CARSTAR shows ‘Détermination’ at 2014 Industry Conference

Michael Macaluso, COO of CARSTAR, and Sam Mercanti, CEO and President, on stage during the first day of the conference. See the gallery below for nearly 200 photos from the event!  

Quebec City, Quebec — August 18, 2014 — A great idea counts for a lot, but it takes determination to see it through. The theme of “Détermination” ran throughout the annual CARSTAR Industry Conference, which took place at the Hilton Hotel in Quebec City, Que. The conference ran August 13 to 15, 2014.

This event marked CARSTAR’s most successful Industry Conference to date, as judged by attendance. The event was attended by over 600 industry stakeholders, including representatives of CARSTAR’s partners from insurance and the vendor community.

“This conference was our largest ever, and I think the theme of ‘Détermination’ really helped to draw our franchise partners,” says Michael Macaluso, COO of CARSTAR Automotive Canada. “We’re determined to capitalize on change, and people really took to the idea of using change as a springboard to transform the business.”

The choice of destination itself reflects CARSTAR’s significant growth in Quebec over the past year. The network currently stands at 215 locations across Canada, with over 25 percent of those locations being in Quebec.


The CARSTAR Industry Conference started on Wednesday August 13 with CARSTAR’s Grand Promenade for Cystic Fibrosis, with representatives of CARSTAR’s corporate team, stores, and partners walking 4 km in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The Grand Promenade route wrapped around the National Historic and World Heritage site of “la Citadelle de Québec” and the Plains of Abraham. The event had a good turnout raising over $7,000 for Cystic Fibrosis , despite extremely heavy rain during portions of the walk.

The conference continued in the afternoon with pre-conference breakout sessions: Effective Succession Planning – How To Get It Right, and Retail Driven Diversification – A New Frontier.

The official Opening Ceremonies took place at 4:00 p.m., with opening remarks by Matt Bell, CARSTAR Automotive Canada’s Director of Human Resources. Macaluso and Sam Mercanti, President & CEO, were next to take the stage, with the discussion focusing on the strategic plans for the CARSTAR network.

“We’re very excited about the future,” says Macaluso. “We understand the changes that are impacting the industry, and we’re completely focused on growth within Canada. We see tremendous opportunity in the business, and we’ve laid the framework for the next 10 years of growth. This is a very exciting time for our franchise partners and for us.”

Artist, entrepreneur and activist David Usher served as the keynote address for the first day, speaking on core creativity. Perhaps best known as the frontman for alternative rock band Moist, Usher is also the founder of Cloudid Creativity Labs, a company working on a range of innovate projects.

The first day of the conference closed with a reception dubbed “Carnaval de CARSTAR,” taking place at Espace Dalhousie – Le Terminal. 

The second day of the CARSTAR Industry Conference opened with an update from David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR US, who informed attendees on the accomplishments of the CARSTAR brand south of the border.

Chris Moore followed with “Capitalizing on the Changing Face of Marketing.” Moore is National Marketing Manager for CARSTAR Automotive Canada. Matt Bell again took the stage, this time to deliver remarks on sustainability, before surrendering the podium to Shawn McDonald, CARSTAR’s National Director Insurance, who spoke on insurance relations and the OEM.

The CARSTAR Industry Conference always features top guest speakers from outside the company, and this year was no exception. Sean Carey of SGC Management Consultants was the final speaker during the Thursday morning session, and his presentation on the connect car and its effect on the claims process kept the crowd focused and engaged.

The remainder of the morning was devoted to breakout sessions with various insurance partners. Immediately following, the CARSTAR Business Partner and Technical Expo opened its doors, showcasing offerings from many of CARSTAR’s key vendors.

The final day of the conference kicked off the following morning with Dr. Nick Bontis, who spoke on “Leadershifting our Determination.” It would be an understatement to say that attendees were receptive to Dr. Bontis’ presentation. It’s rare that business speakers receive standing ovations, but that is precisely what happened in this case. The presentation so energized the crowd that they were left with little recourse but to rise to their feet.

Rounding out the formal presentations were Colson Cole, National Director Operations for CARSTAR, on “Managing Your Score for Success,” followed by a panel discussion with insurance partners. More insurance breakout sessions followed after a short break.

More breakout sessions followed lunch, but this time the sessions were focused on operations and customer service. The sessions were led by CARSTAR’s operations specialists, refinish partners, and CARSTAR’s National Technical Manager, Bill Davidge.

The CARSTAR Industry Conference concluded with the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Palais Foyer and Ballroom. The evening followed the theme of “Le Dîner en Blanc,” a celebration of fun, food, and friendship.

The recipients of the 2014 CARSTAR Awards include:

– CARSTAR’s Customer Experience Award – CARSTAR Elmira (Rudow’s), CARSTAR Fergus (Giles) and CARSTAR St. Catharines.

– Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Top Fundraisers – CARSTAR Mississauga 401, CARSTAR Woodbridge Appraisal Centre, CARSTAR North Bay, CARSTAR Edmonton West, CARSTAR Calgary Okotoks, CARSTAR Ancaster, CARSTAR St. Catharines, CARSTAR Markham, CARSTAR Red Deer and CARSTAR Kitchener King Street.

– CARSTAR’s White Knight Award – Mark Kharfan & Brian Grover from CARSTAR Kharfan Group in Alberta, France Choinière from CARSTAR Arsenualt Granby and George & Donna Fischtner from CARSTAR St. Thomas.

– CARSTAR’s Distinguished Service Award – Sam Saccoia from CARSTAR Toronto Dovercourt (Nick’s), Mississauga Hawkestone, Express Toronto Eastern Avenue and Express Mississauga Dundas.

– Matthew Ohrnstein Lifetime Achievement Award – Chris Stathonokis from CARSTAR Calgary CMD and Sam Mercanti from CARSTAR Automotive Canada.

– CARSTAR’s 2014 President’s Club Award – CARSTAR Lethbridge, CARSTAR Uxbridge, CARSTAR Beauceville, CARSTAR Miramichi, CARSTAR Chelmsford, Sudbury Regent and South, and CARSTAR Kharfan Group from Alberta.

Awards were also given to stores celebrating their fifth year, tenth year and fifteenth year in business.

The next CARSTAR Industry Conference will take place in Orlando, Florida, specifically at Disney World. This also marks the 20th anniversary of CARSTAR Automotive Canada.

“This will be our first time holding our conference outside of Canada, but it’s always been a very family-centric organization, so Disney fits the bill,” says Macaluso. “More importantly, Disney World is truly the global epicenter of top-notch customer service. This will help us build right into our ongoing determination to serve customers the very best way we can.”

For more information, please visit carstar.ca.


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