Discovery Day: Tropicana’s annual event goes digital

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Tropicana Community Services hosted its annual Discovery Day for its Auto Body Collision and Damage Repair Pre-Apprenticeship class of 2020 on Friday, which featured nearly three hours of thoughtful information and presentations from industry experts at 3M, Akzonobel and CARSTAR. 

This year, given the current COVID circumstances, Tropicana’s Discovery Day was hosted online. Representatives from AkzoNobel, 3M Canada and CARSTAR Canada joined Suad Dualeh, Tropicana’s pre-apprenticeship program coordinator to host engaging presentations for the 20-strong class of 2020.

AkzoNobel, which helped organize the online event, kicked off the day with a tour of its offices. Led by Randy Hearn, technical consultant, Dave Woolley, account manager, and Pat Ryan, service consultant, the tour showed students the company’s office space, its coveted paint swatch wall and gave a closer look at products like 3M’s colour-matching Sun Gun.

“We cannot see colour the same way this does,” Hearn told the class, holding the product up for them to see. “It uses light refraction. You just place it on the panel and it seals off all the surrounding light, it measures the colour at three different angles and tells you the paint’s attributes. It takes your eyes out of the equation and strictly uses science to match.”

Following AkzoNobel’s presentation, 3M Account Manager Peter Wrong took over to outline 3M’s footprint in the aftermarket industry and teach the students about the importance of proper PPE in the bodyshop.

At Tropicana’s Discovery Day, students will typically be fitted for and receive their own 3M respirators. While in-person interactions are not possible at the moment, Wrong said each student would receive a respirator when the pandemic has passed and the students can be properly fitted for PPE.

“That means you’ll have to shave that beard to get a proper fit,” joked Wrong, referring to one of the student participants and his impressive facial hair. 

Following the safety talk, CARSTAR National Performance Zone Director Marty Smith began his presentation on blueprinting and estimation in the bodyshop, outlining the importance of diagnostic scanning and methods of blueprinting a vehicle for the students.

Following his presentation, the class had a few questions for Smith.

“What’s the most important quality in a body technician?” asked one student.

“Nowadays, it’s really the ability to constantly improve and show that you want to learn more,” said Smith. “The industry is rapidly changing and we’re always adapting, so proving your passion is important.”

Tropicana was thrilled with the success of its digital event, and thanks all those involved for their participation.

On behalf of Tropicana, we wanted to thank everyone that made today possible and taking time out of your busy schedule to organize today’s virtual session,” said the organization. “We are so grateful to be part of an amazing community, thank you for inspiring our students by sharing your personal journey in the collision industry and your presentation insights to the industry.”

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