In my time with Media Matters and Collision Repair mag, the best part of my job was trekking around to different shops with Gloria Mann—a true force of nature. She’s exclamatory. She’d sworn off swearing but still somehow managed to make “sugarplum!” sound profane. She’d take calls as we made our way toward Mississauga or Niagara and I’d realize how many threads she was keeping track of at once. She knew everyone’s birthdays, everyone’s kids’ names, what paint they used and how far along they were in upgrading their systems. She especially knew all the times they’d been in the magazine—in ads or in the stories.
When we’d get to our destination, learning the intricacies behind shops was always fascinating; and I am forever grateful at how patient everyone was explaining the details to me. No two were alike — every business reflected the owner and team differently. No matter how well-prepared I was though, I’d learn more when I came with Gloria. Everyone was in a better mood after saying hi to her, and it seemed like everyone had a lot of time to take me through the details after.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been 20 years since Collision Repair magazine sent out its first issue. We’ve all seen a lot of changes in that time. Personally, when I started with the magazine, I was single and childless. Today my wife and I have four children, the oldest of which is about to start university.
I learned a tremendous amount from the collision repair industry. Very little of what I learned was about cars or body repair. Instead, I picked up lessons about the value of hard work, thoroughness and why it’s important to always look beyond the surface.
I have a lot of difficulty imagining a scenario where I produce writing so poor that it injures or kills someone. You folks in the collision repair industry must deal with this possibility daily. This has taught me three things: first, it’s essential to check your own work. The second is that you need someone else to look it over as well. A second set of eyes may spot something you missed. Third, details that seem unimportant may be literally life-changing for someone.
Even when your work doesn’t involve a lot of safety issues, you still need to take it seriously. For someone, somewhere, that work is the whole world. If you discover that your work has no impact on anyone… then it’s probably time to find a job where you can contribute instead of just filling time. Let’s just say you can take the boy out of the collision repair industry, but you can’t take the collision repair industry out of the boy.
“It was an honour to serve as the editor of Collision Repair magazine. When I first took on the role in 2018, I’ll admit I had no idea what I was in for. For one thing, I did not know how dynamic and complex the automotive aftermarket was. Fortunately for me, individuals across the automotive aftermarket made themselves readily available, helping me come to terms with my new beat.
It was the privilege of my career to work with and learn from the collision industry’s many talented repair professionals, visionary industry educators and innovative business leaders. Their support and dedication to the good of the collision sector is the key factor in the success of Collision Repair magazine.”