Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

AIA CONVENTION: Special Convention Report – Automotive Industries Association of Canada

2000 Annual Convention, Montreal, Que.


Jobber Of The Year Is “Salt Of The Earth”

British Columbia jobber Dennis Wyatt was described as “the salt of the earth” as he was presented with the award as the 2000 Jobber of the Year.

Wyatt, owner of Miller & Wyatt Ltd., of Kelowna, B.C., was presented with the award by Jobber News Magazine editor Andrew Ross during the AIA’s Awards Luncheon Thursday. Before presenting the award, Ross called Wyatt “the salt of the earth; a person with ties to his community as deep as a mountain is high and a love for that community at least as expansive.”

Miller & Wyatt, a Uni-Select Auto Parts Plus jobber that operates three stores in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, accepted the award graciously, saying he never thought he was in the league of past recipients. “I’m not usually an emotional person, but let me tell you I’m feeling some emotions now. I want to thank Andrew for this award, and I want to thank all the people who have helped through the years.”

Wyatt has been a part of the aftermarket for nearly half a century and founded Miller & Wyatt more than 25 years ago with Dean Miller, who sold his share of the business to Wyatt only a short time ago. Wyatt has also served the AIA in various capacities, including a term as a divisional chairman, and has been involved in many community activities.

The award–formally named the A.E. and E.J. Wadham Memorial Award after the founders of Jobber News–has been presented annually for more than a decade. It recognizes a jobber who has demonstrated success in business, community service, and industry contributions. A full profile of Wyatt and the business will appear in the July issue of Jobber News Magazine.

The Internet will create a whole new way of doing business, says speaker

Keynote speaker Jean Brossard, chairman and CEO of the CGI Group, told delegates that there are many challenges posed by changing technologies and the trend to globalization.

“How should companies position themselves? There are no right and wrong answers,” says Brossard. However, he offered the audience insights from his own experience in a wide ranging talk on technology, globalization, personnel management and the importance of getting it all right.

“We see the quick emergence of business on the Internet. The Internet is a very, very powerful tool which will change the way you do business.” Brossard says that research shows that more women than men use the Internet and that this is an important factor to consider when setting up a business strategy.

He also said that this applies to both business-to-consumer strategies and business-to-business strategies, with the creation of a virtual marketplace. “It is becoming a vital communications tool. It is not just a technological trip. It is a new way of doing business.”

Cy Russell Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Cy Russell, former president and general manager of Fort Ignition Limited, was honored with the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award.

Russell, who has been an avid and long-time supporter of the AIA, served as its chairman in 1994. By that time, he had already served in various capacities at the divisional and national level for the association.

During his term as chairman, Russell worked hard to promote communications between the AIA and its membership as well as to promote communications between management and staff, jobbers and their customers, suppliers and distributors, and among AIA members across the country.

Professionally, Russell began his career in the banking industry beginning in the late 1940s. In 1960 an opportunity to enter the automotive aftermarket presented itself and he spent the next 34 years building Fort Ignition Limited into a multi-branch operation with outlets in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. That business was sold to UAP in the mid-1990s.

Dennis Wyatt, here with wife Georgina, was named the 2000 Jobber of the Year at the AIA Annual Convention in Montreal. Wyatt owns and operates Miller & Wyatt Limited’s three stores in the Okanagan region of British Columbia.

Cy Russell, a veteran of the aftermarket and of the association, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award during the AIA’s Annual Convention. At left is association chairman Mike Bryan; at right is past chairman Gilles Michaud.

Emissions Programs Challenges are Many

Emission programs have many challenges for the aftermarket, but also have many benefits for the aftermarket businesses that are well organized and have a plan.

Dave Gourley of Pacific Vehicle Testing Technologies, which manages the B.C. AirCare program, provided an overview of the program and spoke about both the facts of their experience and the continuing challenges during the AIA Convention. “AirCare is the program that the public loves to hate,” said Gourley. “The car owner wants to pass the test for the cheapest possible cost. The administration wants vehicles to have the lowest emissions possible.” He says that since the program began in 1992, there has been a change in the type of repairs being done after a vehicle fails. “We have seen a shift from tune-up to catalytic converter replacements, O2 repairs, etc., what I call real emission repairs.”

John Cochrane, chairman of the AIA’s Jobber and WD Council, gave an overview of the financial implications of the Ontario Drive Clean program. The program calls on garages to install equipment costing approximately $50,000 if they wish to become a testing or testing and repair center. Without equipment, a garage can still become an approved repair-only center. The numbers, said Cochrane, don’t bear out much if any profit on the test fees alone, putting the onus on the shops to gain business through the repairs when vehicles fail.

“Test only, you’ll break even. Test and repair, you’ll make money from repairs. Repair Only, I just don’t see it.”

Also presenting on the plans for Air D’Avenir was Andre Belisle of the AQLP. “We have found that test and repair programs are designed to fight smog in cities, but cars are everywhere,” said Belisle. The Quebec official said that he expects a program to be announced soon which will cover the whole province and use existing vehicle inspection centers to conduct the tests, while the garages will provide repairs. “I asked myself why we are always seeking a bureaucrat when we should be seeking out a mechanic. We are trying to do things differently. As soon as we provide the training, we are confident that we can start a program.” It should be noted that initial plans were to have a program in place by April 1. Like many programs in other jurisdictions, however, the planning stage has been more time-consuming than initially thought. No other firm date was mentioned for either an announcement or a program target start date.

The AIA ushered in a new executive board during the convention. Left to right they are: Sean Corcelli, second vice-chairman; Ray Datt, president; Peter Tekker, first vice-chairman; Randy Moore, chairman; and Mike Bryan, immediate past chairman.