Collision Repair 17#1
MICHEL AND VALERIE VERRONEAU
FIX AUTO SHERBROOKE EAST
Since Valérie Véronneau, owner of Fix Auto’s Coaticook and Sherbrook East shop locations in Quebec was last featured on the cover, the shop has surmounted some impressive milestones.
Like her father, Michel Verroneau, who was one of the first ten repairers to operate under the fix brand, Valérie is making waves in the banner.
In 2018, Véronneau became the first Fix Auto franchise partner to have Fix Auto, NOVUS Glass and Speedy Auto Service under the same roof. “It feels good,” she says, “but it is also kind of scary because it is so new.”
Adding Speedy to the mix changes things up, she says. “It changes the way we can interact with customers and will attract more frequent clients.”
She also added the brand to her Fix Auto Coaticook and Sherbrooke East locations, becoming the first franchise partner to offer all three of the aftermarket services.
Collision Repair 17#3
CARSTAR FREDERICTON AND CARSTAR FREDERICTON NORTH
Steve Knox says his proudest moment in the industry was the day he opened his second facility as general manager of CARSTAR Fredericton North. “We had about two years worth of planning underway, in all,” said Knox.
The only way to mark the July 2019 grand opening was with extraordinary grandeur. Knox had face painting, balloon animals and a clown on site, plus all of the impressive Symach tech on the bodyshop floor. “The facility is about 930 sq. m. (10,000 sq. ft.). It has six repair stalls, an area for the paint prep that holds four cars simultaneously, and they all move sideways through the shop. We have sideloading booth that’s a phenomenal system. We’ve been really happy with it all.”
With his roster of talent, tools and a positive attitude behind him, Knox is prepped to tackle the future of the trade, including arming his staff with the training and tactics they need to do what’s best for the business.
“I heard it said once that qualification should supersede any certification, and that holds truth. You need to make sure your staff know what they are doing and how to do it right, you need the right equipment and to ensure you’re using the proper OEM procedures. And, of course, that you’re charging for what you do. Document your steps and make certain you can back up every penny you ask for.
“And, of course, run a good, quality business, and it will look after itself.”
Collision Repair 17#4
There are certain benefits that come along with being an independent collision repair shop that people don’t necessarily tell you about. There’s one benefit that particularly appeals to Peter Sziklai of Tsawwassen Collision: the freedom to speak his mind. “Some may call it an independent streak,” Peter said in his August 2018 interview with Collision Repair, “but I think I might just be stubborn. “I think the team would agree.”
It’s safe to say that Peter has earned the right to voice his opinion on how the industry should grow, especially considering his past life was in the industry of growing.“I happen to know quite a lot about the genetics of forest trees, seedling production and nursery development and management, so if, 35 years ago, you wanted a greenhouse design that could produce 3-5 million seedlings a year, then I was the guy,” Peter remarked jokingly. But Peter truly does have the best intentions and wants to see dialogues open up more around repairs so that the industry can be more on the same page as procedures become more and more complex and specialized.
“There are so many factors involved in moving ahead, but they have much less to do with fixing a car properly than you would think. It’s still a matter of relationships and those relationships do not hinge on the car being fixed properly,” Peter said in our follow-up interview with him last December. “There is a huge block between the manufacturer’s wishes and the repairers wishes, and that block is the dealership.” Peter said he hopes to see better co-operation between OEMs, dealers and repairers in the future.
Collision Repair 17#5
FORT ROUGE AUTO CENTER
Mike Kilmury, the shop manager at Fort Rouge Auto Center says, out of all the jobs he’s had in the industry, he’s proudest of his current role and achievements.In a previous role in the aftermarket, Kilmury was asked where he saw himself in the industry. He half-jokingly told his manager at the time, “sitting in your chair.”“It’s all worked out,” said Kilmury. “I’ve put my mind to things and earned my role as manager.”
A hands-on manager, at that; Kilmury also handles shop foreman duties on the day-to-day, he says.The bodyshop has been busy gathering OEM certifications since Kilmury’s appearance on the cover in 2018, and he maintains that certifications will only become more important as vehicle complexity increases. “With how quickly vehicles are changing, I think training is going to be something to really focus on even more than we are now going forward,” he said.
Collision Repair 17#6
Jason Tanguay is not your average auto shop manager. For someone who has had his hands on cars since the age of four, the Star Motors manager says that what sets him apart is he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
“I still get on the floor, I still get my hands dirty and I still ruin all my new suits,” says Tanguay, who has held a variety of bodyshop roles in his career.
“I’ve done the painting, the prepping, the buffing, detailing, writing estimates, production management—you name it. And here I am now, managing a shop.” Checking in with Tanguay since he was on the cover in 2018, he says he is proud of everything he has accomplished in the industry and is looking forward to finishing out his career right where he is.
“It’s going to be the last job I have,” he says. “I’ll stick this one out until retirement.”