Spotlight on Patrice Lanthier: Great passion, great efforts
Passionate about automotive mechanics since his childhood, it is not surprising that Patrice Lanthier joined the auto care industry as a career choice. It is this same passion that propelled him through enriching experiences, fueling his desire to encourage the next generation to join the industry.
Manufacturing Representative at Gates Canada
Did you plan on working in the auto care industry?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in the automotive industry. My first experience with mechanics goes back to an even younger age, when I helped at the local garage on Saturday morning before my auto mechanic’s training. This is where I learned the basics and where my mentor Martin Beaudoin took the time to explain the trade to me.
At the age of just 16, this passion for the automotive industry and mechanics was already present in my mind. It was no secret that by the end of high school I knew that I would continue my career in a vocational education training centre where I would learn the profession of mechanics.
It was at the time when the madness of Fast and Furious was in full swing that I wanted to understand how things worked in the background. I was intrigued and my mind was made up. After graduating from the Qualitech school in Trois-Rivières in 2007, I began looking for a job at the dealers. That is when I started working as a mechanic and my career in the automotive industry started.
How long have you been in the auto care industry?
I started as a car mechanic in dealerships, but for several reasons, including my personality and employment conditions, I quickly redirected my career to the auto care industry.
At a time when there were no labour shortages, it was harder to find a job than it is today.
Despite everything, jobs have succeeded each other in giving way to an atypical and varied path that is most rewarding. I went from an auto mechanic to an employee at Formula Pontiac-Buick in Trois-Rivières. I then left the industry for a few years to work in a tool rental centre and to do a foundry course and worked in a factory; but the passion for automobiles came back for me. After 3 years of absence in the aftermarket sector, I returned to the industry as a parts clerk at Carquest. It was the perfect mix where I was able to use my knowledge in automotive mechanics while being able to build relationships with customers and advisors with their repair challenges. This job took me out of my comfort zone and back to cars in general. One thing led to another, and working as a parts clerk was my springboard to move up the ranks to store manager, then regional manager, and finally to be a manufacturing representative at Gates Canada, where I am currently employed.
What advice would you give someone new to the industry or looking to make the transition into the industry?
As a natural enthusiast, I advise young people who are just starting out in the industry and who already have that passion for cars to find out what they like to do. In this way, the daily challenges will be much easier to overcome. This is how I managed to stand out and make my place while having fun. It is when we have fun in our work that we perform best!
What does the Automotive Industries Association of Canada mean to you and what would you like to see the association achieve in the future?
The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) is a group of individuals who are the voice of the auto care industry in Canada. For me, the Association has created a unifying and networking environment. When everyone meets at events organized by AIA Canada such as the Grand Forum du Québec, all are united for the same causes that matter to them despite the market’s competition.
I think the biggest issues are certainly access to data and information. But also, to encourage the labour pool to move towards the auto care industry, to make schools aware of opportunities and to support teachers to bring traffic to vocational education training centres.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not hear a colleague mention that they are short of mechanics or parts clerks, for example, which is a very big issue. We must look beyond the position we hold every day. The more we get involved in the industry, the more we understand its importance. The training part of my job is very rewarding and important.
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.