Collision Repair 2#1



Ken Friesen sold his four auto body shops to Boyd Autobody and Glass in 2017 and has now retired from the automotive industry, but that doesn’t stop him from reminiscing about his long career and all of the successes that came with it. Friesen says that his proudest moment is one that only him and one other Canadian can share.

“I was inducted into the Hall of Eagles, which is run out of the U.S., and only Glen Hickey from Newfoundland and I are part of this whole thing,” said Friesen, who was inducted into the Hall of Eagles in 1999. The plaque he was given reads: “In recognition of exemplary leadership, dedication and outstanding contribution towards the betterment of the collision industry.”

Friesen was also very involved with the inception of CCIF and was the chairman for the first three years. Now that he is happily retired, Friesen enjoys his free time by playing with his hot rods and classic cars, travelling and renovating

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After speaking to Liam Finan, vice president of operations at MTB Transit Collision — what used to be B&B Auto Collision — it was clear a lot has changed from the name to the business itself.

Over the last 10 years, MTB Transit Collision has completely transitioned the business to focus on bus repair and refurbishment. “Now we strictly repair busses,” says Finan. Headquartered in Milton, Ontario, MTB provides refurbishments, repairs, OEM upgrades, modifications and warranties, as well as sells and leases busses.

Having completed work on nearly 3,000 buses, no one in Canada has repaired or refurbished more buses than MTB. Finan says the future of the bus industry specifically is a little different than that of the automotive industry, however, he says some parallels exist — such as the move towards electrification. For the bus industry alone, he says: “I definitely think the industry is only going to get larger. Public transportation is going to be the way of the future.”

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Wherever Tony Canade goes, hard work and success are sure to follow in tow. Canade’s story is nothing short of a spectacular whirlwind. After graduating from post-secondary, Canade held a brief stint at an accounting firm before teaming up with his cousins Nick and Sandy Liguori; the co-owners of CCS Woodchester Collision. The Liguoris served as phenomenal mentors at the start of his career, says Canade.From Woodchester, Canade had the opportunity to join Oaktown Collision as the vice-president of operations in 2002.

A mere three years later, the business merged with another local company, Imperial Collision Centres, prompting the launch of Assured Automotive in 2005. One of the biggest updates since Tony Canade’s 2003 cover is the fact that Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Boyd Group Services acquire Assured Automotive.The transaction closed in 2017 and saw Boyd acquired Assured for $193.6 million. Canade now serves as the COO for Boyd Group’s Canadian operations.

Canade is not one to take all the credit, though: he tells Collision Repair the deal would have never happened if it weren’t for the support of the entire Assured team.“We’ve been so fortunate to grow our organization but to also watch our staff grow. Watching some of our staff join us in entry-level positions before moving up to managing stores—even regions or markets—it’s just an incredible sight to see.“When we sold to Boyd, we were one of the largest corporate-owned collision repair organizations in North America—that’s quite a proud moment—but we really wouldn’t have been able to do that without the staff that were on the journey with us.”

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If Bob Porter could advise his younger self, the message would be simple – run a straight ship and treat others fairly. That’s precisely how Porter has operated Fix Auto Aurora, a busy collision repair facility he opened in 1999. The camaraderie has kept it fun, with Porter recalling the days when clients tossed their keys down, grabbed a coffee, and left trusting a good job would be done.

That hasn’t changed, though there’s now a Tim Horton’s drive thru window on site.“I enjoy the client interaction,” says Porter, a Red Seal technician, who also operated two other facilities in the past. “They’re a second family.”Porter considers Fix Auto the industry’s top consolidator and he has created an excellent work environment, mandating “repair over replace.” He considers himself a coworker, not the boss, to six full-time staff who have each been employed at least 13 years. Porter shows his sincere appreciation with an annual overnight staff Christmas party at Deerhurst, and summer barbeques.“When I was brought up, I was led by example,” Porter says.

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Leanne Jefferies, vice president of Assured Performance Network/Certified Collision Care and Skills Canada Collision Repair program director has a long history with Collision Repair magazine. In fact, she was the first woman to ever be featured on our cover back in 2003.

18 years later, she is still making waves in the industry. So much so, Jefferies was recognized as a Most Influential Woman (MIW) in collision repair in 2014 by the Women’s Industry Network.

“This was a great honour, to be recognized by my industry for making a difference,” she said. Jefferies has watched the industry change and evolve over the course of her career. “The biggest changes over the past ten years are twofold: first, the vehicle technology and the increased technical capability of repairers—which in large part has happened and still is happening—in response to OEM certification.

“The other big change is the number of females entering our industry. This change has been very noticeable at Skills Canada competitions, where ten years ago there were no female technicians competing, to today, where many events have 50 percent female competitors,” she said.

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Bill Williams has spent 36 years in the collision repair industry. What still drives Richmond Chrysler’s body shop manager is the challenge to do a good job. “We have a team-based environment,” says Williams. “We also have an excellent customer base and lots of referrals.”

The 5000-square foot space is the lone body shop in Richmond Auto Mall. About half of the work now is on Chrysler vehicles, while other local dealerships also entrust the shop to restore vehicles to their pre-collision state. Williams says a few changes have made a difference over the years. The implementation of teams has improved workflow, and two years ago, they were the first shop in Canada to introduce CarBeat. The company’s involvement with AkzoNobel’s body shop performance group has also provided tremendous support.

“The group is now across Canada so you’re around successful shops, with great ideas,” says Williams. “That reenergizes me.” Williams is looking ahead. He and some longtime, loyal staff are preparing for retirement in the coming years. “We’ve been able to retain staff,” says Williams. “The challenge will be to leave it in good hands.”

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