says. A personal management system that can be customized to meet individual shop needs, RepairCenter helps to gain real-time insight into cycle times to help promote better business practices. It works quickly to locate OEM repair procedures to restore vehicles back to pre-accident condition and includes programming to more accurately book and pay labour. 88  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM

Auto recyclers from ARA and ARC meet at the Canadian Embassy in Washington Earlier this year, automotive recyclers travelled to Washington, D.C., in order to participate in the annual Hill Days lobbying event. At the same time, representatives from the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and U.S. Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) met with Canadian Embassy staff. Held at the invitation of the Canadian Embassy, which had been excited to discover that David Gold, a Canadian, was not just the president of the ARA, but the fourth Canadian president. The meeting saw members of both groups discuss possible ways to improve crossborder cooperation between auto recycler communities. “It was a great first step. We had an opportunity to introduce ourselves as an industry and to demonstrate to the embassy staff and cross - border trade officials that American and Canadian recyclers work closely together,” says former OARA chair Wally Dingman. “We share many concerns, particularly barriers to trade and the possibility of tariffs, though we didn’t dwell on anything that may be coming down the tube with the NAFTA negotiations.” Gold, along with Dalbert Livingstone, Wally Dingman, the current ARC Chairman, Ed MacDonald and I represented Canada. Michael Wilson, chief executive officer of the ARA, and Delanne Bernier, director of government affairs, represented the American delegations. With the NAFTA re-negotiations underway, along with dangerous precedent-setting of pending aluminum tariffs, the timing of the meeting was most interesting. We covered a number of topics including: the great working relationship between

By Steve Fletcher and CRM Staff

Automotive Recyclers of Canada and the American Automotive Recyclers Association met with Canadian Embassy staff.

Left to right: Brad Wood, Wally Dingman, Dalbert Livingstone, David Gold, Steve Fletcher, Michael Wilson, Ed MacDonald.

ARA and ARC, obstacles and opportunities to the import and export of parts, vehicles, scrap and cores between the two countries and the need for better data exchange with the OEMs on both sides of the border. The urban-mining of vehicles for metals—ferrous, non-ferrous, platinum group, lithium, cobalt and rare earth metals was a great discussion, as both Canada and the U.S. undertake studies on resources and supply of these strategic metals. While there are obvious environmental and economic benefits to recycling these metals, both countries are looking to ensure a continental supply of the critical items and auto recyclers are a key player in ensuring these materials are made available.


The meeting concluded with a tour of the embassy and a great photo opportunity from the rooftop patio overlooking the U.S. capital. In the weeks after the event, ARA staff followed-up with many of the congressional officials who were present. According to a press release, the feedback from officials “has been overwhelmingly positive.” While Dingman shares this assessment, he is cautious that this was only a first step, not a solution to some of the challenges to cross-border transactions. “We are hoping for some follow-up. The long game is to have more seemless transactions over the border. It will benefit American recyclers as much as Canadian recyclers.” CAR


Thanks Wally Dingman! Asked to reflect on his greatest contribution to the auto recycling community, Wally Dingman, who served as the chair of OARA for eleven years, finds it difficult to provide an answer. Difficult because, as he puts it, “Everything I’ve done with OARA has been a team effort.” To be fair to him, it isn’t just humility that makes it a difficult question to answer. Dingman has –alongside fellow OARA members – certainly accomplished an immense amount. For one thing, he has made an impact on government policies. He was part of the group that successfully pushed for the enacting of ELV processor regulation that has been implemented in Ontario. He also repatriated the Car Heaven and the Cherubs database from Scout Environmental, and CAREC and Retire Your Ride from Environment Canada. He played a key role in setting up and helping to disperse more than $300,000 in environmental rebates to OARA members for capital acquisitions and improvements. He oversaw OARA’s successful charitable programs, including the Tire Take Back and the $1 million raised for the Sunshine Foundation. He helped to create the employee scholarship fund, which has raised almost $200,000 in eight years. Not only does he now serve as chair of the Auto Recyclers of Canada board of directors, but he played an important role in the founding of this magazine. For Dingman’s peers during his time on the OARA board, his humility about his accomplishments is of no concern. In fact, they honoured him with a plaque celebrating them, and many have come forward to share their thoughts on his accomplishments and leadership. “What do I feel Wally brought to OARA as a leader? Perseverance, longevity and dedication to the association and industry. Wally is a great role model for future association volunteers. OARA’s strongest accomplishment during his tenure as chair was hard work creating a sustainable and fair licensing system for an unregulated industry,” says Dom Vetere of Dom’s Auto Parts, former board member. “As a leader, Wally Dingman brought an infectious passion for the advancement of automotive recyclers and the membership of OARA.

The ARA Arrive in D.C.

ARA staff recieved feedback on the event from many of the congressional officials, which the organization describes as having been “overwhelmingly positive.


Our strongest accomplishment during Wally’s tenure as chair was attaining Regulation 85/16 under the Environmental Protection Act,” says Greg Woodbeck of Woodbeck Auto Parts and current OARA chair. “Having had the opportunity to work on the board with Wally in his early years I was fortunate enough to witness a true energetic and passionate leader at his best. Wally bled OARA and I thank him for what he was able to accomplish for all members,” says Mike Carconne of Carconne’s Auto Recycling and former board member. “Wally has one of the most analytic minds I have ever encountered. When push comes to shove, I would follow him into any battle. Wally instilled confidence in the members of the association while developing EASR. It will be our responsibility to make sure the program is kept on track, where we can still be profitable while working with the regulation,” says Mary Poirier of Valley Automotive and current board treasurer.

In April, automotive recyclers travelled to Washington, D.C., in order to participate in the annual Hill Days lobbying event. Recyclers from nearly two dozen states arrived in the U.S. capital to ask more than 60 congressional officials to assist efforts to enforce a federal law requiring automakers to provide OEM parts data for recalled parts. In the weeks after the event, ARA staff followed-up with many of the congressional officials. According to an ARA press release, the feedback from officials “has been overwhelmingly positive.” The 11th annual ARA State Legislative Summit also took place, with ARA members convening to focus on legislative activity impacting the industry at the state level. This year’s discussions were led by the governmental affairs committee chair Norman Wright of Stadium Auto Parts in Denver, Colorado.The roundtable discussion touched on everything from state association lobby days, stormwater fees and programs, to environmental regulations, unsafe used-tire legislation, detitling bills, taxation, OEM repair procedures, electronic reporting and the continuing problem of illegal dismantlers. JUNE 2018 COLLISION REPAIR  91


Steve Fletcher announces the amount raised by OARA in 2016. This year, the Tire Take Back event runs until June 22.

Ready, Set, Give! The OARA Tire Take Back event— a recycling blitz—is on. Having started on May 22, it will run until June 22. The event is being put on by the organization’s members with the support of registered tire haulers and processors. Tire Take Back both supports the environmental disposal of tires across the province and raises funds for The Sunshine Foundation of Canada.


Long-time supporters of the charity, which works to make the dreams of kids living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses a reality, OARA members donate the collection fees that they would normally receive for hauling tires. Haulers are also donating a portion of their fees.

While the average fee for a normal car or small truck tire will generate just $0.88, OARA members have not let that prevent them from generating an immense amount for the foundation. In the past eight years, the event has raised an astonishing $1,115,921 from 510,285 tires. The goal for this year is set at $54,000.


CLARITYOFVISION Explaining the changes in the ARA’s executive level and the organization’s new direction going forward By David Gold


know that the recent change of leadership at the Automotive Recyclers Association is on the minds of many of its members. With the departure of Michael E. Wilson, our faithful CEO of ten years, and the arrival of interim CEO Sandy Blalock, I understand that members have questions. Change, by nature, is always hard, especially in an organization with such a rich history. We owe Michael gratitude for his dedicated service. He led us well, and he is a man of great integrity. Yet, we have concluded that this is a time for fresh perspective. The ARA executive committee struggled to make this change, yet the tough business decision

want to commend them for doing the work that has paved a progressive path for our profession. The ARA Executive Committee is working to live up to and build on this legacy. We are a unified team with a singular goal: to ensure the association and industry thrive far beyond the years of our service. Last year, the ARA’s leadership highlighted four key strategic pillars as our focus moving forward— data access, government relations, awareness and strategic partnerships. These pillars will have time and resources divided among them based on where we can make a significant difference. We want to engage legacy members and their past experiences as we aim to promote strategic partnerships with

CHANGE, BY NATURE, IS ALWAYS HARD, ESPECIALLY IN AN ORGANIZATION WITH SUCH A RICH HISTORY was made. We expressed direction, desires and goals, and felt that progress was not being accomplished. Many of these ideas came from you, through the Automotive Recycling Forum and directly. We believe it is time to move swiftly on these ideas. The executive committee has come to rely on Sandy, who is a former auto recycler owner and has served as an ARA past president and is an ongoing and dedicated volunteer. She is also an astute legislative and industry advocate, now working with ARA staff on the transition and will help us in a search for a new ARA executive director. I want to thank members for their support during this time, and to thank Sandy for facilitating a smooth transition. Her wealth of experience, positive attitude and drive will help guide ARA in a direction of which we can all be proud. Over our 75-year history, every volunteer brought their own perspectives and skill sets, giving the organization a well-rounded voice on every issue. It is difficult to express how impressed I am by the many great minds that come together to contribute to the association. While our member-volunteers are all very busy people, I am in awe of their dedication, and especially by the dedication of past presidents, who have given five years in top-level service. I 94  COLLISION REPAIR  COLLISIONREPAIRMAG.COM

the key stakeholders that we believe will further the auto recycling community. ARA and the industry are facing challenges. Overcoming them in the current business climate will not be easy, but our members must aspire to work collaboratively. We all want to be a part of something successful, with a positive outlook for the industry and association. Certainly there are threats to the industry which are intensified by an overall lack of engagement from auto recyclers outside the association. As an organization, the ARA must tackle this apathy in a way that is as inclusive as possible. If we are seeking to have the best and brightest involved, we must get them excited about the future. I would like to let every member know that the executive committee has an open door policy. If any one of us is available to answer questions and discuss members’ thoughts, we will.

David Gold of Standard Auto Wreckers is the president of the Automotive Recyclers Association. He can be reached at 416286-8686.

Showroom darling With its 360° continuous rotation, 1.67 meter side-mounted boom elevation cylinders, tandem variable displacement hydraulic piston pump, composite material panelling and ergonomic joystick controls, the NRC 50/65 composite sliding rotator caused quite the scene when it was unveiled at the American Towman Expo in Baltimore last year. Now in Canada, that stir has—to the surprise of the staff at Eagle Towing Equipment in Cambridge, Ontario, not died down. “Everyone is really excited about it,” says Jack Poladian, who runs the NRC dealership with his father and uncle. “We have had a lot of people come in to check it out.” While it may be difficult for those outside the towing community to understand the excitement surrounding the CSR and its 3.5 m three-stage sliding boom, within the profession it is easy to understand the appeal. With a 60 tonne capacity, the NRC product seems to represent more than just the latest model—it is the harbinger of a new generation of towing technology. It does, after all, include modern conveniences that, a few decades ago, would have seemed like science fiction—from optional WIFI and Bluetooth capabilities to a fully proportional remote control system that allows for precision operations to be performed with ease. Like many next-generation products, the dazzle factor will soon wear off as the cutting-edge features begin to look commonplace, but it is important to remember that, with every advancement in towing technology, industry professionals will be better equipped to do their vital work helping people at their most vulnerable.

The NRC 50/65 composite sliding rotator doing what it does best.

Towing it up down south Flooding in the east and snow just about everywhere else— if this year’s April was anything to go by, the last concern on the minds of Canadians were the supposedly flowerbringing showers. For towing professionals looking to escape Canada’s most unpredictable month next year, the Florida Tow Show may provide the perfect excuse. To be held in the Hilton Orlando Bueno Vista Palace, the event will run from April 11-14 and feature a number of can’t-miss events—from the whimsical tow truck beauty contest to more informative addresses from leading industry analysts. One of the most hotly anticipated lectures will be delivered by Jim Shelhaas, president of Ranger SST, a company working on next-generation GPS mapping software specifically for towers. The conference will

Keynote speaker Jim Shelhaas. As president of Ranger SST, he will speak about his work on a new tower-focused GPS mapping software.

also look at the more human aspects of the towing professional’s lifestyle, with a speech and roundtable discussion addressing the most haunting aspect of the job—the emotional upheaval caused by the loss of a driver.


The Hilton Orlando Bueno Vista Palace (in February).

With many of the panels already booked up, those interested in attending would be wise to book sooner rather than later. Registrations can be done online at, or over the phone at 855-757-4984. AUGUST 2013  COLLISION REPAIR  96





3D Canada ..................................... 18 AkzoNobel......................................... 5 ARSLAN .......................................... 71 Assured Automotive........................ 20 Auto Quip ....................................... 64 Axalta............................................. BC BETAG ........................................... 61 Canadian Hail Repair...................... 66 Car-O-Liner..................................... 50 12 Carcone’s Auto Recycling...............92 Cardinal Couriers.............................86 CARSTAR Canada...........................33 CIIA..................................................16 Collision 360...................................30 Color Compass..............................54 Dominion Sure Seal ..................... 74 Equalizer.........................................26 Eurovac.......................................... 87 Finixa.............................................. 28 Fix Auto Canada............................. 56 Formula Honda................................ 7 Garmat............................................ 22 GFS................................................ 59 Hollander........................................52 Honda............................................ 42 IBIS.................................................40 Impact Auto Auctions................... 89 Kia.................................................... 9 LKQ................................................ 93 Martech.......................................... 88 Mitchell International ................... 77 NACE.............................................. 46 Polyvance...................................... 58 PPG Canada.................................. 2,3 ProSpot.......................................... 84 RBL ................................................ 68 SATA Canada.................................. 41 Sherwin Williams........................... 85 Stark.............................................. 99 Steck............................................. 65 Symach......................................... 25 Thorold.......................................... 23 Tiger.............................................. 19 Transtar......................................... 63 Valspar.......................................... 11 Wedgeclamp................................ 10 Wurth............................................ 45

Our country’s global collision conquest By Jeff Sanford


n most ways, we are a humble nation, a place where peace, order and good government have reigned, with our international ambitions keeping us happily in the back seat of Britain’s car—with the U.S. often doing the driving. But when it comes to the collision repair industry, we have very much taken the world by storm. The Canadian industry has evolved to become one distingusihed by a remarkable level of professionalism and sophistication. Shops cultivate artful brands and run efficient operations. Large organizations such as Boyd or CARSTAR operate with a financial and technical acumen that would barely be recognized by the generations that pioneered the industry. An industry once made up of local independent shops is now organized along national and continental lines. Could the next phase of evolution in the industry be the emergence of a Canadian-based global collision repair brand? One has to ask the question in the wake of a recent announcement from Quebec-based Fix Auto. Not only has the company expanded across Canada to become a nationally recognized brand, but the organization seems focused on an even more ambitious goal in mind—becoming the first truly global collision repair brand. In 2016, Fix Auto CEO Steve Leal and global head of business David Lingham journeyed through Australia looking for to build partnerships with local repairers, and today have a network of ten franchises down under. The latest step in this journey is the recent announcement that Fix Auto has hired Stuart Faid to oversee operations in China, Australia and New Zealand as the head of business for Asia-Pacific.  Who would have thought a Canadian collision repair brand would end up being one of the first to develop a truly global corporate brand? Canadian firms looking towards China have benefited from the fact that much of China has taken up a North American-like car-based lifestyle. Through the early 2000s, China built a national highway system for a population that is, basically, five times that of the U.S. The country is now the single


largest auto market in the world. So large is the demand that Beijing has had to cap the number of new driver’s licenses handed out daily at 1,000. With more than 180 Fix Auto China locations signed in just over a year, it is no wonder that Fix Auto is looking to continue growing in this market. China is now the biggest market for GM, a company once called the powerhouse of America. No wonder Fix is chasing that market. There are other opportunities that Canadian firms would do well to consider. One of the most intriguing is Saudi Arabia. The reform-minded crown prince has finally eased prohibitions against women driving. A royal decree was passed in September that will see women allowed behind the wheel beginning in June. Overnight, 15 million people will suddenly be able to take driving lessons, buy cars and search out auto insurance. In a bid to get ready for the sudden influx of female drivers, women -only driving schools have popped up. In some cases North American women are travelling to the country to offer their skills in this spanking new market. Seminars are being held that help women understand the basics of car maintenance. In mid-May, the first auto insurance claims centre for women opened its door. It is a remarkable time for a Canadian collision repairer to embark on a global adventure. Saudi Arabia wasn’t mentioned in the Fix Auto press release as a country that will be targeted by the company. But it is interesting to note that one of its latest appointments in April was that of Harry Dhanjal, who will not only focus on developing OEM relationships for the brand, but will be responsible for exploring strategic development opportunities in India and the Middle East. It will be fascinating to watch as Fix continues forging ahead in the global collision repair market. Jeff Sanford is a staff writer at Collision Repair magazine. He can be reached at

Collision Repair Magazine 17#3  
Collision Repair Magazine 17#3