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Feature   April 16, 2013   by

Mazda names top tech in Canada

Joe Di Sabatino, of Lallo Mazda, Brantford, Ont., wins national technical competition at Mazda Canadas headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ont.

By Sarah Voigt

A technician from Brantford, Ont. out-performed more than 300 master technicians from across the country to become Mazda Canada’s top technician.

Joe Di Sabatino, of Lallo Mazda, Brantford, Ont., won the company’s national technical competition on Friday, held at Mazda Canada’s headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ont.

He was one of 10 finalists who earned a spot in the competition by either winning one of seven regional competitions, or by getting one of the top three scores on a written exam taken by all 300 of Mazda’s master technicians in Canada.

The other finalists were:

  * Ivan Tan, Morrey Mazda, Vancouver, B.C.

  * Brian Logan, Sundance Mazda, Edmonton, Alta.

  * David Deweerd, Stratford City Mazda, Stratford, Ont.  

  * Perry Phuong, Westowne Mazda, Etobicoke, Ont.

  * Dan Gillissie, Kieswetter Mazda, Kitchener, Ont.

  * Yannick Caisse, Albi Le Geant Mazda, Mascouche, QC.

  * Yannick Nadon, Elite Mazda, Gatineau, QC.

  * Daniel Lavoie, Formule Mazda, Rimouski, QC.

  * Adam Grant, MacIsaac Mazda, Charlottetown, PE.

At Friday’s competition, each technician was assigned a 2013 Mazda3 SKYACTIV with a repair order of six customer complaints. They were given two hours to diagnose and repair all six problems.

If the vehicle was completed within the time limit, an additional “pre-delivery” maintenance inspection could be performed for bonus marks.

A panel of judges that included Mazda’s regional technical trainers, previous winners, and a number of long-term Mazda employees inspected each vehicle to determine a winner.

Di Sabatino attributes much of his success to the passion he has for his job.

“I like working for the dealership I work for. It’s a family owned operation, and they treat me very well. If you enjoy your work it doesn’t feel like work, if you make it your passion, you will be successful.”

A technician for over 42 years, Di Sabatino has been working for Mazda since 1980.  When asked what advice he would give to aspiring techs, he said it is important to know how to access information, and to keep up with technology.

Many of the competitors at Friday’s event had competed in previous Mazda Master Technician competitions, including second-place winner, Perry Phuong of Etobicoke, Ont. This was his fifth time competing at the national level.

Third place was held by first-time competitor Yannick Nadon of Gatineau, QC.

Mazda says recognizing the skill of trained technicians is important for a number of reasons. “We need to show techs that they’re important, and just as important as any other employee in the dealership,” said Craig McQueen, technical trainer for the Ontario and Atlantic regions, and one the competition’s coordinators.

“For customer satisfaction and to hold on to these technicians, we invest time in them, the dealer invests time in them, and we want to make sure that they feel like they are part of the team at Mazda.”

Following the competition, the competitors, as well as the top Mazda Canada employees in the sales and finance departments were honoured at a gala at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Toronto.

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