Auto Service World
News   May 1, 2024   by Adam Malik

Talking innovation, skills and trends at top Canadian conference

AIA Canada held its annual National Conference last week and hit on hot topics impacting the auto care sector

Automotive aftermarket professionals from across Canada gathered in Toronto to hear from some of North America’s top experts who shared knowledge and insights.

The Automotive Industries Association National Conference was held on April 24 near Toronto’s main airport, speakers took the stage either in main session or breakout ones, analyzing how the industry is moving, how auto care professionals can take on change and more.

After opening remarks from AIA Canada’s outgoing chair Shannon Spano, president J.F. Champagne dove into many of the threats and opportunities facing the industry. Alana Baker followed to push the importance of right to repair in Canada.

James Channer, AIA Canada board member and COO of InMotion Brands then moderated a panel with Alan McClelland, dean of the school of transportation at Centennial College, Sylvain Seguin, president of Fix Auto Canada, Kevin Weaver, president and CEO of Georgian College, Spano and Mauricio Zelaya from EY Canada as part of a deeper dive into the Labour Market Research Report issued at the end of 2023.

Breakout sessions saw three topics discussed. Todd Campau, aftermarket product lead at S&P Global Mobility, looked at vehicle trends in Canada, how the number of vehicles on Canadian roads has remained steady and how kilometres travelled is shaping out post-pandemic.

Stacey Miller, vice president of communications at Auto Care Association explored not just gender diversity in the auto care sector, but diversity overall as a means to cast a wider net when attracting professionals into the aftermarket.

Daryl Benton, vice president of automotive aftermarket sales and marketing at Mann+Hummel, talked about leading change by understanding how to embrace change ad overcome resistance.

Following lunch, Bill Hay was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award, presented to him by Brad Shadick and Jason Yurchak. Patrick Verriet received the YPA Committee’s Young Leader of the Year Award. Both winners were announced prior to the event and given their awards at the conference.

A live episode of Curbside Chat was hosted at the conference. Host Lorraine Summerfield welcomed Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers, Sabrina Thring, brand president of the collision group at Driven Brands, and Chris Kinghorn, vice president of strategy and growth at UAP. The panel discussed key issues affecting the aftermarket.

The day wrapped up with a special guest as Doug Stephens, founder and CEO of Retail Prophet talked about how AI and how it could impact the aftermarket by looking at applications in other industries.

The night before, a networking reception was held for attendees.

AIA Canada National Conference 2024

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