Mike Anderson visits SAAR

By Tom Bissonette

Mike Anderson has never worked a day in his life.

The enthusiasm and passion for what he does clearly illustrates to me that none of his seminars are work to him. Rather it is pure joy for Mike to be able to impact collision industry stakeholders in a positive way resulting in his vocation being his avocation. How sweet is that? This is the goal that so many us strive for, but many fail to achieve.The good news is that Mike explains it is attainable for all of us - if we simply choose to make a difference.

Mike’s style is a blend of high level understanding of the challenges to the collision repair industry coupled with a down home folksy way of connecting with everyone in the room. From the crusty 60-year technician to the peach fuzz faced youngster in the room there was a genuine appreciation for the transparent way that Mike easily shifts from technical issues to life lessons that we all need to hear. His story about being ‘Albert’, a young boy, short and gifted with Tourette’s syndrome was priceless. He tells of going to the school dance and always being afraid to ask a girl to dance for fear of being rejected. He goes on to explain that his dad (I would like to meet this guy) takes him to one of the dances and strongly encourages Mike to ask a girl to dance. His first attempt was a dismal failure but eventually he gets a yes! Lo and behold, this kid can dance! From then on, he understood that if you never take a chance you never get an opportunity to win. He stated “So many of you are playing not to lose rather than playing to win” encouraging our folks to move out of their comfort zone and aim high.

I saw Mike speak once before a CCIF meeting in Toronto. Although it was great I found that he tried so hard to pack so much into the short time he was allowed to speak that I was almost overwhelmed with information and could not easily absorb it. Spending a day with Mike where he gets to weave his life story with tons of practical life lessons and cutting edge technical issues in a relaxed atmosphere is the perfect way to connect to this man. Everyone left the meeting feeling that they found their new best friend, yet they had a note pad full of notes and aha! moments.

Ciaran Downes, a senior manager of SGI’s Appraisal Transition team was in attendance and when I asked what he thought of Mike’s presentation he replied that it exceeded his expectations. “I came here thinking I might get a few jabs coming my way but there was absolutely none of that, he simply stated the facts!”

After Mike’s presentation more than a hundres bodyshop personnel moved over to a quaint little Scottish pub called Bobby’s Place and enjoyed each other’s company while reminiscing about the great day of fun and learning that we all had the pleasure of experiencing.

Saturday March 3rd we held our spring AGM with over 150 industry stakeholders in attendance.

All in all, it was a great weekend.


Tom Bissonette is the Executive Director of SAAR, the former Chair of the CCIF and former owner of Parr Autobody in Saskatoon, SK. He is also leading the Arise Haiti project which is soon to announce the new bodyshop school there.  



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