Kabeir Dilawri from the MMDA (back from left), with scholarship winners Luke Santos, Stephen Bachalo, Brett Metcalfe, (front from left)Kurtlin McKibbin, Samantha Schacht, Jenna Cross, Jenna Campbell and Justin Savage.
Lyndon Elliott is going places — literally and figuratively — and the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association is helping pave his way.
Elliott was one of 15 young people to be awarded scholarships at the MMDA’s sixth annual Industrial Celebration and Awards evening Nov. 15 at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre. The winners included individuals currently working at, or who have worked for, Manitoba new car dealerships or who have family members employed in the industry.
Elliott, who is from Brandon, began working part-time for the Murray Auto Group dealerships in Brandon in 2013 while he was still in high school. He worked in a variety of positions for the Murray Group, most recently as a service adviser in the summer of 2017.
Since 2016, he has been a student in the automotive business program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont. He received his diploma last spring and is now enrolled in the honours bachelor of business administration program.
At the same time, Elliott is working as a sales assistant at Georgian Chevrolet Buick GMC and with Momentum Worldwide touring across Canada, working as a Chevrolet product specialist for the Canadian auto show circuit.
This year, a record 15 scholarships were given out, thanks to two scholarship funds. The Sales Certification Scholarship Fund is awarded generally to children of sales certification members. The recipients must be full-time students attending a university, college or technical institute. The Sales Certification Scholarship recipients this year were Jenna Campbell (daughter of Murray Chevrolet Winnipeg controller Corinne Campbell), who works in accounting at the dealership and is a business student at the University of Winnipeg, and Samantha Schacht, part of the Terry Turbo sales team at Mid-Town Ford, who is enrolled in the University of Manitoba nursing program.
The Select Suppliers Scholarships are for students in high school or beyond who are hoping to work for a new car, truck or heavy-truck dealership in Manitoba or otherwise connected to the industry in some fashion. In addition to Elliott, Select Supplier scholarship winners included fellow Georgian College Automotive Studies Program student Connor Murray, whose father, Warren Murray, is a sales manager at Murrray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC in Brandon; Red River ASEP Auto Technician program students Brett Metcalfe (the son of Neil Metcalfe, president of the Metcalfe’s Garage Ford dealership in Treherne, Man.); Kurt McKibbin (who is also a service technician at Killarney’s Chapman Motors) and (second-time recipient) Justin Savage, who is a service technician at Murray Chevrolet Winnipeg; Luke Santos, who is in his second year studying human resources at Red River College and has been working for Birchwood Toyota for the past six years, most recently as a service adviser; University of Manitoba Asper School of Business students Eric Wankling, who is also a sales intern at Birchwood Chevrolet, and Jaspreet Hunjan, who works at Birchwood Credit Solutions; Jenna Cross (daughter of Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC’s Jason Cross), who is studying science at the University of Manitoba; University of Manitoba commerce student Stephen Bachalo (son of Birchwood Honda on Regent general manager Jeff Bachalo); University of Wisconsin student and hockey player Connor Hamonic (son of Mid-Town Ford sales manager Rene Hamonic); and Cole Addis, who is in the apprenticeship program at Goose Lake High School in Roblin, where he also works alongside his father, Andy Addis, in the Crosstown Motors service department.
The MMDA also introduced a new award this year. The Top Salesperson Awards recognize the sales leaders for every manufacturer’s brand in Manitoba. Geoff Sine, the MMDA’s executive director, noted the top salesperson awards were inspired by a similar program in B.C.
The winners included longtime sales stars such Wes Giesbrecht (Crown Mazda), Scott Pollett (Mid-Town Ford), John Puchniak (Murray Chevrolet), Nick Serino (Birchwood Nissan) and Patrick Hasselman, the dean of sales reps at Birchwood BMW.
Other winners were Dave Filipcic (McNaught Buick Cadillac GMC), Jor-El Schroeder (Audi Winnipeg), Antonio Tralic (Frontier Subaru), Jeth Reyes (Waverley Mitsubishi), Aaron Brager (Jaguar Land Rover Volvo Winnipeg), Adam Cai (Crown Toyota), Wei Chen (Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg), Joe DaSilva (Birchwood Infiniti), Bruce Zhan (Crown Acura), Sam Wijewardana (Porsche Winnipeg), Tom Strange (Birchwood Lexus), Tony Pedreira (Mini Winnipeg), Yolande Van De Spiegle (Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep), Jesse Pelletier (Focus Hyundai) and, from outside of Winnipeg, Terry Coleman (Planet Kia in Brandon) and Jeremy Levesque (Harvest Honda in Brandon. There was one tie result — Matthew Melo (Knight Auto Haus Volkswagen) and Mary Rise Mirando (St. James Volkswagen).
The best was saved for last. Manitoba’s top-selling sales representative is Dylan Foui (Winnipeg Honda) who is also the top-selling Honda sales rep in Canada. And, with more than 1,100 sales last year, Foui and his support team (including Jeremy Sturbey, Dustin Davie, James Le, Lucky Sharma, Melissa Foui and Larisa Rauliuk, are most likely tops in Canada across all brands.
Birchwood BMW celebrates new models
About 300 guests filled the showroom at Birchwood BMW on Nov. 22, eager to view BMW’s fourth-generation X5.
As has become customary, Birchwood BMW celebrated the arrival of its popular redesigned SUV with a lot of glitz and glamour. The evening included pizza and other delights from Pizzeria Gusto, numerous choices from Chaeban Ice Cream, fine wine and great music. The star of the evening, of course, was the X5. As senior BMW sales professional Patrick Hasselmann noted, BMW has brought the model to a new level.
“I remember seeing the first X5 and thinking at the time that I had never seen anything like it,” Hasselmann recalled. “But the technology and features on the new 2018 model are something else again.”
Birchwood BMW general manager Steve Payne said the new X5 is the most recent of a series of new and redesigned models that are completely reinvigorating the BMW brand.
“The changes over the last 12 months have been amazing,” Payne said. “We’ve had the all-new X2, X3, X4 and M5. I was just in Montreal and saw the all-new Z4 Roadster, the new 3-Series models and the 8 Cabriolet. Also still to come are the all-new X3M and X4M, the brand new 4-Series, the redesigned X7 and the 8-Series Cabriolet. BMW global sales have never been stronger.”
Included in his presentation, Payne introduced Birchwood BMW’s new general sales manager, Chris Sabourin. Although originally from Winnipeg, Sabourin has been working in auto sales in Regina for the past nine years, He started on the sales floor at a Chrysler store and worked his way up. For the past 18 months, he held a senior management position at Dilawri BMW in Regina.
Sabourin joined Birchwood BMW at the beginning of November. “I am really excited to be working with a great team at Birchwood BMW and for the opportunity to be part of the Birchwood Group,” he said.