By Mike Davey
Richmond, British Columbia -- October 5, 2016 -- The competition was intense, but that didn't stop Myles Veljacic from bringing home two awards. Veljacic recently competed in the R-M Best Painter Contest at the R-M Refinish Competence Center in Clermont de l’Oise, France.
He won third place in the overall competition and also received the Sustainability Award. Berry Kooijman of the Netherlands took first place in the competition, with Genya Yokota of Japan coming in second. A total of 15 countries participated in this year's competition.
Veljacic is employed with CSN-OpenRoad Auto Body in Richmond, British Columbia. He started studying the craft of prepping and painting while he was still in high school, through the province's Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT) program.
For four days a week, Veljacic would attend classes at Vancouver Community College, learning the craft of prepping. On Fridays he would attend regular classes at his high school.
"On the day I graduated from high school, I also finished my Level I," he says. Veljacic's career choice was influenced by his family. "I grew up with five brothers, and they influenced my attraction to cars. When I found out about the ACE IT program, it looked like a good opportunity."
The International R-M Best Painter Contest is held biennially for painters under 30 years old with an aim to develop young talent through a competition on technical painting skills using ONYX HD. During the three-day competition, painters compete in seven areas: preparation, blending, colour retrieval, color reading, masking, paint-related product knowledge and health and safety.
"The competition was three days long," says Veljacic. "They drew a running order for who would compete when, so everybody had a different task to do at a different time of the day." Part of the reason for this is to ensure a level playing field, where competitors can't see what the others are doing. However, that doesn't mean they can't learn from each other outside of the competition.
"There was a language barrier with a lot of the contestants, but there were three or four who could speak English well enough to have a conversation about what we do," says Veljacic. "It was definitely worth the effort."
As mentioned above, Veljacic took home the Sustainability Award in addition to his third place win. It's a tribue to Veljacic's talents and it's likely an indicator of good workplace habits.
"The Sustainability Award focuses on using the least amount of materials and having the least impact on the environmnet," says Veljacic. "They look to see if you're not using an excess amount of masking tape or an excessive amount of paper. They also want you to mix as close to the amount required for the job as possible, so you don't have a lot of waste that needs to be disposed of."
For more information on BASF's R-M Best Painter Contest, please visit rmpaint.com/int/retrospective-r-m-best-painter-contest.