Future Investment

J.R. Martino is General Manager
at Budds’ Collision in Oakville, Ont.,
one of the most progressive facilities
of its kind in North America.
You can reach him at

By Not Investing In Your Apprentices You Are Also Holding Back Your Business. - J.R. Martino

Building upon my last article for Collision Management in the June issue, I want to share an experience we recently had at our shop. This past month, one of our head technicians, Stephan Marshall, retired from the collision repair industry. Marshall has been with the business the past six years and has been in the industry for over 25 years.

Creating A Culture
Stephan Marshall was a true adaptor to our mandate here, with regards to building our own technicians. Being a true leader, he helped to build and develop many technicians from an early age who work at Budds` Collision today. He along with our other senior technicians have played a great role in building our own people, not only in forging our apprentices into quality workers but empowering them to become responsible professionals as well.

On both a cultural and production standpoint, Stephan Marshall will truly be missed, yet his work as a trainer and leader on the floor has helped ensure a bright future ahead. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that we have a number of young technicians developed by Marshall and our team, already looking to fill his shoes.

The point here is that if a repair facility continues to stay on track and really devote the time and effort to building its own people, it’s also positioning itself to be prepared for what the future may bring. The reality is, we work in a labour intensive trade, and technicians are only getting older. To be in it for the long run, we need to focus on the future.


Getting young apprentices actively involved in the repair
process is critical for long-term business success.

Constant Concern
Since my past article, I have received many enquiries from fellow colleagues within the collision repair industry. Many of them are teachers and administrators from various schools throughout the province. It became evident that there was a consistent concern from teachers and administrators with regards to farming their students out to collision repair facilities. They find that the majority of shops relegate students to various jobs like cleaning repaired vehicles, cleaning floors and/or being a “go” for those senior technicians. Granted, we all need to pay our dues, and there is value in these tasks when onboarding a potential apprentice, however, if we do not allow them to really dive into collision repair, we are actually doing ourselves an injustice by holding back both that student’s potential and also our facility..

Business Responsibility
In the end, it is our responsibility as shop owners and managers to promote this fantastic industry to the younger generation. And in order to do that, we need to attract, nurture and grow technicians.