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Building a Career in Auto Body Repair

Autosphere » Collision » Building a Career in Auto Body Repair
Stéphanie Bouchard, General Manager of three ProColor Collision shops, has forged her place within the Saguenay region’s auto industry. Photo Groupe Bouchard

Co-owner with father Régis of three ProColor Collision shops in the Saguenay area, Stéphanie Bouchard has carved out a place for herself in a traditionally masculine, but unexpectedly receptive industry.

Stéphanie did have to prove herself with the team, but more so because she’s the owner’s daughter than because she’s a woman. Her father, Régis took the business over from his father Raymond, who opened their first shop in 1972.

“I put in some time on the floor also, mostly during my studies, but it’s only when I got back from university, accounting diploma in hand, that I took up my rightful place in the offices with my mom Nathalie. The family business has always been a big deal to me and I couldn’t really see myself working in an accountant’s office.”

Earning her stripes

While the entrepreneurially minded Stéphanie started in accounting, as soon as was tasked with estimates and appraisals, she quickly realized that therein lay the key to the business’s profitability and immediately felt that she had something to contribute to this aspect of operations. Her current position as general manager was subsequently carved out for her based on these ambitions.

“We complement each other pretty well,” she says about her father. Building on these complementary strengths, the Bouchards, who’ve been with ProColor Collision ever since they launched their first shop, seized the opportunity to acquire a second shop in 2012, and then a third in 2018—all under ProColor banner.

The right skills and attitude

Stéphanie says that her success boils down to two things: talent and heart. “I believe that it’s possible to be humane with workers and partners without losing sight of the performance objectives that ensure our collective success. And for me, no matter the person, the colour of their skin or their gender, I judge them based on their skills and attitude.”

With the Certified Collison Care (CCC) certification to service Ford, Nissan, FCA, Kia, Hyundai and Genesis vehicles, it goes without saying that training is a priority for their three shops. “We’d like for one of our shops to specialize in servicing electric vehicles, but relevant training is hard to come by in our region,” she goes on to say.

The business employs approximately thirty employees in stable teams. Readers won’t be surprised to hear that several positions both in the offices and on the shop floor are held by women. And they aren’t there because they’re women but because they’re qualified and efficient. Stéphanie forthrightly states that the auto industry has welcomed her with open arms.

“As an entrepreneur, I enjoy overseeing all operations. I’m perfectly happy in my current role gaining experience while taking over from my father. Acquisitions are on the back burner for the time being, my current focus is on optimizing operations. There’s always room for improvement and we want to remain a leader in our region.”

 

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