New safety association aims to protect auto workers
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.