2021 CADA Laureate FINALISTS

(Read more about the 2021 CADA Laureates here…)



For extraordinary service to the community and the industry

Jean Sébastien Thibeault

Jean-Roch Thibeault Group, Baie-Saint-Paul, QC

Advice to others:
First of all, they must be determined, have the willpower, be passionate, love teamwork, and surround themselves with people with the same philosophy, along with a dose of compassion; these are major assets. A great thirst for learning is necessary, because the automotive field is in perpetual evolution, being constantly in research and development mode.

What I like most about the business:
I am always researching and developing, being at the forefront and innovating in the latest technologies in order to improve the quality of the work of our employees. I like to defuse tense situations, and I am empathetic in my attentive listening to our customers. And I like to be in solution mode, supporting the staff.

Marc Bourassa

Bourassa Auto Group, Dorval, QC

Advice to others:
No matter what job you aspire to have within the dealership, set realistic career goals for yourself and always put yourself in a mental state that aims for success. Basically, it is your ATTITUDE that will determine your ALTITUDE. When you arrive at work in the morning, you step on the scene like an actor.

What I like most about the business:
The people who aim to improve themselves within their dealership is part of what I love most about this business. That and the wonderful automotive technology that is constantly evolving. Everything that is new is fascinating. Moreover, routine does not exist. We are living in perpetual change that gives our lives a sense of discovery.

Mike Hacquard

Wolfe Auto Group, Surrey, BC

Advice to others:
My advice to any young person entering the automotive business would be to always have the willingness to work hard, learn, and adapt to the ever changing automotive industry. [And] to also ensure they are exceeding the client’s needs and expectations to build a long lasting relationship. Hard work will be well rewarded.

What I like most about the business:
I love seeing the evolving, innovative technology and design of the automotive industry, especially with the brands we carry, as well as serving the public. Even with 40 years in the industry and 30 years as a dealer, I still love seeing the excitement of a client picking up their new vehicle.

Sonia Koller

Otto’s Ottawa Group, Ottawa, ON

Advice to others:
Each and everyone of us has a unique gift; discover what your gift is. Learn everything there is to learn, commit fully and give everything you have, everyday. This will set you apart. Approach your career with passion and integrity, support the people you work with, and truly care about your clients and you will achieve great things.

What I like most about the business:
It is an ever-changing, complex, challenging, and exciting business; there is never a dull moment! The automotive industry allows us the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of the people we serve, the people we work with and the community we operate within. Everyday is a different day!



For initiatives that significantly enhance performance or broaden the scope of business for new car and truck dealers

Frank Howard

Capital Auto Group, St. John’s, NL

Advice to others:
I encourage young people entering our industry to be bold, be mindful, be innovative and most importantly be yourself. By pushing yourself and your co-workers to “think big” every day, you can learn to better identify roadblocks and move beyond simply treating the symptoms in your operation.

What I like most about the business:
Quite simply, what dealers can accomplish in the community. While I’m incredibly proud of our business accomplishments, it’s helping those less fortunate that rewards me more than anything else at this stage of my career. I learned early that the feeling of helping others is the greatest fruit of any business success.

Jared Priestner

Go Auto Group, Edmonton, AB

Advice to others:
It starts with setting your sights high to learn, grow and succeed! There are no limits to how far you can take your career in this business. My advice is to have the courage to stretch yourself and innovate to find better ways that improve customer outcomes and your work processes.

What I like most about the business:
What I love most is how it allows me to provide a place where people can grow their career and be successful beyond their wildest dreams. It is also a business that serves an important need in the community and requires a win-win focus for all its stakeholders to be successful.

John Kot

Kot Auto Group, Kelowna, BC

Advice to others:
My advice to young people is to discover how exciting and diversified this business is. The rewards can be very substantial and never ending. There’s so many different little businesses or aspects within a dealership that make it one of a kind and every single day is different.

What I like most about the business:
I love to mentor and see my team grow in their position. There are endless possibilities in this industry, so to see someone come in with zero experience to then grow to be one of the top sales people in Western Canada, that’s success to a business owner.

Peter Schoen

Peter Schoen Group, North Bay, ON

Advice to others:
Never give up on your dream to become an automotive professional. Remain curious, ask questions, be observant and prepared to continuously learn. My advice to a young person is, look for mentors and coaches that want to provide you with the opportunity to grow and prosper. Your success becomes their success.

What I like most about the business:
I love the fact that the business is transforming rapidly, due to breakthrough digital technologies and business model disruption. The pandemic has created problems and has also created opportunities for those who embrace change and are willing to try new and better ways of doing business.



For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership

Hugues Carle

Carle Ford, Gatineau, QC

Advice to others:
To be successful in automotive retail takes discipline and consistency. The great investor Warren Buffet once said, “We don’t have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest.”

What I like most about the business:
What I love most about the automotive retail industry is the unpredictability and richness of everyday encounters, both with customers and employees. Having the opportunity to work daily with an enthusiastic team towards a common goal is extremely rewarding, especially when the team that supports us is made up of people who are just as passionate as we are.

Jonathan Eltes

Mercedes-Benz Brampton, Brampton, ON

Advice to others:
I’ve personally seen countless life altering experiences (for the better) this industry has afforded people who otherwise wouldn’t have afforded those gifts. You don’t have to be big to dream big. Regardless of the position you are in. Just put your head down, go to work, give it your all, and great things will happen.

What I like most about the business:
What I love about being in the retail automotive industry is exactly that. It’s retail, which allows me to interact directly with the client, build a direct one-on-one relationship.

J.P. Kovac

Gyro Mazda, Toronto, ON

Advice to others:
For the young people entering the business today, it’s so important to learn as many roles as possible. In the arc of a person’s life there are only so many opportunities that present themselves. The first thing you must do is be able to identify those opportunities. The second thing you need to do is act.

What I like most about the business:
Aiding in the development of people has always been what I love the most about this business. Seeing the potential in people and giving them the opportunity to grow is so satisfying. This business can be very challenging, but coming together with our team to overcome obstacles and achieve mutual success keeps me motivated.

Serge Le Roux

Toyota Drummondville, Drummondville, QC

Advice to others:
You have to love what you do above all! Then, you have to be passionate, persevering, determined, believe in your dreams, but above all, you have to know how to surround yourself with the right people. Because in business, great accomplishments have never been made by one person, but by a team of dedicated and passionate people.

What I like most about the business:
What I love most about our business is the people. Both employees and customers. When it comes to employees, I like to see them achieve, excel, and grow. For customers, it is seeing them leave with a smile and completely satisfied following a purchase or service obtained in our dealership.


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