Ralph D'Alessandro, centre, with representatives of AkzoNobel, Treschak Enterprises and CSN-427 Auto Collision. D'Alessandro was recently honoured as the first Sikkens customer in North America.

By Mike Davey

Toronto, Ontario -- September 19, 2016 -- Every long partnership starts with a single meeting. For CSN-427 Auto Collision and AkzoNobel, that meeting took place years ago, when a salesman named Mark Virsunen came to call on the facility's founder, Ralph D'Alessandro. ​Ralph's facility, 427 Auto Collision, became the first facility in North America to adopt the Sikkens brand of refinish coatings, which the collision centre ​still ​uses to this day.

Representatives of AkzoNobel and Treschak Enterprises congratulated ​Ralph and thanked him for his support of the product at a special event held at CSN-427 Auto Collision in Toronto.

Rosanna Armata of CSN-427 Auto Collision got the event rolling, discussing how ​Ralph D'Alessandro created relationships and expanded the business over the years.

"There's a famous quote that says 'Opportunities don't happen. You create them,'" said Armata. "During the initial years of starting his business, Ralph took calculated risks and forged strategic partnerships with people across the industry. Most importantly, he treated every person he crossed, regardless of their stature in life, with the same degree of respect, and he demanded no more of others, than he did of himself. Which, given his exceptional work ethic, could be quite daunting for some!"

Armata then welcomed Don Treschak of Treschak Enterprises. Treschak introduced other special guests, including Jamie Treschak and Mark McIntyre of Treschak Enterprises, and David Smith, Randy Hearn, Koos Reineking, Lonnie Drefko, Dave Banwell, Dave Wooley and Amjad Farah of AkzoNobel.

Mark Virsunen and Willem Groen in ‘t Woud, the partners behind Dutch Coatings, the company that originally brought Sikkens to North America, were also on hand for the event.

Some of the guests took turns relating their ​past ​experiences ​working with Ralph D'Alessandro and the facility, before welcoming ​him to the front of the room. ​He thanked Sikkens for the recognition award and provided some background for how the relationship got started.

Mark Virsunen was "a young guy with long​ hair and earrings in the seventies, and I didn't think twice about taking a chance on him," said Ralph. "I love ambitious young people."

There's no question that Virsunen was ambitious. At the time, his mother owned a local store that imported stains from Sikkens. He figured he could start selling Sikkens paint to body shops. ​Ralph ​D'Alessandro's facility may not have been his first call, but it was the first one where he closed the deal. The Sikkens brand of automotive refinish products had made its first entry into North America.

Ralph also noted that the award is a testament to the ​D'Alessandro ​family's long-standing business ethics.     

"We’ve always paid our vendor bills on time and have maintained good business relations​ in the industry.​ ​Our​ employees have always benefited from guaranteed work, and have never been short-changed on their pay. And​, we wouldn’t have it any other way," he said.

For more information, please visit 427autocollision.com.


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