ARA Award Winners Shine at AGM

Every year, the ARA recognizes businesses and individuals that demonstrate their dedication to the industry and to the Association above and beyond the call of duty and this year was no exception.

The Outstanding Community Service Award honours someone who contributes significantly to industry and their community and serves as a role model for others to do the same. The winner of the Outstanding Community Service award is a leader, a compassionate service provider, and someone striving to make the world a better place.

This year’s recipient had much more community involvement prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but with financial challenges and risks associated they had to draw back a bit this year. Nonetheless, the winner is being recognized for their prior achievements and for all they’ve done. This year the board was pleased to award the Outstanding Community Service Award to Derek Big Canoe and the Fix Auto Abbotsford East Team.

Before the pandemic, they sponsored the John Goyer Memorial Charity golf tournament held in Chilliwack to support the Abbotsford Police Department, which they have also done many times in the past and will continue to support in the future.

They donated to Fraser Health and sponsored the “Wonderful Breakfast” held last December to help raise funds for Fraser Health for new equipment.

They are an annual sponsor of the Abbotsford Airshow. This past year, given the circumstances and uncertainty of the event, they could not attend in person but supplied fleet vehicles to drive pilots and public around the grounds as needed.

For the past two years, they have supported the Abbotsford pilots, which helps the club with financial aid for many things including training and transportation costs.

Last year, they sponsored the Fraser Valley Bandits. By supporting youth in the community, by purchasing season tickets that are donated, they allow for kids to attend the games as well as interact and shoot hoops with the players during the pre-game warm-up.

They actively donate all of their scrap metal, aluminum, and batteries to the BCSPCA and have raised close to $1500 or so to aid in the animals’ welfare as well as allow the BCSPCA to operate.

They support the Abbotsford Curling club regularly and are an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, and have been for many years to help support business development in their community.

Lastly, although not since the pandemic began due to exposure risks, they regularly allow for high school students to come and do a work experience at their shop to show them the industry and what it is like to be out in the workforce. They are usually on-site for two weeks where they are placed in the detail department and exposed to the trade to see if there is any interest once graduated. This hopefully helps them to appreciate a workplace and establishes commitment and responsibility for the students.

The ARA is proud to recognize this company and team for the Outstanding Community Awards for what they do to aid in their community and the people within of all ages.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is awarded to an entrepreneur who possesses a passion for automotive, an understanding of best business practices, and the ability to strategize long-term sustainability for industry. The candidate is chosen for their forward-thinking attitude, strategic planning for both business and industry, positive interpersonal skills, helpful impact on the local community, solid ethics and integrity, and willingness to always improve.

For always demonstrating strong leadership and a constant desire to keep his sector respected and up to date, the 2021 winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year is Russ Hudson is the founder and owner of Hudson Automotive GRiP Auto & Tire.

Russ became a Red Seal Certified Technician/Mechanic at 21 and after only a few years of working at Cloverdale Shell, decided to open his own shop in 1991. It was a small shop but he had a big dream and great custumer service skills so before long the business expanded and by 2001 the business had outgrown its first shop and moved to its current location on the Langley Bypass and Fraser Highway where it now has nine bays in total.

Understanding that to grow the business, he’d have to step out of the bays and into a management role, he’s dedicated a great deal of energy towards finding and training some of the best technicians and service advisors around. “You may not see Russ every time you visit the shop now,” it says on the shop’s website, “but he sees everything that happens on a daily basis and makes sure each and every customer receives the highest level of customer service possible.”

In addition to being an ARA member, Russ is also a member of the Elite Pro Service, a network of 90 Automotive Shops across Canada and the USA, which strives to be the best in every way. He also serves on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University apprenticeship advisory board for the Automotive Service Technician training program, and previously served on an automotive advisory board at British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Selecting just one ARA Member of The Year is always a difficult challenge, especially with all the current challenges within the automotive industry. This year, with all the industry has faced, many have excelled just to stay open, keep staff, and service the industry and so, considering the support of everyone in the association, the ARA Board recognizes the entire ARA Membership as the 2021 Members of the Year.