Toronto, Ontario -- March 15, 2017 -- The results are in from the 27th annual Toronto District School Board competition in Auto Collision and Car Painting. Competitors from this event may go on to the Skills Ontario Competition, taking place May 1 to 3, 2017, at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Noah Gommel took the gold in the Auto Collision competition, with Gavin William and Jonathan Little taking the silver and bronze respectively. Matthew Norris was the top-ranked competitor in Car Painting, with Mimmasha Basher taking the silver medal.
The competition took place at Toronto's Danforth Collegiate. Bill Speed is the school's autobody instructor and has been an active volunteer with the Skills program since 1992. This particular competition, however, is Speed's last. He is retiring from the teaching profession at the end of the school year.
"I keep coming back because I see the need in the industry and it is great seeing competitors excel when they are put out of their comfort zone," he said. "The skills we test are, in some cases, skills they have yet to learn or master."
Since 1992, Speed has chaired the Toronto District School Board Auto Collision and Car Painting Skills Competitions, and he strives to keep the competitions relevant to the needs of the industry year after year. The quality of the competition greatly improved under the mutual efforts of Speed and the former Ontario Chair for Skills Canada, the late Ron Postma, when the two took over running the Auto Collision and Car Painting competitions in 1994.
“We never looked back,” he said. “To us, it was all about giving our students the best chance of success in their future. We both had strong ties to industry and we knew that there was a need for skilled technicians.”
Speed has worked tirelessly to bring industry judges to competitions, and he said it's enjoyable hearing judges comment positively on the quality of competitors' work. As for why he continues to actively work to help students through skills competitions, he said it's important to recognize the value of the competitions and the job prospects they can mean for competitors going forward.
"I had a young lady compete in car painting a couple of years ago and between Provincials and Nationals, she was handed 12 business cards and offers of work when she graduated," he said. "That is reason enough to keep on coming back."
This year's competition was judged by Kirk Edwards of BASF, Stu Klein of Fix Auto, Frank Dinardo of Danforth CTI and Hartley Ellis of the Ontario College of Trades.