By Mike Davey
Napanee, Ontario -- February 26, 2016 -- Keystone Automotive held a clinic recently in Napanee, Ontario that should make anyone interested in the future of the industry sit up and take notice.
The clinic itself wasn’t that unusual. Representatives of SEM Products and DeVilbiss demonstrated new products to members of the collision industry. This information is always useful, but these clinics are fairly common across the country. What makes this one stand out is the setting.
Craig Sindall is the auto body instructor at Napanee District Secondary School. Vendor-led clinics usually take place at a local collision repair facility. This one took place in his classroom. It isn’t the first event like this his school has hosted.
“We’ve hosted two I-CAR events after school hours, which my students have had the opportunity to attend and really enjoyed,” says Sindall. “Students weren’t able to make it to the clinic, unfortunately, as the school was closed because of the weather. It was still a great event.”
Perry Clark works with the local Keystone outlet. He points out that holding events like this at the school has benefits for both shop owners and the students.
“The students get to learn about the latest advances in our industry, as well as meeting local shop owners,” Clark says. “In turn, the shop owners get to come out and meet the students who might be working for them some day.”
Keystone has helped out the program by hosting this event, and by donating products and parts. This was the first clinic hosted at the school, but Clark has indicated that it won’t be the last.
“We’re going to start doing these every month or so. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our products and the school at the same time,” he says.
Dan Dominato of LKQ/Keystone conducted the SEM Products demo.
"We focused on a new OEM refinish system for rad supports, parts, cut-ins and jams that utilizes aerosol technology to eliminate mixing paint and cleaning spray guns," he says. "It enables technicians to refinish on the shop floor or prep stations increasing cycle time and reducing cost." You can see more this system in the video below.
All across the country, high school auto body programs are falling by the wayside. The program at Napanee District Secondary School, and others like it, should be supported by the industry. Luckily, members of the industry are showing their support.
“I’d like to thank Gord Wry from Axalta for a huge donation for materials,” says Sindall. “Support from companies like Axalta and Keystone, and people like Gord and Perry, helps to bring an outside connection to the industry into my classroom. It makes a huge difference for the students in my classes and hopefully the future tradespeople we so urgently require in the industry.”