Ryan Bruno named Chair of AIA Canada Board of Directors

Ryan Bruno, president and CEO of CSN Collision, is a familiar face to the Canadian collision sector and automotive aftermarket in general. In the wake of his appointment as Chair of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) Board of Directors, Collision Repair magazine sat down with Bruno, and Jean-François Champagne, president and CEO of Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada), to discuss how Bruno will bring his expertise to the role. Learn more about AIA Canada’s role in the automotive aftermarket landscape, plus Bruno’s plans for his new position in the following pages.

CRM: Jean-François, can you explain the role that the AIA Canada Chair plays? What are their responsibilities? Some of our readers may not understand the hierarchy/role distribution.

JFC: The Board of Directors of AIA Canada is responsible for setting the organization’s strategic direction and overseeing its activities. The Board appoints its Executive Committee annually and that includes second vice chair, first vice chair, chair and past chair.

The Chair of the Board works closely with the President and CEO to set the agenda and organize the work of the Board.

We act as the official spokespersons for AIA Canada.

CRM: Excellent. So, what made Ryan the right pick for the role of AIA Canada Chair right now?

JFC: Ryan was elected to the Board as a Director in 2020 and demonstrated his commitment to AIA Canada and the work of the Board.

He has been a member of our Audit and Finance Committee and has chaired the Collision Repairer Council.

He was appointed to the Executive Committee as Second Vice Chair in 2022, First Vice Chair in 2023 and this year, into the Chair role until the next annual general meeting in the spring of 2025.

In short, he has gained the respect, knowledge and skills needed to be an effective Chair of AIA Canada.

From a collision perspective, Ryan follows in the footsteps of Larry Jefferies of CARSTAR and Tony Canade of Assured Automotive, who were each Chair of AIA Canada in 2005 and 2015, respectively.

CRM: Ryan, Jean-François—what are some top-of-mind issues the Board are discussing/ facing right now? Can you explain how you’re planning to tackle them, or any plans of action or discussions taking place?

We have three key areas of focus right now, along with a multitude of other projects. But, the top three challenges we seek to tackle are:

1. Mitigating the labour shortage via improved I-CAR Canada training delivery, a released Labour Market Research Report, and the completion of two successful rounds with the Government of Ontario funded Skills Development program.

2. Access to information and competitivity – ensuring a competitive marketplace without undue market dominance, via the Competition Act.

3. Grassroot engagement: ensuring AIA Canada members and industry stakeholders are effective ambassadors for our industry.

CRM: Ryan, what do you plan to bring to the role? How do you plan to use your expertise?

RB: AIA Canada has a rich history of serving the auto care sector (also known as the automotive aftermarket) in Canada. As Chair, I plan on leveraging my background to continue down that path. My role as a facilitator at the Board level ensures that we are challenging ourselves and asking the right questions to bring continuous positive change to our industry.

CRM: Ryan, you have a wealth of experience from your career in collision repair, not to mention your familial connection to autobody. How do you believe both of these experiences will inform your leadership as Chair of AIA Canada’s Board of Directors?

RB: I have strong ties to the collision sector, going back to my childhood, but I have also been fortunate to work in other industries. Through my experiences in the collision repair industry and other industries, I have learned that there are many different perspectives that are all valid.

The automotive aftermarket is a large industry that covers mechanical, collision, glass, distribution, manufacturing, supply chain, etc. As Chair, a key part of my leadership will be ensuring that I understand the different perspectives across our industry and that we are sharing those perspectives to continuously improve our industry. For example, the collision and mechanical sectors have very different market dynamics, but we can both learn from what the other sector does well.

CRM: With your collision industry background, a lot of readers will be excited to see a familiar face as Chair. How do you plan to give a voice to collision centres during your time as Chair?

RB: AIA Canada has strong ties to the collision industry through past chairs (Larry Jeffries and Tony Canade), and oversight of I-CAR Canada and CCIF. However, there is an opportunity to improve engagement with collision centres.

For example, AIA Canada has substantial resources to advocate on behalf of the automotive aftermarket, including the collision sector, but if we (collision repairers) are not engaging with AIA Canada, it makes their job difficult.

As Chair, and in my role at CSN Collision, I have been seeking opportunities to improve the engagement between collision repairers and AIA Canada, so that AIA Canada can be more effectively work to improve conditions in our industry. I see my competitors doing the same, and I think that is great.

CRM: Lastly, how do you envision the initiatives and goals of the AIA Canada Board of Directors evolving under your leadership? What outcomes or achievements would you like to see during your tenure as Chair?

RB: To be practical, the initiatives and goals will not change during my one-year term as Chair. However, by the time my tenure on the Board ends, I will have been a Director for six years, and for four of those years, I will have been on the Executive Committee.

It’s the six-year time frame that really allows me to shape the direction of AIA Canada together with the other members of the Board. Like running a collision centre, it’s a team effort.

However, when I get to the end of my term, I would like to be able to look back and say that we pushed ourselves to embrace the change that is coming in our industry. I would also like to see more interaction between AIA Canada and collision repairers. If we make progress in those two areas, our industry will be headed in the right direction.

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