More relevant than ever

Producing the annual CADA Laureate award issue detailing the winners and finalists is always an amazing part of the Canadian auto dealer publishing schedule.

Not only do we get to showcase the 15 finalists and three winners, but we get to shine a bright light on the award and what it recognizes for our industry.

The first group of CADA Laureates were honoured back in 2006. Rick Gauthier, then President and CEO of CADA, was a passionate supporter of the program. He was particularly proud of the three-phase selection process that ensures only the best of the best among dealers make it through as finalists, and that the final winners are selected by independent judges at arm’s length from the association.

This prevents the Laureate award from being an insider’s award, a popularity contest, or a means to recognize someone that worked closely with the provincial or national dealer associations. You can’t nominate yourself, and you can’t influence the judges because they aren’t part of the industry.

This means the finalists you’ll read about in this issue — and the three winners — have truly earned this recognition based on their career achievements, recognized by their peers and validated by a third-party judge.

So, to all of this year’s finalists and winners, congratulations!

Over the past decade, one of my favourite assignments has been to interview each of the winning Laureates after they are notified about winning the award. I always enjoy hearing their stories, and getting to know them.

This exclusive group of dealers are recognized as industry leaders who have ideas, insights, and inspiration to share with their fellow dealers.

I had the privilege of doing video interviews with 20 former CADA Laureates in the midst of the pandemic as part of a CADA initiative. We created a series of videos based on those interviews that are now housed on the CADA Laureate website (

For those who want to really appreciate their wisdom and leadership, and their selflessness at giving back, I encourage you to watch the videos. We also developed a special interactive video experience featuring words of inspiration from each of those Laureates. It is housed exclusively on the dealers-only portion of the website.

The contribution of the Laureates in the midst of one of the toughest periods in the history of our industry showcases the value of this program.

The program will soon celebrate its 15th year, and there’s no better time to recognize the important role it plays in helping define the values, innovation, and business savvy it takes to become a world-class auto retailer.

So, if you know a dealer that deserves the recognition, make sure to nominate them!

About Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips is the editorial director of Universus Media Group Inc. and the editor of Canadian auto dealer magazine. Todd can be reached at

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