Skills Canada car painting champion named the first recipient of AkzoNobel’s Dave Smith Award

By Lindsey Cooke 

Toronto, Ontario – June 6, 2019 – Skills Canada car painting champion Catherine Matthewson is the first recepient to be awarded AkzoNobel’s Dave Smith Award.

AkzoNobel devoted an award to industry leader Dave Smith after his sudden passing nearly one year ago. Smith had a long-career with AkzoNobel since 1993.

“Dave always had a positive outlook and cared not only about the people in the industry, but the industry itself,” says Darryl Simmons, publisher of Collision Repair. “He is deeply missed.”

The award which contained $2,500 was presented to Matthewson a week after she took home the gold medal for the Post-Secondary Car Painting competition. The purpose of the award focused on a topic that Smith was very passionate about–supporting the education of vehicle refinishing.

“I am very thankful and grateful that they are investing money and time into newer generation into the trade. It’s going to make an impact on my life to push and strive for more and be able to help the next generation,” Matthewson told Collision Repair.

This isn’t the first victory for Matthewson. She began her passion in the collision repair industry when she was in Grade 10. As a high school student she competed in the Skills Canada competitions, and took home bronze in 2013 and silver in 2014.

The now-Centenniel College student says she couldn’t have achieved any of these awards without the help of her professors and her autobody high school teacher, Bill Speed. “They’ve literally molded my career for me so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

Matthewson wants to make a difference by changing the way people look at a career in collision repair and dreams of becoming the same kind of mentor that her teachers have been to her.

“I want to be able to give back to the newer generation and be able to teach them and give them the opportunity that I had in high school. I want to show women and people in general that anyone can do trades, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s definitely a great career choice and there’s more to life than being a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Everyone always looks down on the trade and I want to help change that stigma.”

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