The 2023 Laureate Finalists



For extraordinary service to the community and the industry


Preston Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd., Langley, B.C.

Advice to others:
This business remains one of great opportunities in my view. Where else can someone with little more than a great deal of desire and a hard work ethic be so well rewarded and appreciated? My advice for those starting out would be to not move around to different dealerships. Be patient, develop your clientele over time. Look at your employment as a partnership with your dealer. Pursue your career goals within an organization or group rather than chasing the unknown. You will be rewarded. Make an effort to give back to your industry and community — it will be returned to you in so many ways. Also, everyone claims to be an expert in this business. Before deciding who to listen to, check out their own accomplishments. Choose carefully who you associate with. There are a great many admirable people in the new car dealership world.

What I like most about the business:
The business is ever changing, evolving and ultra-competitive. If you stand still for a moment, you fall behind. I can’t wait to get to work each morning. Seeing the happiness in people’s faces when taking delivery of a new vehicle is most gratifying! I also note that if there is something good happening in a community (fundraising, sports, charity, etc.), chances are a new vehicle dealer is playing a meaningful role. As a result, I am very proud to be part of our industry.



Kalawsky Auto Group, Castlegar, B.C.

Advice to others:
Get involved in committee work with your provincial dealers association. You will meet interesting and engaged people that you can learn a lot from. Also, I would take the time to learn the fundamentals of operating a business, including how to read and interpret financial statements. Running a dealership is complex, busy and challenging. Sometimes all of the tasks and responsibilities and decisions are overwhelming. In midst of all the noise and distractions, understanding the financial position and performance of your dealership will help you focus, reset your priorities, and make better decisions with a clear mind.

What I like most about the business:
I find the business to be interesting, challenging and rewarding. You are empowered to make a direct impact on your business. When you make a decision, you will often see the results of that decision, good or bad, quite quickly. I also enjoy the people that work in this industry. They are interesting, engaged, hardworking and personable, and a pleasure to spend time with.



Centaur Subaru, Calgary, Alta.

Advice to others:
Time is the most important commodity you have, and the most important element you can invest in. Sometimes you will be compensated for your time and sometimes you won’t; that’s okay! Use your time to learn and gain understanding. Volunteer for committees and dealer associations. Participate in factory dealer councils, dealer advertising associations, parts & service advisory boards, etc. Many times, people get asked to serve but say “I don’t think I have the time to do this.” This is a huge mistake. Others trust in your ability and are encouraging you for your insight. The time you invest will be the foundation of your future success.

What I like most about the business:
The innovation. To compare technology and features from vehicles three decades ago versus today is simply astonishing. I work with a brand that has a very loyal customer base. The returning customers are always shocked by the changes they see in the new models.



Wood Auto Group, Calgary, Alta.

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.




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


Sherwood Ford, Sherwood, Alta.

Advice to others:
For young people embarking on a career in the automotive industry, my advice is to find an organization whose business purpose, vision, and values, matches your own, and then cultivate an unwavering commitment to hard work and perseverance in that environment. It is crucial to have a clear and focused vision for your future, and to pursue your goals with dedication and passion. Those who have achieved the highest levels of success in both sales and technical roles in our industry have consistently exhibited these behaviours. Seek out mentors and seasoned professionals who can provide guidance and insight into the industry.

What I like most about the business:
I absolutely love the automotive retail business and the personal daily opportunity to interact with both customers and staff! It is truly a people business, and the people are what make this industry truly special, with their positivity and willingness to tackle any problem or challenge that comes their way. Each day requires focus and brings fresh and exciting opportunities to sharpen your mind while building your team and customer relationships. I enjoy the challenges of fierce competition, and the fact that personal dedication, attention to detail, and work ethic, can create real and meaningful results for myself, our staff, and my family.



Landry Automobiles Ltée, Laval, Qué.

Advice to others:
If you treat customers honestly and your goal is to make their buying experience a simple and transparent one, customers will reward you and your dealer with higher volume, more references, and a good reputation which often also creates better profits and a lot less headaches than when a dealer who chases profit by executing questionable business practices. Also, by being honest you are setting up your store to be in business for a long time and your honest reputation will attract a better class of potential employees.

What I like most about the business:
I love the strategy the most; automotive retail is a competitive sport and it’s a chess game. I get great pleasure working with our dealer’s team members who are motivated and want to outperform and be the best we can be whilst building strategies and executing on them. And to then have those strategies reward us with the success we have lived. It’s a lot of fun.



Kaizen Auto Group, Calgary, Alta.

Advice to others:
Prioritize exceptional customer service for long-term success. Put the time in the dealership and learn the business and keep current with market trends. The grass isn’t always greener at another dealership. Seek mentorship from experienced professionals. Develop strong communication skills for building relationships. Embrace technology and digital tools to stay competitive. Cultivate a strong work ethic and be proactive in your role. Embrace a growth mindset, learn from setbacks, and strive for excellence. With dedication, perseverance, and continuous improvement, you can thrive in the automotive retail business.

What I like most about the business:
I love the automotive industry because of the stiff competition and the different challenges it presents every day. The competitive nature of the industry pushes me to constantly strive for excellence, innovate, and find new ways to stand out from the crowd. It’s exhilarating to be part of a dynamic environment where dealerships compete for customers, market share, and profitability. I thrive on the excitement of finding creative solutions, surpassing goals, and delivering exceptional service to customers.



Groupe Spinelli, Montreal, Qué.

Advice to others:
Regardless of your field of expertise, the automotive retail sector is an exciting and challenging industry that is, more than ever, evolving at full throttle. Let yourself be carried away by your passions, as our business offers career opportunities that allow you to grow to the heights of your ambitions. Always be true to your values.

What I like most about the business:
I’ve always been passionate and fueled by innovation and technology. The dynamic nature of the industry, combined with the opportunity to connect with customers and help them find their perfect vehicle makes every day exciting and fulfilling for me and for all my colleagues.



For outstanding achievement within an individual dealership


Dean Cooley Motors, Dauphin, Man.

Advice to others:
The advice I would give young people is to take every opportunity to immerse yourself in the industry. Let the automotive world show you all the exciting ways to have a great career in an ever changing, exciting, and dynamic business. Each role within a dealership is equally as important and should be treated as such. From the detail center, service bay, sales floor, or management team, having a wellrounded knowledge and respect for each role will enhance the success of your career. If you focus and work hard the automotive business will reward you. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it.

What I like most about the business:
I love coming to work and helping people. Being a part of that excitement when a first-time buyer gets their own set of keys or providing that sense of relief when a service customer’s vehicle is returned running like new makes what we do rewarding. I enjoy seeing teammates having success; whether it be achieving journeyperson status or having a record sales year. It’s celebrating the individual successes that makes this industry fun.



Westridge Buick, GMC Ltd., Lloydminster, Alta.

Advice to others:
Go for it! Get in it and stay in it. This industry is going to be so full of change and challenge for many decades and it is a great career. Work hard, really hard and put in the time to master your craft and the rewards are endless. When you get in, be full speed ahead and live it. Learning how to build quality relationships is a skill you can use in every facet of your life along with the auto business. The world has enough average people so go be great! Make sure to surround yourself with people that are better than you so you see what is available. You are in control of 95 per cent of what you need to be to have great success, don’t get bogged down in the 5 per cent.

What I like most about the business:
The pace and the people. Nothing beats the fast pace of the auto industry. Every minute of the day there are things happening throughout the store. I have said it is like the Las Vegas of work environments, there is never a dull moment! The people make the days even better! The best part is the relationships made along the way with staff and customers.



Porsche Centre Oakville, Oakville, Ont.

Advice to others:
First, build a solid foundation through education. Acquire the necessary knowledge and craft to navigate the industry’s intricacies. Turn your devotion for the industry into a business. Let your enthusiasm drive your efforts and fuel your motivation. Find the sweet spot that aligns interests and capitalize on it. Focus on delivering a complete service from the moment a customer enters the building until your last employee leaves for the day. Strive for excellence in every step of your journey. Prepare to work–hard. Practice discipline and continuous improvement. The industry demands dedication and constant learning. The success and rewards you can achieve surpass your imagination. Witnessing people’s dreams come true is a privilege.

What I like most about the business:
People — whether employees, clients, partners, community members, or colleagues, mean the world to me. Their well-being is of utmost importance, and it’s a privilege to serve. Daily, I wake up excited about witnessing automotive tech advancements that revolutionize traveling. Vehicles are humanity’s greatest invention. The satisfaction felt seeing the joy on customers’ faces is priceless. It’s like living my childhood dream daily in an unparalleled emotional experience. That, for me, is pure magic!



BMW Montréal Centre, Montréal, Qué.

Advice to others:
Go for stability, and be patient. The key to success in automotive is perseverance. Many young people change careers and businesses many times over the course of a lifetime. Stability leads to the development of expertise, and this is what can make you stand out today! You have to work hard and obviously love what you do to have fun. You should not be afraid to share your ideas. Value and respect the experience of your superiors, but don’t be afraid to take your place. After all, it is the next generation that will modernize the automotive field!

What I like most about the business:
Each day is never like the previous one. I like the customer contact and the fact that we have the chance to help every customer who comes through the door: whether it is in service to repair their vehicle, or in sales to find what really meets their needs. It is also an environment that is constantly evolving and there is always something to improve upon!



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