An AGM of Firsts

L to R: Cassidy Kannemeyer (minister Mark’s spouse), ARA chairman Ron Tremblay, minister Melanie Mark, ARA president & CEO Adrian Scovell.

This year’s AGM was one of the best ever with the highest attendance in recent years. Part of making this one the best was all the firsts. It was the first time the event was held at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos. The first time hosting a show and shine. And the first time multiple senior managers from ICBC attended to engage with members.

The weekend started early as golfers gathered Friday morning for a round at the Sonora Dunes Golf Course behind the resort. A lovely afternoon turned into a lovely evening back on the resort. As part of the Chairman’s Cocktail Reception—where Chairman Ron Tremblay announced that Interim President and CEO Adrian Scovell was interim no more—the ARA held its first ever Show and Shine, thanks to the generous sponsorship from BASF.

During the reception, attendees were also delighted by a traditional opening ceremony performed by a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band. He performed a song accompanied by drum and afterward smudged the area to invite positivity into the meeting the next day.

Saturday morning began an address from Adrian who spoke about heading into a new era and what this means for the automotive industry. One of the biggest announcements was that of the closure the ARA has received in regards to ICBC and the Competition Bureau. From this comes a culture of working with ICBC, the provincial government, and the entire industry for a robust and viable aftermarket industry.

After lunch, Honourable Melanie Mark, ministry of advanced education, skills and training, spoke to members about what a viable economy for the trades looks like. “I’m here because I really value the work that you do,” she said. “I learned a lot about the industry and how a lot of you are running small, family-run businesses and so to share with you my values as a person—I value my family, the communities we live in, and hard work. I think the government’s job is to work alongside you as a partner.”

Minister Mark encouraged members to visit with their local MLAs alongside ARA representatives. She stressed the importance of local business owners and the link to local MLAs. Government listens when a message comes from multiple sources within local ridings.

After the minister’s presentation, Nicolas Jimenez, Sabi Bains, Kathy Parslow, and Greg Beauregard from ICBC took to the stage to talk about some of what the corporation is working on and to answer questions. Along with Sonny Senghera, they made themselves available throughout the weekend to engage with members and address concerns.

“We like working with Ron [Tremblay] and Adrian [Scovell] and the rest of the ARA team because they’re committed to building a strong relationship based on trust,” said Jimenez. “They hold us to account. They’re forthright and tell us what they think but they’re also practical and try to get to solutions for the problems that we share as two partners in a very difficult business. We are excited to carry on with this working relationship.”

In the evening, attendees reconvened for the banquet and awards ceremony. Marc Bergevin, Adesa, and Cody Darby, Western Canada Remarketing, both received member of the year awards, the auto recyclers won division of the year, and Ed Wasney of Wasney Automotive Ltd. was given the lifetime achievement award for all his positive contributions to the ARA.

Following the awards, Adesa’s Marc Bergevin and John MacDonald put on quite a show as they auctioned off everything from trips and mountain bikes to socks and a mystery box. Through the auction, $17,200 was raised for the Automotive Retailers Foundation Inc. (ARFI). A total of $28,000 was awarded this year in scholarships and bursaries to young professionals looking to pursue careers in the automotive industry. The ARA hopes to give away even more next year.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who attended and to the many sponsors who made this event possible. Everyone at the ARA is already looking forward to next year’s AGM.

To view the entire gallery of AGM photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/u724Po1oG6mrBKWr7