BY DARRYL SIMMONS
Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Just in the blink of an eye, a fifth of a century blasted by. They say print is dead, but what you hold in your hands now just cannot be duplicated with pixels on screens. After working in the corporate business world for a decade or so, I got bored and found myself the owner of a bodyshop—and I mean bodyshop, not by a longshot a collision repair facility.
After a year or so my wife gently coerced me back to the non-afterspray primer workplace, but I never gave up my dream of having a magazine dedicated to collision repair and the professionals who were sorely misrepresented by mainstream media. My goal was to have a magazine that celebrated the trade—ahem, profession. A magazine dedicated to showcasing the talent, intelligence and business acumen of those transitioning the industry from bodyshops to collision repair facilities. Along the way I’ve been honoured to meet and befriend dozens upon dozens of the top business leaders in this industry from across the country and the globe.
One of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced as an editor and publisher was picking photos for this issue. First off, we have more than 50,000 photos taken over the past 20 years. Chances are that if you were at an event, you are in our photo albums on Flickr. You start looking at them and get drawn in. Before you know it, hours have gone by and you’ve selected more than a hundred, when there was only room of a few dozen. So, as publisher, I made an executive decision to add more pages so we could add more photos. After all, that is what we as a magazine are known for and have been from the beginning. Since we couldn’t get them all in print, we have provided links to see our galleries online—simply pull out your phone camera and scan the QR codes handily pointed out on our gallery pages, or visit www.flickr. com/photos/40043123@N05/
If we can humbly claim any success, it is because we stood on the shoulders of the industry leaders that made Canada’s collision repair industry the ideal role model across the world. We’ve been honoured to be able to report as Canada took the spotlight on the global stage due to the vision and dedication of Corporate leaders and trailblazers such as Sam Mercanti, Steve Leal, Eric Danberg, Des D’Silva, Julio Bruno, Tony Canade and Michael Macaluso.
And then there are the global thought leaders and facility owners who pioneered the transformation from bodyshops to collision repair facilities: Lorenzo D’Allessandro, Sharon Wells, Ken Friesen, Tom Bissonette, Kelvin Campbell, Dana Alexander, Peter Woo, Jay Perry, Roland Taube…the list goes on and on.
This is also a time to remember those who are no longer with us, but whose influence remains. Rick Berg from 3M, John Norris from CIAG, Denis Bellemore from NAPA and none more entrenched than the infamous Sam Piercey who perched Budds’ Collision at the leading edge and kept readers informed and entertained with his column, Point Blank. Speaking of Sam, the best column he ever wrote was a simple headline and three words. How to Work with Insurers: Just say no!
We would not be able to do what we do without the support of manufacturers, suppliers and distributors who trusted us with their marketing budgets to keep you constantly updated as to what’s new and exciting in equipment, supplies and training.
Collision Repair magazine wouldn’t be anywhere close to having the impact it has had, without the driving force, passion and personality of Gloria Mann. I know that and appreciate the fact every single day. So, hats off to you Gloria, looking forward to another couple of decades with your unbridled passion.
Without getting too sentimental, a sincere thank-you. Here’s to all of you who toil and sweat daily in the facilities across the country. Thanks for letting me into your business and sometimes into your lives. I will be forever grateful for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream. What a ride. We couldn’t have done it without you!