A Forum to Remember: CCIF’s home run in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario — The Canadian Collision Industry Forum held its annual conference and vendor showcase in Toronto last week, which saw more than 750 attendees and 54 exhibitors.

CCIF Toronto 2020 kicked off on Thursday with a vendor showcase from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The booths of 54 exhibitors lit up the show floor as attendees witnessed product demonstrations, indulged in a catered dinner featuring cured meats, gourmet sandwiches and sushi, and networked with colleagues inside Mississauga’s International Centre.

The festivities were re-ignited on Friday morning as CCIF attendees were welcomed with a massive breakfast spread and more time on the tradeshow floor.

At 8:30 a.m., CCIF Director Caroline Lacasse took to the stage to deliver her welcoming address, where she asked the crowd a series of questions to gather data on how this year’s conference was received by attendees.

“Of course, we always need feedback to improve. We call this The Voice,” Lacasse said with a laugh, referring to the hit reality singing show.

Paul Prochilo, chairman for the CCIF Steering Committee, then took to the stage to deliver his welcoming address, touching on topics like OEM certifications, technology in the industry, recent disruptions and cycle times.

“As CCIF chairman, my vision for the next two years is to provide the same mission-critical data that we’ll be exposed to today, as well as to arm all of our attendees with practical solutions for collision centres to execute in their businesses,” said Prochilo. “Our goal is to ensure that CCIF attendees are not just managing change, but to ensure that we are leading change.”

Prochilo also welcomed Nick Dominato, Canadian sales and business development representative for AsTech, to the Steering Committee. Dominato will fill the young leader position, which is new to the Steering Committee this year.

“Above and beyond his standard duties as a CCIF Steering Committee member, Nick will act as a liaison and representative of all young leaders in the collision repair industry,” said Prochilo.

After Prochilo’s address, the former CCIF chairman, Patrice Marcil, took to the stage to discuss CCIF’s endeavours in the past few years, highlighting the efforts of industry-education connection. Marcil outlined education initiatives for 2020, which include instructor development via a series of training seminars. He also discussed upcoming workforce recruitment and retention operations, which will involve ongoing surveys to students, school visits and career days, as well as promotional videos on different careers in the collision repair field, adding that these videos are available on CCIF.ca and can be branded with your company logo to attract talent to your facility.

Marcil also announced that CCIF will issue three scholarships this year⁠—one at each of its events, in Western Canada, Central Canada and Eastern Canada⁠—valued at $1,000 each.

Attendees got a brief break after Marcil’s address before International Bodyshop Industry Symposium director Jason Moseley focused on international issues and the global collision repair market, highlighting Canada’s position versus the European, U.S. and other global markets.

Moseley also discussed control versus collaboration, where he discussed ways for collision repair facilities to collaborate with insurers and OEMs on things like labour rates, parts and paints discounts, joint branding and quality control.

Other speeches touched on topics that, while less directly connected to the collision repair industry, raised issues of paramount importance to repairers.

Craig Dowden’s What Makes People Tick? discussed some ways for business owners to better understand their staff, sharing insightful tips on how to evaluate your interactions with both staff and customers.

CCIF guests also listened as Justin Jakubiak, one of the few Ontario lawyers whose practice focuses on automotive and dealership law, with a long history of working for dealerships, repairers and mechanics throughout the province, discussed how collision repairers could protect their businesses from unnecessary legal liability stemming from their work.

Steve Trapp, the North America Services Manager for Axalta Coating Systems, delivered a workshop on how to drive for 45 percent gross profits.

One of the automotive aftermarkets best-known management experts, Trapp now manages nine strategic account managers across the U.S. and Canada. A former vice president at ABRA, he joined Axalta in 2009, where he has played a leading role in writing its management training curriculum, develop innovative e-Learning modules, refined their performance management tool, and other services.

After a round of Test Your Knowledge with Centennial College’s Daniel Chudy, Paul Prochilo returned to the stage to deliver his closing remarks.

Check out Collision Repair’s photos from CCIF Toronto below⁠—and be sure to stay tuned this week for a ton of video content from the conference!

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