Introducing the 2016 CADA Laureates

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Recognizing the best in the industry for 2016

Since 2005, the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) and  iA-SAL, a leading provider of financial, consulting and training for new car and truck dealers in Canada, have partnered for the annual CADA Laureate Dealer Recognition Program.

The Laureate award, which is the highest honour bestowed upon Canadian dealers during the course of their careers, is awarded each year to only three out of Canada’s 3,200 plus new car dealers. The Laureate program is distinguished by a three-phase selection process that is administered by a third party. Each of the winning CADA Laureates is ultimately selected by the Ivey Business School at Western University.

Recognizing that dealers contribute to the automotive industry and communities in different ways, the CADA Laureate program has three different categories of awards. These include:

  Ambassadorship — For extraordinary service to the community and the industry;

  Innovation — For initiatives that significantly enhance performance or broaden the scope of business;

  Retail Operations — For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership.

Each of the 2016 Laureate winners was recognized previously in a special edition of the June/July issue of Canadian auto dealer.

Here we pay homage to them once again with both their own personal statements and judge’s comments.

Those dealers that are bestowed with the title of CADA Laureate epitomize the spirit of the CADA Charter. The 2016 award-winners are no exception.

Silvy Niquet, Automobiles Niquet Inc. Saint-Bruno, Quebec

Silvy Niquet, Automobiles Niquet Inc. Saint-Bruno, Quebec

Ambassadorship – For extraordinary service to the community and the industry

Brand represented: Audi, Volkswagen
Years in business: 21 years
Number of employees: 112

Background: To succeed in the automobile industry, I believe you need a strong, united and motivated team like ours. The work you do in a motivated team that shares your values and business vision makes all the difference. In our sector, the product is important but it is the human dimension that makes the difference. We don’t do the work for peer recognition. We do it because that is how we operate.

Judge’s comments: Silvy has extensive relationships with the community, involvement with various national and international industry associations, and donates an impressive percentage of profits to charity. She also shows a real commitment to green initiatives and to maintaining high levels of female leadership within the dealership.

Mike Trotman, Trotman Auto Group, Langley, British Columbia

Mike Trotman, Trotman Auto Group, Langley, British Columbia

Business Innovation – For initiatives that significantly enhance performance or broaden the scope of business

Brand represented: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT, Toyota, Hyundai, Equus, Volkswagen, Ford
Years in business: More than 20
Number of employees: More than 475

Background: Our focus is on building strong, cohesive and empowered teams by creating a vibrant culture and investing heavily in leadership development and training. That is what makes us unique and sets us apart from our competition. We are constantly innovating, adopting best practices from other industries and fearlessly challenging ourselves to be bold, reach higher and look at everything we do through the eyes of the customer.

Judge’s comments: While all finalists tend to be superlative in at least one judging category, this year was exceptional because a number of finalists were outstanding in every aspect. Yet even among such luminaries, Mike Trotman stood out for continuous growth, a strong focus on promoting from within, continuous efforts to entrench learning and a positive, customer-responsive culture.

Paul Valentine, Valentine Volvo, Calgary, Alberta

Paul Valentine, Valentine Volvo, Calgary, Alberta

Retail Operations – For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership

Brand represented: Volvo
Years in business: 70 years (the dealership)
Number of employees: 50

Background: A big picture philosophy, by taking every necessary step to ensure long-term satisfaction, is the only way towards a win-win outcome. In many instances, results may not be
realized for years to come, but taking the time to invest in relationships is the surest route to long-term success. Simply put, do a great job and treat people right. 

Judge’s comments: Paul Valentine goes above and beyond on a routine basis. He demonstrates a true commitment to his employees, to attaining outstanding customer satisfaction, and to delivering superlative results in both sales and profitability. Paul epitomizes all-around excellence in retail operations.


Ambassadorship – For extraordinary service to the community and the industry

untitled-14Douglas Sullivan: 
Bickley Ford, Huntsville, Ont.

Advice to others: Once employed, don’t be a clock-puncher because this industry demands more than your scheduled shift. Start small but think big and someday you might be up for a Laureate, which is the most elite award bestowed upon a Canadian dealer.

What I like most about the business: Helping customers get through the buying process is very rewarding, and I have not lost sight of the fact that in many cases this represents their second biggest purchase.

untitled-13John Brushett: 
Moncton Honda, Moncton, N.B.

Advice to others: The key to any retail business is the people who are on the front line and the ability to hire and develop the best staff is the key to achieving true, sustainable business success.

What I like most about the business: There are so many things that contribute to my love of the business it is hard to pinpoint one. It is a business where a young person armed with passionate vision and drive can propel themselves to limitless success in the industry!

untitled-1Mike Stollery: 
SF Auto Group, Barrie, Ont.

Advice to others: The winners in our business always seem to be the ones who adapt the quickest. The Automotive Dealership Management Program at the Automotive Business School of Canada adds a postgraduate opportunity to continue to develop senior managers in the automotive field.

What I like most about the business: Today, the relationships we have with our co-workers, customers, industry, OEMs, banks and communities are the most gratifying part of my work life. In our organization, relationships built on credibility and trust are at the core of everything we do.

untitled-12Willy Heffner: 
Heffner Motors, Kitchener, Ont.

Advice to others: We feel that running a business is more than just running a business. It involves all of the interactions between management, employees, customers and the community. These interactions should provide a valued service, while enhancing the lives of all the stakeholders with which you interact.

What I like most about the business: By providing an exemplary service, you have the opportunity to make peoples’ lives better, and remove one of the stresses that they usually need to handle. The industry is always changing, and always challenging — never a dull day!

Business Innovation – For initiatives that significantly enhance performance or broaden the scope of business

untitled-1John Leeder: Leeder Auto Group, Toronto, Ont.

Advice to others: By creating and maintaining a positive and collaborative corporate culture, communication across departments is proactive and consistent. Ultimately, in any organization, the people are the lifeblood: the critical element that determines both success and longevity.

What I like most about the business: This is one of the few businesses that offers daily opportunities and challenges that keeps you on your toes and delivers fulfilment in clear and measurable targets. The balance between feeling engaged and accomplished is what I love most.

untitled-12Mike Davis: Davis Auto Group, Lethbridge, Alta.

Advice to others: If you are up for a challenge and want to grow, there is ample opportunity to do so in every department. There are many different mediums for learning, including performance groups, industry-specific training and conferences. Take every opportunity to learn what the business offers.

What I like most about the business: Overall I enjoy the fast-paced environment and variety the industry offers. With all of the different departments within a dealership — each with its own challenges and opportunities — it’s enough to keep a guy engaged.

untitled-13Rick Romeril: Kaizen Auto Group, Calgary, Alta.

Advice to others: Remember, the decisions you make today will determine your character. People are looking for leaders with integrity to bring into their business and mentor. This industry is small, so reputations have a way of following you both positively and negatively.

What I like most about the business: It’s a people business. Because of this, you are able to develop many lifelong relationships with customers, suppliers, manufacturers and our employees and their families. These relationships have strengthened and fulfilled both my business and personal life.

untitled-14Dr. Sylvester Chuang: AWIN Auto Group, GAIN Auto Group, Toronto, ON, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Advice to others: The automotive industry is complex and I have always felt that it is a good business strategy to own both the dealership and the land and buildings. Simple values such as honesty and integrity pave the way.

What I like most about the business: I love the constant challenge to innovate and the interaction with a broad variety of interesting and knowledgeable people. I’m not cut out to sit behind a desk so I enjoy the entrepreneurial environment and the fact that no two days are the same.

Retail Operations – For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership

untitled-1Brian Lowes: Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Man.

Advice to others: Humility has likely been the most important success factor for me in the auto retail business. It has allowed me to build authentic, meaningful relationships with exceptional people who I have learned, unmeasurable amounts from.

What I like most about the business: This business provides a launch point for people’s careers and dreams unlike any other industry. It changes and impacts lives, families and communities in positive, lasting ways. It is a tough business that demands commitment, hard work and sacrifice to be great at it.

untitled-12Harry Mews: Myers Cadillac Chevrolet Buick GMC Inc., Ottawa, Ont.

Advice to others: As a customer-driven business, it’s imperative to deliver great customer experiences, and always celebrate great customer satisfaction with our employees. We live and work in the community we serve, so great relationships with all stakeholders is imperative for our success.

What I like most about the business: I love being a leader in our community by contributing to charities, youth initiatives and other worthwhile causes. We feel it’s important to do our part for the community where we work and live, and make employees feel proud to take part.

untitled-13Patrick Tremblay: Repentigny Chevrolet Buick GMC Inc., Repentigny, Que.

Advice to others: You need to have confidence in yourself and your team, because they are the backbone of the business. It’s important to create solid relationships with every one of them so that they will follow you and support every decision you make.

What I like most about the business: Every week, every month and every year we set new goals. Competition is strong in the automobile field, but so is the way we stand out — that’s what makes the experience even more enriching and stimulating.

untitled-14Paul Daigle: Beauport Hyundai, Québec, Que.

Advice to others: The people who excel in this business today are those who work hard and have a passion for the industry. Their success comes from having a positive attitude, the wish to succeed, confidence, unequalled motivation, and a need to satisfy customers, colleagues and superiors.

What I like most about the business: The fact that it’s a business that has allowed me to progress through all of its departments. The retail car trade has allowed me to realize my potential as a businessman. It’s the continuous improvement challenge that pushes me to be the best. 

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