The 78th Annual General Meeting of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada was held online April 29.
AIA members and interested parties from the automotive aftermarket joined the meeting via the provided link.
A choir of many types of people and children from Newfoundland-Labrador proudly sang Canada’s National Anthem before JF Champagne, AIA President, gave some opening remarks. He then presented Jason Best, Senior Vice President, Sales, Uni-Select Canada, and AIA Chairman, to call the meeting to order.
After all reports had been stated and voted upon, and the report on AIA Activities and Board Actions had been heard, it was time to welcome the new AIA Directors for the next three years: Steve Leal, President & CEO, Fix Network (returning for another three-year term); Shannon Spano, Vice President, Sales, Wakefield Canada; Bruno Leclair, P.Eng., President & CEO, Unimax/Point S Canada, Stox Distribution; Ryan Bruno, CFO, CSN Collision Centres, and Bill Hay, President, Bestbuy Distributors Limited.
Outgoing AIA Chairman
Jason Best, 2019 AIA Chairman had wonderful remarks about his term of office and the Board of Directors. He will spend another year with AIA as Outgoing Chair.
We have challenges out front and I expect the industry and the Association will succeed collectively as a team…. the members have an unwavering duty to the success of AIA.
— Jason Best, Chairman, AIA
Brent Hesje, CEO Fountain Tire, Outgoing AIA Chair announced the winner of the Young Leader of the Year Award… Derek Suen of Dorman Products where he is the North American Manager of the New Product Development Team. Suen dedicated his award to his good friend, the late Roy Shannon explaining that in his travels with Roy he learned much about the business and how best to approach it and the people. You can read more about Suen in an article currently on our website at autosphere.ca.
The AIA Executive Committee was then introduced: Immediate Past Chair, Jason Best, Uni-Select; Vice Chair Bob Jaworski, Auto Electric Service and Incoming Chair, Susan Hitchon, Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre and the first woman to become AIA Chair.
Susan Hitchon addressed those tuned in to the AIA AGM and made it perfectly clear that the Canadian automotive aftermarket needed to ‘Keep out in front’! She got this message from a letter written in 1939 by her husband’s Grandfather who owned a family business. In it he wrote, ‘You must keep in step with progress; keep out in front.’
And Hitchon applied those words to today’s aftermarket as well as AIA who did not shrink back when the COVID crisis hit but moved fully ahead to assure the Canadian government that the aftermarket was indeed an essential service. To this end, the ASPS have been able to continue to work and feed their families… they have adapted, pivoted! And the manufacturers and WDs have continued to get product to the ASPs so they can carry on.
Hitchon stated, “Be assured that AIA will keep in step with the progress and ‘keep out in front’ as will the Canadian aftermarket industry. AIA continues to work on key projects that are essential to our future such as the “Your Car/Your Data/Your Choice” campaign where AIA has partnered with the Auto Care Association and AASA.
She emphasized that member participation in AIA activities is critical at this time, expressing that “your expertise, your opinion, your support” is highly valued and helps drive the direction of AIA.”