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2008 Laureates

Red carpet rolled out for the three finest Canadian dealers Automotive expert , Updated:
William Taylor, named chairman of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) last October, says he spent a very memorable evening at the Canadian International Auto Show's VIP gala event held on February 12. "The honour of being named Chairman of the Association is one thing, but the honour of celebrating tonight with the three winning dealers of the 2008 Laureate program is quite another!" exclaimed Taylor proudly.

Patrick Priestner, president of AutoCanada Income Fund, a group of 20 dealerships, Harry Mertin, president of three dealerships, and Vaughn Wyant of the Vaughn Wyant Automotive Group, corralling 13 brands, were the CADA's guests of honour for this very special evening in recognition of their success and innovation in managing retail business as well as the services they have rendered to both the community and the industry.

The three finest 2008 Canadian dealers were recognized at the Canadian International Auto Show gala evening held in Toronto on February 12. From left to right, Richard Gauthier, president and CEO of the CADA, accompanied by William Taylor, chairman of the CADA, welcoming the three Laureates, Vaughn Wyant, Patrick Priestner and Harry Mertin, for a well deserved evening of celebration.

Patrick Priestner heads a large company he founded in 2006 after a 30-year career in auto sales. He attributes this distinction above all to his employees. "I'm extremely proud of my team!" said Prietsner. It is obvious that with 20 automotive dealerships across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, the Edmonton businessman would give credit to his employees, and he is very proud of the honour conferred on him by esteemed independent judges and the peers that nominated him.

Harry Mertin had this to add: "Our employees aren't the only ones who deserve thanks. Our wives have a lot to do with our success! Believe me, being married to an auto dealer for the past 32 years, my wife has had to make a few sacrifices. Not to mention the rest of my family! Today, this award is the highest distinction a dealer can achieve, the recognition of my fellow dealers." The Richard Ivey School of Business and its judges agree with Mertin, which says a lot!

Vaughn Wyant was playing golf when he found out he was named Canadian Retailer Laureate for outstanding achievement within an individual dealership. "I didn't realize at the time the full implication of winning such an award. The more I talk about it with my peers, the more I realize the importance of this title. This achievement of a career is placed in front of us tonight and we can take the time to fully appreciate it. And it's not only for an evening or a year. This recognition is for life!" adds Wyant. "I'd like to be able to share this moment with all the extraordinary dealers across the country who haven't been as lucky as I during these difficult times."

Stepping onto the red carpet at the gala event before the Auto Show, the three outstanding dealers were looking forward to a lovely evening, firmly intending to display the badges adorning their new Laureate jackets before their respective automakers' representatives.

"They have reason to be proud of those jackets," said Bernadette Benoit, the Executive Assistant of the CADA that has been coordinating the nominations for the past three years. "It is the fruit of much labour and of a long selection process. The more we understand the process, the more we realize how prestigious these stripes really are!"