By Mike Davey
Hamilton, Ontario -- July 25, 2016 -- It is with great regret that we must report the passing of one of the collision repair industry’s titans. Sam Piercey, co-owner of Budds’ Collision in Oakville, Ont., passed away on July 24, 2016, as a result of complications arising due to leukemia.
Sam was well-known in the industry for his strong opinions and his willingness to voice them, both in person and through his regular column in Collision Repair magazine, Point Blank with Piercey.
J.R. Martino has been with Budds' Collision for just over three years. He first "met" Sam through his column.
"I found myself agreeing with everything he said," Martino says. "I went and visited him at one point and we spent the whole night talking about the industry. At the time, he was looking for someone to start managing the day-to-day operations, someone who shared the same views and would run the operation the same way he would. Sam was that person that you would never have to ask for anything from because he wouldn’t stop giving. Advice, time, love, etc. Under his rough exterior was a heart of gold. He will always be my mentor, hero and best friend."
A tireless fighter for the collision industry, Sam was never afraid to speak his mind, no matter the topic. He was an early adopter of practices like lean processes and Six Sigma. His facility, Budds’ Collision, was always on the cutting edge of technology. The facility was the first in Canada to install a full aluminum room. For many years, whenever an aluminum Jaguar was damaged anywhere in Canada, it was sent to Budds’ for repair. They were considered by the manufacturer to be the only facility with the right equipment and training. Other repairers gained the capability over the following years, thanks in no small part to Sam’s encouragement.
"Sam was a stalwart of the industry who could always be counted on for real information and solutions," says Harry Dhanjal of BASF. "He could also always be counted on to raise your spirits with a joke or two. You always knew where you stood with Sam."
He was a mentor to many in the industry. A frequent and long-time member of various performance groups, Sam always took the time to talk with even the greenest and least experienced of shop owners and technicians. It would be appropriate to say that he considered everyone in the industry to be his brothers and sisters.
One of many to have benefitted from his brilliance over the past few decades, Kelvin Campbell, owner of CSN-Chapman Auto Body in Halifax, Nova Scotia, says he isn't sure the collision repair industry is ready for a world without Sam Piercey.
"Sam was a real champion to the entire collision repair industry - he wasn't only completely ahead of his time, he was ahead of everybody's time," Campbell said. "With the changes to the industry coming so thick and fast, everyone is going to feel this loss on a professional level. On a personal level I knew Sam for 13 years, and, whether you loved him or not, he was just a great, genuine guy."
It's hard to imagine Canada's collision repair industry without Sam Piercey.
"People on the collision repair scene used to have this saying - BASF, Better Ask Sam First. It was so true - whenever I had a question or a query, Sam was always the first person I would call. He was always there for his friends. He was always there for the industry. He's going to be missed immensely."
Sam was well-known for taking the time to benefit his industry. He was also always there for his family. His wife Diane was with him through thick and thin, and was his almost constant companion throughout his illness.
The annual Christmas party at Budds’ Collision demonstrated this attitude. The guest list included suppliers, insurers and other partners, but fellow repairers were always welcomed with open arms.
Zubair "Zuby" Siddiqui is the President of Crescent Industries. As a supplier to the industry, he sees a lot of different facilities. He recalls Sam's attitude when it came to dealing with all of the challenges that come with a career in collision repair.
"The industry can be tough, but Sam was always tougher," Siddiqui says. "There are a lot of challenges in the body shop industry, but he overcame all of them and never let it wear him down."
Sam’s passing leaves the collision industry with a hole that simply cannot be filled. He always encouraged us to do better than we had done before, and to stand up for what we thought was right.
"Sam may be gone, but one thing is for sure, he will not be forgotten," says Darryl Simmons, Publisher of Collision Repair magazine. "His impact on Canada's collision repair community was felt from coast to coast. Sam wasy always there, whether it was with a joke or a dead-on criticism of the industry. As a true member of the industry's old guard, it will be hard to imagine the industry without him. I will never forget one of the best columns he ever wrote for Collision Repair magazine. In the middle of a full blank page was his guide to responding to insurers' requests ... Just Say No!!"
The visitation and service for Sam Piercey will take place at Smith's Funeral Home, located at 1167 Guelph Line in Burlington, Ont.
Two visitations are scheduled for July 28. The first is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the second is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be an hour visitation on Friday, July 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by the service.