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Delegates from across Canada gathered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan August 17 - 19 for the 9th annual CARSTAR Industry Conference. CARSTAR franchisees and their families, corporate employees, insurance partners, and vendor partners were among those gathered for the three-day conference.

The annual conference brought together some of the best and brightest in the automotive and insurance industries to share ideas and information. The theme of this year’s conference was “Kaleidoscope” which organizers felt captured the essence of how CARSTAR is illuminating the auto collision industry. Much like a Kaleidoscope, CARSTAR has fused together all of the parts: Franchisees, Vendors, Insurance Partners and Employees to create the whole.

President’s Club Award winners celebrate at the 9th annual CARSTAR Industry Conference in Saskatoon. Pictured from left to right are: Sam Mercanti, President and CEO, CARSTAR Automotive Canada; award winners Walter Grego and Don Strong from Concordia CARSTAR Collision in Ottawa; and Larry Jeffries, Executive Vice President, CARSTAR Automotive Canada.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to bring together everyone in the CARSTAR family,” said Sam Mercanti, President and CEO of CARSTAR Automotive Canada. “We’re proud to recognize our dedicated franchisees and business partners, everyone who works hard to make CARSTAR one of the most successful and trusted names in the auto collision repair industry.”

To kick off the conference, Saskatoon’s Deputy Mayor Terry Alm welcomed the group of almost 250 attendees and introduced the Saskatoon Children’s Choir, who performed “O Canada.” Saskatoon, which is home to two of CARSTAR’s more than 110 locations, was chosen to host the conference from over 70 cities in 10 provinces across Canada. Local businesses were clearly pleased to have CARSTAR delegates in Saskatoon – many hung welcome signs in their establishments.

George Avery, Claims Consultant, State Farm Insurance, USA presents for the first time in Canada at the 9th annual CARSTAR Industry Conference in Saskatoon.

“Saskatoon was an excellent host for this year’s conference,” said Mercanti. “Franchisees Joe and Cheryl Schmidt, who own and operate two CARSTAR locations in Saskatoon, were instrumental in bringing the conference to the city. It was a great opportunity for us to recognize their commitment to CARSTAR and for them to showcase the beauty of Saskatoon to their colleagues from across the country.”

Conference delegates participated in sessions on marketing tools such as advertising, public relations and interactive web marketing, as well as client relations, industry trends, insurance trends and claims, training and human resources, community involvement and maximizing growth. Through these sessions, delegates learned what it takes to be the best in class.

Guest speakers included:

Dr. Chris Bart, Professor of Strategy & Governance at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster Uni.;
Nora Hohman. V.P. Claims & Ken Boulton, Program Coordinator of The Dominion of Canada Insurance
Rocco Neglia, V.P. Claims, Economical Insurance Group;
Paul Hicks, AVP, Claims Procurement, Aviva Canada;
Norman Rose, President, Exel Sales Consulting;
Michel Caron, National Accounts District Manager, Collision Repair Services/Audatex
George Avery, Claims Consultant, State Farm Insurance, USA.
CARSTAR speakers included members of CARSTAR’s
executive and management team.

The conference also featured a Business Partners Expo, where franchisees and other attendees had an opportunity to network and learn more about some of the industry’s top companies, including insurance and vendor partners. More than 20 conference sponsors were present including the platinum and gold sponsors: BASF, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Akzo Nobel, Discount Car & Truck Rentals and Audatex.
“It is the incredible support from our sponsors and our partners, who make it possible for us to put together this amazing conference year after year,” said Mercanti.  “We are very lucky to have partners who share our vision and continue to work together to find ways to provide our customers with the very best experience possible.”

Conference organizers made sure that there was also an opportunity to mix some business with pleasure at the annual O.S.C.A.R. gala awards presentation. The ceremony highlights some of the exceptional work that CARSTAR franchisees do on an annual basis and recognizes outstanding service, commitment and results. Several awards were presented including the coveted President’s Club Award.

Winners for 2006 included:

Windsor CARSTAR Collision, Windsor, ON;
Carrosserie Mont-Bleu CARSTARHull, QC;
Concordia CARSTAR Collision,Ottawa, ON
Maritime CARSTAR Collision, New Minas, NS.

The awards gala and other conference activities took place at the luxurious Delta Bessborough and at Saskatoon’s TCU Place. To wrap up the conference, delegates were treated to an authentic prairie experience at beautiful Champêtre County.
“This year’s conference was an overwhelming success,” said Sam Mercanti.  “We are extremely thankful to all of our franchisees and partners who took the time to participate in this conference. It’s people who make the difference and our people are the best in the business. Planning has already started for next year’s conference in Niagara Falls and we look forward to even bigger and better things to come.”


Grant Brothers Sales Announcement

Matt O’Brien of Grant Brothers Sales Limited is pleased to announce the promotion of Louis Mottet to the position of Eastern Regional Sales Manager. In Louis’ new position, he will add responsibility for all four Atlantic Provinces to his existing responsibility for sales in Quebec.


Government and automakers agree to safety enhancements

Lawrence Cannon (above) , the federal Minister of Transport, has announced the signing of three memoranda of understanding with 17 vehicle manufacturers to address safety issues. The agreements update a previously-approved side-impact protection memorandum of understanding that addressed compatibility between vehicles, and promoted proper seatbelt fit.

The agreements include updating the side impact protection requirements to better protect children who sit next to an airbag; improving compatibility between vehicles of different sizes, to reduce the severity of occupant injury in side and frontal collisions; and promoting the use of new technologies in the design and manufacture of vehicles, to ensure optimal seatbelt fit for front seat passengers. “Canada’s new government is continually looking for ways to reduce the risk of death, injury and property damage due to incidents involving motor vehicles,” says Cannon.

“These agreements are the result of extensive cooperation between the Government of Canada and the automotive industry.”

Transport Canada’s first memorandum of understanding related to road safety was signed on March 6, 2001 with automobile manufacturers and importers. It dealt with side airbag systems, as they became standard or optional safety equipment in front seats of vehicles.


‘Pit Pass to Play’ draw winners

Nick Lagoudis, owner / operator of Nick’s Auto-Tech, Scarborough, ON was the proud recipient of a $1,000.00 Home Entertainment Centre System after his game card was selected as one of 92 weekly prize winners during the July th. Uni-Select Pit Pass to Play draw. To date over 750 prizes, varying in value from $10.00 to $1,500.00 have been awarded in the entertaining contest which spans 24 weeks and culminates with Grand Prize Draws for one of 24 trips to the 2007 GFS 400 NASCAR race in Michigan. The contest continues until November 3, 2006.


OTC introduces new product

OTC division of SPX corporation are proud to introduce another big step in the evolution of their highly respected GENYSIS diagnostic platform. .This exciting package (No. 3421-79- above) will permit owners of Genysis scan tool (with minimum 2.0 software) to diagnose Heavy Duty class 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 highway trucks and engines used in other HD applications. Those who do not already own a Genysis may purchase a full package (No. 3653HD - below) which includes the full heavy Duty program plus Domestic and Asian car and light truck coverage all in one compact package.

Supported manufacturers include, Mac Trucks, GM, GMC, Freightliner, Ford, Kenworth, Peterbuilt, International, Volvo, and other medium and heavy duty applications. Transmission and ABS systems include Bendix, Detroit, Eaton, Meritor WABCO, Caterpillar, Cummins, Allison, etc. SAE protocols, HD-J1587, J1708, and J1939 CAN are all covered.. For further information, visit the SPX website here or call toll-free 1-800-533-6127 for more information. This new product package is available from OTC distributors all across Canada.