Introducing the 2022 CADA Laureates

September 30, 2022

Celebrating excellence in Ambassadorship, Business Innovation and Retail Operations


For extraordinary service to the community and the industry

Frank G. Howard
Capital Auto Group,
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Business Innovation

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

Adil Ahamed
Destination Auto Group,
Burnaby, British Columbia

Retail Operations

For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership

Sonia Koller
Otto’s Subaru,
Ottawa, Ontario


For extraordinary service to the community and the industry

Perry Itzcovitch, Hyatt Auto Group,Calgary, AB

Advice to others: Early in my career, I read the book: Passion for Excellence by Tom Peters. It inspired me to bring passion to every job I took on and make it fun. I would give the same advice to young people entering the business now. Do your best, never stop learning, work hard and you will have a rewarding and fulfilling life in this industry. This business is dynamic and always evolving, so embrace the challenges with passion.

What I like most about the business: The people are what I love the most. I have been fortunate to work with high quality dealers who make a huge difference in their communities. There are dealer representatives and current and past employees with whom I share a special connection and friendship with. The personal relationships I have developed during my career and the talent I have helped to develop as a mentor have been very rewarding.


Peter S. MacDonald, MacDonald Auto Group, Charlottetown, PEI

Advice to others: Early on in my career I received a quote from the President of Ford of Canada that read: “Management’s job is to see the company not as it is, but as it can become.” This gave me insight to make changes to move the company forward. It is important to include not just your management team but your whole employee team to bring new ideas to your dealership and the industry.

What I like most about the business: I love the complexity of the different departments, I love the forever changing technology, but without question I most love the opportunities to have met so many wonderful people over the years. From the hundred plus employees and their families, the thousands of customers, and my peers from across the country which I have met in meetings, committees and on boards, I have made friends and acquaintances that will last a lifetime.


Dave Raymond, Raymond Auto Group, Mississauga, ON

Advice to others: There is an immense amount of opportunity in the car business, to be successful and to grow as a businessperson. All you have to do is be a good teammate, work hard and listen to each other. This way, anyone will thrive.

What I like most about the business: I love being the dealer that everyone looks to as a Sales and Marketing leader. We constantly develop innovative processes that dealers try to copy. I take that as a compliment. Dealers always ask me about our website and how we go to market, achieve great reviews and be the largest volume dealer in Canada. We are usually five years ahead of everyone and are often used as a reference by Ford Motor Company.


Gerry Wood, Wood Auto Group, Calgary, AB

Advice to others: Be innovative and be ready to work hard. Foster good relationships and be able to provide exceptional customer service.

What I like most about the business: The great people that I work with and the tremendous customers and colleagues that I have met and gotten to know over the years. They have brought great meaning to my life.


Business Innovation

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


Daniel Beaucage, Groupe Beaucage, Sherbrooke, QC

Advice to others: It’s never easy to create and innovate in an industry like ours. We are governed by regulations and different rules from the manufacturers. The best advice I can give is to work very hard. The work is the key. In my case, I never keep track of the hours. I recognize this is at odds with a lot of the talk about work/ life balance, but without hard work we won’t reach our objectives. There’s an old proverb that I like: “Work like no other, retire like no other.”

What I like most about the business: I’ve always been passionate about cars. I love seeing all the new technology and vehicle models over the years. I always have the drive to succeed, move ahead and win—just like a car race!


Mark K. Hicks, Sherwood Ford, Sherwood, AB

Advice to others: Success in all fields requires hard work and perseverance that cannot be overstressed. You must have a vision and goal for your future, and you must be relentless in achieving this. The most successful people in both sales and the technical fields of our business demonstrate this behaviour. Ensure your ability to communicate in whatever format required. Communication skills in general can define your life success and is a must in the automotive industry.

What I like most about the business: I love this business for many reasons. It is competitive, sure. Yet your personal dedication and focus create tangible results for your customers, staff and yourself. I love the people, especially their positive approach to problems and challenges. Each day is unique with opportunities to build on existing customer relationships and nurture new ones. It is also rewarding to see the impact of success on the lives of our employees—to build something great together.


Guy Lussier, Lussier Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltée, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC

Advice to others: This business consists of several divisions, and it’s important to develop and encourage employees and department heads to be entrepreneurial in their approach. Make sure to provide the right conditions that promote professional development and personal growth. Rigorously support ongoing training, including training from your manufacturer. Get involved in your community. Your customer is the key element that will determine your success, and recognizing this will deliver tremendous benefits.

What I like most about the business: As an accountant, I appreciate the many facets of the automotive retail business. It brings together several small businesses such as new vehicles, used vehicles, rentals, parts, service and collision repair. Regardless of the department, they all work towards the same goal of satisfying customers and building loyalty.


Pierre Spinelli, Groupe Spinelli, Montreal, QC

Advice to others: Our industry calls on all talents. In workshops, showrooms, administrative offices or research and development centers, the automobile offers exciting prospects for those who are propelled by challenges. Live your passions with the pedal to the floor and be one of those who always wants to go further.

What I like most about the business: In an ever-changing industry where technology evolves at breakneck speed, serving customers who demand the best in automotive services propels everything we do. Choosing a motor vehicle is a major investment. What makes me happiest is knowing that our customers are fully satisfied when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle that comes from or is being serviced at one of our dealerships.


Retail Operations

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.


Bill Johnston, Johnston Chrysler, Hamilton, ON

Advice to others: My wife and I have a saying with our children, “if you are not a little bit uncomfortable then you are not trying hard enough.” I try to take this attitude to the workplace. We challenge our team to do things a little differently, try new things and accept that having some failure is normal on the road to success. Young people entering our business cannot fear change and discomfort. They need to embrace it.

What I like most about the business: What I love about the automotive retail business is that no two days are alike. We essentially are running four different businesses under one roof and our success is judged by our ability to assimilate them into one. But I also love selling vehicles. Nothing beats the feeling of helping a customer with what is often the second largest purchase they will ever make. It is all about emotions. Satisfying the emotions of your customer is a tremendous feeling.


Jim Murray, Brian Jessel BMW, Vancouver, BC

Advice to others: The growing opportunities in the automotive industry are larger than ever. Nowadays the automotive industry is full of technology and software which requires a long-term commitment to keep learning. The key to success in the industry is to view it as a career path instead of as a regular job.

What I like most about the business: The automotive retail industry is one of the most dynamic businesses in the world, where no two days are the same. This allowed me to witness and learn new business practices and apply strategies to cope with our customers’ demands. Consumer behaviours keep changing and so do we, and that’s what keeps me excited about the industry.


Don Walters, Selkirk GM, Selkirk, MB

Advice to others: As the dealership model is moving more and more towards ownership groups, the value of talented people is becoming more and more evident. Look after your employees and co-workers, treat them with respect and success will follow.

What I like most about the business: It may sound cliché, but I love that every day brings a new experience. It’s a multi-faceted industry that is constantly evolving and presenting new challenges. People love cars and trucks and that excitement is always pervasive in a dealership. I like the fact that as dealership employees we can share in that excitement.

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