Nissan Canada Inc. and local Nissan and Infiniti dealers have donated $200,000 to assist the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in building a state-of-the-art automotive technician training center. The donation will be used to help complete the Clayton Carroll Automotive Center, which is designed to help alleviate a critical shortage of automotive technicians all across Canada “The generosity from Nissan Canada and the Calgary Nissan and Infiniti Dealers puts students, instructors and industry one step closer to utilizing a training center designed to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and technically based automotive industry,” said Irene Lewis, president and CEO of SAIT. “Their generosity is strong testimony to the value Nissan places on continuous education and skills upgrading.” Lewis accepted a cheque from John Kalsbeek, Nissan Canada’s director of quality assurance and customer services and Lawrence Bates, president of Stadium Nissan in Calgary. Kalsbeek, who was an auto technician himself before joining Nissan Canada’s executive team 32 years ago, said, “Today, technology and skills development are progressing more rapidly and in line with the transportation needs and expectations of modern society, be it safety, environmental, performance or entertainment. “As automotive manufacturers and dealers, we need to partner with institutions like SAIT that produce the best of the best in terms of developing competencies and skills to ensure the safety and well-being of the motoring public. We look forward to and take pride in our long-term future in this regard.” Stadium Nissan’s Lawrence Bates used a strategy that has been successful in producing donations from other auto manufacturers. Bates, who has been involved in SAIT fundraising for several years, first solicited donations from the other Nissan and Infiniti dealers in Calgary, raising $100,000, then successfully approached Nissan Canada to match their donation. “This new state-of-the-art automotive center is a fine example of partnering between the auto industry and SAIT,” Bates said. “It will provide our industry with well trained, highly skilled technicians so that we are able to meet our customers’ needs now and in the future.” As well as Stadium Nissan, Brasso Nissan, Sunridge Nissan and Hyatt Infiniti contributed to Nissan’s donation. The automotive center is named after SAIT alumnus Clayton Carroll, who graduated in 1940 and went on to build a highly successful paving company in Southern Alberta. Carroll donated $1 million, the largest donation ever from an individual SAIT alumnus, to kick off the funding for the center. The Clayton Carroll Automotive Center will be a state-of-the-art automotive center equipped with the latest in diagnostic and servicing technology. It will provide three areas of automotive service training: apprenticeship trades allowing students to work while they learn; full-time certificate and diploma programs; and customized training for the transportation sector. The Clayton Carroll Automotive Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2003.