AkzoNobel has announced that it will be memorializing industry leader Dave Smith after his passing nearly one year ago by naming an award after him. The inaugural Dave Smith Achievement Award was presented this week to Catherine Mathewson, an aspiring collision repair professional, at the 2019 Skills Canada National Competition held May 28-29, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The $2,500 award will be presented annually to the gold medalist in the Car Painting, Post-Secondary category at the Skills Canada National Competition, a multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in Canada. The award is designated to support ongoing vehicle refinishing education – a topic that Smith cared deeply about and supported throughout his career. AkzoNobel has made an initial five-year commitment to Skills Canada in sponsoring the award.
“Dave was an inspiration to our team and the industry,” said Doug Holmberg, regional commercial director, Automotive & Specialty Coatings, North America for AkzoNobel. “This award is a great tribute to keeping Dave’s memory alive and supporting both an industry and a professional development program he was so passionate about.”
Added 2019 award recipient Catherine Mathewson, “I know how bittersweet this is to the AkzoNobel team to be giving this award away. Knowing how much it means to them makes me even more thankful to be awarded this. I cannot thank everyone enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this industry. I have worked so hard and dedicated so much to better myself and become the best painter I can be.”
Smith began his career with AkzoNobel in 1993. Over his 25 years with the company, he played key roles throughout the North American Automotive & Specialty Coatings sales organization, distribution network and collision repair businesses. He held numerous positions within AkzoNobel, including country manager for Canada and North American industry relations and network manager. Smith was also a key leader in the North American management team.
The Skills Canada Collision Repair Program was created to address the skills shortage within the industry by raising awareness of career opportunities at Skills Canada Competitions across the country by showcasing the exciting opportunities that are available for young people. The program also provides students who compete in the competitions from across Canada with hands-on training opportunities and the chance to enhance their skills and knowledge during their experience as a competitor.