Spotlight on Alexandre Lajeunesse: Proving that opportunities are limitless
Having started down a career path in the automotive industry at the age of 16, Alexandre Lajeunesse displays a never-ending passion for the industry. His journey from dealerships to the auto care sector has allowed him to develop knowledge that touches on multiple facets of the automotive industry—giving him the skills to help modernize our industry by supporting companies in the auto care sector.
Director of Operations at PME Guru
Did you know you wanted to work in the auto care sector?
I have always had a passion for cars. My parents like to say that one of my first words was “Toyota” because, from the age of two, I was captivated by the song in their commercial.
How long have you been a part of the auto care industry?
When I was 15, I got my first summer job washing cars in the yard of a dealership. Every day, my task was to clean the vehicles to remove insect eggs that could eventually damage the bodywork. At the time, I didn’t realize that this job would be the start of my career in this industry.
What is your background in the auto care industry?
My first real professional experience was at the age of 16 as a parts clerk at Canadian Tire. Subsequently, I continued my career as a parts clerk at Toyota, before being recruited as a technical advisor for Lexus. However, a toxic work environment pushed me to go back to school and attend CEGEP, while returning to a job at Canadian Tire.
Later, I started thinking with my heart instead of my head again, and took a second look at the automotive industry because I wanted to accomplish more. That’s what led me to take the position of Parts & Service Manager at Suzuki, which marked the end of my six years in the world of dealerships. I realized that the more rigid environment didn’t suit my personality, so I turned to another type of company in the automotive industry: recycled parts! That’s how I joined Lecavalier Auto Parts, where I had the opportunity to hold several positions. During my six years of employment, I found my lane in an environment focused on relationships and customer service.
At some point, I wondered whether to become an entrepreneur or continue in a big company. I accepted a position as a store manager at Uni-Select to clarify my future choices. I accumulated positions and projects at Uni-Select over the next five years, until finally realizing my dream of entrepreneurship by becoming the owner of the Garage Max mechanical workshop in St-Hubert, where I practiced for six years.
I am self-taught, always eager to do more. However, I have always had a vision to progress step by step and master one thing before moving on to the next.
That is kind of how I have built my career.
What company do you currently work for, and what is your position?
I recently sold my Garage Max mechanical workshop. I am now the Director of Operations at PME Guru. While I have immensely enjoyed my six years as an entrepreneur, I now have the desire to contribute and invest more in the industry, and my new role is perfect for that. I am also the Vice-Chair of the AIA Canada’s Quebec Division.
What is the biggest challenge or lesson you have faced in your career as an entrepreneur?
For a long time, I had a fiery entrepreneurial spirit, but I hadn’t yet fully exploited my aspirations. I held rewarding positions in various companies, but I always felt an insatiable desire to go further. My impatience and desire to do things my way could sometimes hinder my performance and career development. I felt a little stuck. That is when Raymond Perron took me under his wing and redefined my expectations and my way of being. He helped me plan for my future.
At the beginning of our reflection, I had considered the purchase of a parts store. Eventually, I found a partner with complementary skills, and we acquired our own mechanical workshop. It was not an easy task; we visited at least 75 workshops before finally purchasing in Saint-Hubert.
As an entrepreneur, I learned the ins and outs of mechanics first and foremost. My employees relied on me, having become a resource they turned to for advice. So, I had to quickly acquire knowledge in the aspects of the job that were less familiar to me. This unexpected role also allowed me to develop my human resources management skills. This new experience has provided me with valuable tools and a better understanding of how to bring people together around a common goal.
What advice would you give young students or anyone considering a transition into the auto care sector?
My wish is to participate in transforming the industry to make it more and more inclusive. Rather than simply encouraging young people to persevere through the sometimes difficult first years, I prefer to fulfill my desire of being able to mobilize a large number of players in this industry to facilitate the path of young people. My goal is to make the industry more attractive and offer better opportunities to the next generation. Passion should not be blind, but reciprocal. I hope to be able to give you the industry you would like to have for the future!
What does the Automotive Industries Association of Canada mean to you, and what would you like to see the Association achieve in the future?
Joining the executive committee of AIA Canada Quebec Division is a bit like fulfilling a childhood dream. For me, this is the ultimate role when it comes to representing our industry, with a structure dedicated to serving all market players. It’s a group of engaged people who are committed to ensuring the best representation possible, regardless of the specific group they belong to. Everyone is doing their part to build a bright future together. Everyone puts their grain of sand into it to create a beautiful beach.
Have you had an industry mentor? If so, who and why?
Philippe Fugère, the owner of Lecavalier, has been a key figure in my professional life. He is a man who has redefined me professionally and personally. He awakened in me a passion for entrepreneurship.
What inspires you most about your work or the industry?
We don’t just fix cars; we make life easier for a father taking their son to play hockey on Saturday mornings as much as we do for a doctor who has to get to their clinic to treat people. Our goal is to help people live safely and enjoy life. No matter what our role in the industry is, we all contribute to that same mission, and it’s a source of inspiration and motivation.
What is the biggest change or evolution you’ve noticed or witnessed since joining the industry in 2007?
In my opinion, the major challenge for the industry lies in its ability to adapt quickly to change. This encompasses all logistical steps, from the beginning to the final repair of a vehicle. The automotive industry needs to catch up technologically to become more efficient and efficient. In fact, one of the reasons I accepted my current position at PME Guru is the great opportunity it offers to help modernize the industry.
About the campaign I am AIA
I am AIA aims to raise the profile of auto care industry professionals in Canada with the goal of humanizing our industry and showcasing members of AIA Canada. If you are interested in participating in sharing your story through this campaign, we encourage you to apply.