Members of the Birchwood Collision Cente team, which received an award from BMW Canada (left to right): Blake Zawada, Don Miller, Lindsay Langridge, Paul Sylvain, Steve Chipman and Arthur Crawford.
Birchwood Collision Centre stands head and shoulders above the competition as far as BMW Canada is concerned. In mid-December, the European luxury auto manufacturer presented the Pointe West Autopark collision repair facility with BMW Canada’s inaugural Sam Piercey Memorial Award for most improved BMW-certified collision repair operation in Canada.
“We were actually notified that we would be receiving the award at the annual BMW Group Certified Collision Repair Centres conference in Palm Springs in mid-October,” says Art Crawford, Birchwood Collision Centre’s director.
There are 38 BMW-certified collision repair centres across the country, Crawford reports. The award takes into consideration workplace performance plus community involvement, he says.
The award was created earlier this year in a tribute to the late Sam Piercey, an industry leader who passed away in July. Piercey had been the longtime co-owner of Budd’s Collision in Oakville, Ont. Piercey, says Crawford, was an outspoken industry leader and mentor.
Birchwood Collision Centre has been in operation since 1999. The facility, Crawford points out, is accredited to repair all brands — with specific manufacturer certification to repair BMW, MINI, Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Honda, Acura, Volvo, Ford and Chrysler models.
“We are also one of only a few I-CAR Gold Class Professionals-recognized facilities in Winnipeg,” Crawford says. “For a collision repair business to qualify for the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals recognition, you have to have at least one I-CAR Platinum technician as a role representative in each of (the) refinish technician, steel stuctural technician, non-structural technician and estimator categories, all of which require extensive training.”
Neepawa dealer wins award
Congratulations also to Neepawa’s McLaughlin General Motors, the recipient of this year’s Apprenticeship Manitoba Rural Employer of the Year Award. The dealership was nominated for the award by Jordan Jennings, a student from Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute high school, who is currently apprenticing as an automotive service technician with McLaughlin GM. The award takes into consideration several criteria, such as how involved in apprenticeship the business is and has been, as well as what the business does to encourage and help its apprentices achieve excellence.
“We were notified of the award in mid-November,” says Dealer Principal and General Manager Ryan McLaughlin. “We have been involved with Apprenticeship Manitoba for quite a few years. We have taken on a number of students from the high school, providing them with the work experience component of their program. We have acquired a few technicians who are graduates of the program.”
McLaughlin GM — originally Murray’s of Neepawa — has been in operation in Neepawa for 75 years. Five years ago, McLaughlin entered into a partnership with the Murray Group of dealerships. (The Murray Auto Group currently has 26 stores across Canada.) The new 9,400-square-foot store (built according to the General Motors Image 2000 guidelines), which opened in 2012, stands on three acres of land on Highway 16 just west of town.
“Business has been growing,” McLaughlin says. “November was our best month ever for sales.”
ADESA raises record amount for charity
In 2016, ADESA Winnipeg charity auctions raised a record $11.1 million for a variety of charitable causes such as Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, the Dream Factory and Ronald McDonald House — and many more. From March through December, Manitoba’s leading vehicle auction house held 54 charity auctions.
Sales Rep: Dalton Laba
Dealership: Birchwood Kia West
No. of Years: 2.5 years in auto sales
Favourite Model: Kia Sportage
Why: “I like the redesign on the Sportage,” Laba says.”It looks sportier. It really stands out. It’s the perfect vehicle.”
McLaughlin GM dealer operator Ryan McLaughlin (left) with automotive service technician apprentice Jordan Jennings