New safety as­so­ci­a­tion aims to pro­tect auto work­ers

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - AUTOS -

THE Man­i­toba Mo­tor Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s (MMDA) new­ly­formed Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Safety As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba (MVSAM) is slowly gain­ing trac­tion. “We are still get­ting our bear­ings,” said Daryl Nielsen, the new as­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “It has taken some time for us to get to know who our con­tacts are at dif­fer­ent deal­er­ships and dealer groups. And we are re­ceiv­ing a lot of calls from deal­ers want­ing to know what we are offering.”

MVSAM was of­fi­cially in­tro­duced at a press con­fer­ence held at Mercedes-Benz Win­nipeg on May 19. “Our in­dus­try’s suc­cess de­pends on our work­ers,” said Brian Lowes, the pres­i­dent of Mercedes-Benz Win­nipeg and MMDA vice-pres­i­dent, at that time. “We are com­mit­ted to keep­ing them safe and healthy by making safety through in­jury or ill­ness preven­tion a pri­or­ity and the MVSAM will help us achieve this.”

Lowes said ev­ery year there are about 600 in­juries among new car dealer ser­vice tech­ni­cians and body shop per­son­nel. In ad­di­tion to the real hu­man cost of in­juries to work­ers, the MMDA es­ti­mates work­place in­juries cost the mo­tor ve­hi­cle in­dus­try about $30 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

The MVSAM was two years in the making and ac­cord­ing to SAFE Work Man­i­toba COO Jamie Hall, is the first new in­dus­try safety as­so­ci­a­tion es­tab­lished in the prov­ince in more than 20 years.

While the MVSAM has been fly­ing un­der the radar for its first few months, Nielsen (who served at Red River Col­lege for 25 years as the col­lege’s work­place safety di­rec­tor) and his grow­ing staff have been far from idle. The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor notes he and his team have been work­ing on de­vel­op­ing four train­ing cour­ses and they have re­cently com­pleted a pi­lot safety au­dit at the Birch­wood Group’s Lexus Toy­ota store. “We did the au­dit over two days,” said Nielsen. “We re­viewed safety doc­u­ments, in­ter­viewed man­age­ment and employees and safety com­mit­tee mem­bers about the store’s safety pro­grams. We also walked around in the store making ob­ser­va­tions.”

“Safety is al­ways a con­cern for us,” said Jeff Bachalo, Birch­wood Toy­ota Lexus re­tail fa­cil­ity man­ager. “We be­lieve that our new in­dus­try safety as­so­ci­a­tion will be able to help us take our safety pro­grams to the next level.”

A sec­ond MVSAM pi­lot pro­gram is set to get un­der­way soon in De­cem­ber at Key Chevro­let in Swan River. “We will spend the win­ter months an­a­lyz­ing the re­sults of our pi­lot pro­grams and ex­pect to be ready to hit the ground run­ning in April,” said Nielsen.

The new­est mem­ber of Nielsen’s staff is safety ad­viser Adam Ny­chuk, who had pre­vi­ously served with the Con­struc­tion Safety As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba for four years. He is look­ing for­ward to his new role with MVSAM. “MVSAM is a new as- so­ci­a­tion with new chal­lenges,” said Ny­chuk. An­nual MMDA so­cial evening De­spite the snow and wind on Thurs­day, Nov. 19, more than 250 auto deal­ers and sales reps (plus spouses and dates) en­joyed a con­vivial evening at the In­vestors Group Field’s Pin­na­cle Club lounge. The event was the MMDA’s third an­nual so­cial evening (fol­low­ing sim­i­lar get to­geth­ers at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cen­tre two years ago and the Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights last year.

The for­mal part of the evening was rel­a­tively brief. It con­sisted of re­marks by Ward Keith — cur­rent act­ing vice-pres­i­dent, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and chief prod­uct of­fi­cer at Man­i­toba Pub­lic In­sur­ance, and Daryl Nielsen, speak­ing about the new auto in­dus­try safety as­so­ci­a­tion. Sco­tia­bank Western Dealer Fi­nance Cen­tre was rec­og­nized as as­so­ciate of the year. The Ger­ald Rewucki Me­mo­rial Schol­ar­ship was pre­sented to Cole Friesen, the son of Fair­way Ford new car sales man­ager Daryl Friesen. Cole Friesen is a stu­dent at Steinbach Re­gional Sec­ondary School with a pas­sion for cars and an in­ter­est in pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the auto in­dus­try. The schol­ar­ship pro­vides Friesen with $1,000 to­ward his con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion. The schol­ar­ship hon­ours the mem­ory of the late Ger­ald Rewucki, for­mer pres­i­dent of East­ern Chrysler and one of the Sales Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram’s founders. Rewucki died in a traf­fic accident 17 years ago. The schol­ar­ships are awarded to sales cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram mem­bers and their fam­i­lies.

Ter­ryn Shiells, the MMDA’s new mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, re­ports the so­cial evening raised more that $60,000 that will be used for in­dus­try train­ing, re­cruit­ment and schol­ar­ships. MMDA ex­pands of­fice In other MMDA news, the new car dealer as­so­ci­a­tion has just com­pleted an ex­pan­sion of its of­fice at the 1121790 Welling­ton Ave., in the Hil­ton Suites Win­nipeg Air­port Busi­ness Cen­tre. Ge­off Sine, the MMDA’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, re­ports the of­fice has been al­most dou­bled in size with the ad­di­tion of an­other 980 squarefeet and the of­fice now has a staff of four — with a fifth per­son to be hired in the new year. Met­calfe’s Garage cel­e­brates On Thurs­day, Nov. 19, Tre­herne Ford dealer Met­calfe’s Garage cel­e­brated its 115th an­niver­sary as an auto dealer and 90th an­niver­sary as a Ford dealer with a sup­per for about 500 guests. The guest list in­cluded Dianne Craig, pres­i­dent and CEO, Ford Mo­tor Com­pany of Canada, Ltd., and Ger­ald Wood, gen­eral man­ager, Western Re­gion, Ford Mo­tor Com­pany of Canada, Ltd., along with other Ford of Canada dig­ni­taries and Town of Tre­herne rep­re­sen­ta­tives. “We’re proud to be a Man­i­toba fam­ily-run com­pany that is not only ded­i­cated to our busi­ness, but to our com­mu­nity as well,” said Neil Met­calfe, dealer prin­ci­pal and owner of Met­calfe’s Garage. “To be able to con­tinue a busi­ness my fam­ily has been in­volved with for five gen­era- tions is an hon­our and priv­i­lege. We truly owe our suc­cess to a loyal group of long term employees and cus­tomers who have sup­ported us through­out the years. “We are look­ing for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing our 100th an­niver­sary as a Ford dealer and 125th year in busi­ness.” Con­grat­u­la­tions to Fron­tier Toy­ota Fron­tier Toy­ota ser­vice man­ager Grant Osachuk, parts man­ager Chris Berthon and their staff re­cently achieved Toy­ota’s new Ser­vice Man­age­ment Gold sta­tus. “TSM,” Osachuk said, “is a global stan­dard to which all Toy­ota Deal­ers strive to achieve a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion level of cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, safety and qual­ity through the Toy­ota Kaizen process of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. This is the first year Toy­ota has pre­sented this award and Fron­tier Toy­ota is the only dealer in Win­nipeg to achieve Gold sta­tus in Toy­ota Ser­vice Man­age­ment this year.” The award was pre­sented by Michael Turner of Toy­ota Canada to Osachuk and Berthon and their staff on Nov. 19 at a lunch at the Re­gent Av­enue deal­er­ship. Also in at­ten­dance was Bill Har­bot­tle, pres­i­dent of the Pat­ti­son Au­to­mo­tive Group.


Ward Keith, act­ing vice-pres­i­dent, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and chief prod­uct of­fi­cer at Man­i­toba Pub­lic In­sur­ance, ad­dresses the crowd at a re­cent

MMDA so­cial evening.



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