Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 17

17

* JULY 2019

By JIL McINTOSH

OSHAWA CORRESPONDENT

KEEGAN DE FRANCE

CUSTOM PAINTING, COLLISION
WORLD ARE 'TWIN BROTHERS'
WITH CREATIVE TALENT
from his mother and a penalty from his father for dropping his clothing-design studies, Keegan De France began a
circuitous journey to become
head automotive refinisher at
Formula Honda in Toronto.
"I paint cars, doing
priming, sanding, sealing,
colour-matching, and finish-matching if there's orange
peel in the paint," said the
34-year-old. "Most of the cars
are warranty, accident repair,
or a used car that has damage
when it's traded in."
De France's father was
part-owner of Don Valley
Volkswagen in Toronto.
"When I was eight years old,
he would pay me $25 a month
to clean the body-shop office
every two weeks. On the
school summer break, I'd work
in the cleanup department, and
I had worked up to prepping
cars and getting them ready
for paint."
Heavily into street culture,
including airbrushing T-shirts,
he went to college for fashion
design. He
wanted to
create men's
clothing,
but when he
discovered
the course
focused on
women's
fashions, he
dropped out.
"My dad
put me into the wash bay as
a form of punishment. I stuck
with it, and eventually he put
me back into the prep bay."
De France learned to paint
inner surfaces as prep for
the painter, and then got his
painting certification through
Centennial College in Toronto.
When a position opened at the
dealership, he became a fulltime painter.
He moved to Formula
Honda when the Volkswagen
store was sold. In his spare
time, he creates airbrushed
and pinstriped art panels,
which he sells at car shows.
"It's a progression of paint
control and layering techniques. Custom painting and
the collision world are twin
brothers."

Father's punishment
inspires artistic flair
in the body shop

Keegan De France wanted
to design men's clothing,
not women's, so he quit his
studies. As a result, his father
put him to work in the wash
bay. He now puts his talent to
use in the paint booth.
P H O TO S U P P L I E D B Y
KEEGAN DE FRANCE

the entire company is well-informed to differentiate the subbrands."
This means tracking and
reporting sales numbers
and targets for retailers and
regions, working with them to
promote specific models, and
tackling brand advertising and
electrification awareness.
"At two per cent of our
overall sales volume currently,
[electric] may seem minimal,
but it's the future of our automotive industry and there's a
lot of focus in that business."
Marcotte earned a business degree in sports administration and management
at Laurentian University in
Sudbury, Ont.
Having done some communications internships at
school, Marcotte's first job was
public-relations manager at
Medieval Times dinner theatre
in Toronto. He moved to an
event-marketing company and
was assigned to BMW. Three
years later, in 1999, BMW
made it an in-house position
and Marcotte was picked up by
the automaker.
He became director of corporate communications and

RONNEL DEL
ROSARIO

1988 HONDA PRELUDE LEADS
TO AWARD-WINNING CAREER
HE BOUGHT HIS FIRST CAR
in high school and, like many
kids, he needed his father to
help change the oil.
Look where it led.

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cians to write an online exam,
and those with the highest
scores go to a national event
in Toronto for a hands-on test.
From there, the top finishers
compete in Japan.
"I really wanted to go to
Japan, so I studied really hard
for the entrance exam and
got 100 per cent. When I won
Toronto, I couldn't believe it.
I didn't know I was that good.
I wanted to be as good as the
shop foreman or better, and
didn't know I caught up so
fast.
"I didn't place in Japan,
but I was so honoured to be on
stage with such talent, doing
what I'm passionate about. To
me, that was better than winning." - ANC

Ronnel Del Rosario credits
his 1988 Honda Prelude
for his passion for the car
hobby. He turned that into
a career and earlier this
year represented Canada
in Honda's international
diagnostics competition.
P H O TO : H O N D A C A N A D A

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KEVIN MARCOTTE

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WEARING THREE HATS
TO PROMOTE THE BRAND

FOR A VEHICLE TO SELL,
there needs to be a link
between buyers and the brand,
and Kevin Marcotte is that
link. He gets the word out as
BMW Canada's national manager for its M, electric i, and
Luxury Class brands.
"Day to day, I can wear any
of three different hats," said
Marcotte, 53. "I work with our
field sales staff and retailers
to drive sales, along with all
the business areas of BMW
Canada, including marketing,
after sales, and financial services. My aim is to ensure that

then spent a decade as director of marketing before moving into his current position
in 2016.
"The biggest challenge is
determining priority focus,
ensuring all areas are well-informed, and differentiating
the sub-brands for a competitive edge. The most fulfilling
aspect is the commitment of
our retailers and associates [as
well as customer satisfaction].
"The culture of the company is young and performance-driven, and that energizes me."

The boy, Ronnel Del
Rosario, is now 28 and a
team-leader technician at
Wheaton Honda in Edmonton.
And earlier this year he represented Canada in Honda's
international diagnostics competition.
"We're a big shop, with 24
bays," said Del Rosario. "We
have three team leaders -
each in charge of six other
technicians - and I'm one of
them."
That first car, a 1988 Honda
Prelude, which he still owns,
was the key. Del Rosario wanted to modify it but didn't know
how, and decided to go to
school to learn.
He attended Edmonton's
Northern Alberta Institute of
Technology, which required
him to shadow technicians.
Since he owned a Honda, he
applied at Millwood Honda,
which became Wheaton
Honda.
"The service manager took
me on as a shadow and said
after I passed, he would take
me on as an apprentice. I started at the bottom washing cars,
then to accessories for new
vehicles, and then pre-delivery inspection. Once the main
shop had an opening, they put
me in there."
The diagnostics competition requires techni-

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Kevin Marcotte emphasizes
the importance of electric
cars to the future of the BMW
brand. P H O TO : B M W C A N A D A

Trevor Trinidad | VP Sales
Call / Text: 604-723-3622
Email: trevor@dsgauto.ca

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Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2

Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 21
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Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 28
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