The ATA Hall of Fame

The ATA Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made an impact and have had influence on the direction of the collision repair industry in Manitoba. The ATA does plan to make this an annual event and will continue to recognize our valuable members that are making a difference in the collision repair industry.

2024 Hall of Fame

Cecil Freund Program Pic


Cecil grew up working on cars. His roots were more mechanical as His father was a mechanic who later opened an auto recycling business. His interests changed more to painting at the age fifteen when he painted his and a friend’s bicycle. This would be the beginning of his career. Cecil took a ten-month program at Red River College to learn more about auto body repair work and graduated in 1970. It was after this that his career in autobody work really progressed, starting with a shop on his own yard. From there, he began to manage a local autobody shop, and did so for three years. It was in June of 1983 that he started his own autobody shop, Moonlite Autobody.

Cecil always felt that top quality tools, products, and training was a necessity for quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. This resulted in Moonlite Autobody being among the first of the rural shops to be I-Car accredited, as well as being one of the first Axalta shops in Manitoba to switch to using waterborne paint. Cecil not only wanted to have the best quality work and customer service in his own shop, but also wanted the Autobody trade to be a success overall. 

Over his years in automotive industry, he has been the rural vice president of the ATA, as well as a rural representative for I-Car. Cecil was also a part of the apprenticeship advisory board and helped with the rewriting of the autobody curriculum. Cecil displayed his passion for not only his own shop, but also his community, providing a place that could be trusted and a guarantee of a quality job done. In 2008, the Winkler Chamber of Commerce presented Moonlite Autobody a Business Builder award for the community. His passion for the trade has passed down to his children, and in 2011 he sold Moonlite Autobody to his oldest son, Steve.

Even after selling the business, Cecil still continues to come into the shop every day helping with parts, customer service, and likes to keep himself informed with the latest trends in the automotive industry.

Les Heshka Profile Pic

Les Heshka

Les Heshka, born in Norquay, Saskatchewan, in 1959, emerged from humble beginnings as the youngest among three older sisters in a family of farmers. His childhood took a transformative turn when his parents sold their farm, prompting a move to Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, where Les attended elementary school. Later, the family settled in Sturgis, Saskatchewan, after his parents retired.

At the age of 12, a pivotal moment sparked Les’s interest in auto body, during a trip to Vancouver. Visiting his uncle’s auto body shop, Les found himself captivated, whether by the aromatic allure of lacquer primer and paint or the notion of restoring damaged vehicles.

Upon relocating to Winnipeg, Les embarked on his professional journey in the automotive industry, starting at Auto Renu on Regent Ave, unmasking cars for a modest wage of $3.25 per hour. Over the ensuing five years, Les honed his skills in various body shops until an unexpected opportunity arose to manage a dry-cleaning facility, prompting him to venture into a different domain.

However, fate had other plans for Les, as a chance encounter at Eastside Collision while repairing his own vehicle altered the trajectory of his career. Encouraged by the of owners George Brick and Bob Koroscil, Les transitioned from a part-time role to become the General Manager at the 369 Archibald location in 1986, overseeing a team of six employees.

As Eastside Collision expanded its operations in the late ’90s, Les played a pivotal role in its growth, spearheading ventures into light vehicle repair and the commercial repair industry. Les played a pivotal role in the establishment of Eastside Industrial Coatings & Composites and Eastside Heavy Truck Collision.

Throughout his tenure, Les remained steadfast in his commitment to three core values: prioritizing customer service, fostering open communication, and upholding unwavering standards of quality. This steadfast dedication has been the hallmark of his 37-year journey with Eastside, a testament to his gratitude for the Brick family’s unwavering support and camaraderie. Les feels profoundly fortunate to have found not just a job, but a second family in the Bricks, shaping his professional identity and legacy.

Mark Loewen Program Pic


Family, business and community are all words synonymous with Mark Loewen. Mark’s Grandfather Isaac started Loewen Body Shop in 1937 in Carman, Manitoba and two years later the business relocated to Steinbach They started in an old barn, progressed to an old service station and in 1963 when that facility burned down they built a new facility where they remained through the years until March 10 of this year when they moved to their new state of the art facility.

Mark started his career in the family business working part time when he was in junior high school. To him this career path was a natural progression – his Grandfather started the business, his father Albert followed so it was his turn to follow in their footsteps. Mark never had another job – he worked well with his Dad and enjoyed the business they built together. Following family tradition, Mark’s wife Pat and two of their sons, Josh and Jesse also worked in the business. Today Josh and Jesse have taken over the management of the business as they carry on as 4 th generation owners.

Family is very important to Mark & Pat. In their younger years with four growing children they were always participating in community events. Countless band trips, hockey tournaments or just going on family excursions, traveling was always a fun part of family life. Mark is a people person. He always enjoys spending time talking with family, friends, his customers, employees and anyone he’d meet along the way.

Mark being community minded, joined the Steinbach Fire Department when he was 21 and continued on for 40 years spending the last 10 as Fire Chief.

Mark & Pat have always enjoyed travelling and now have the opportunity to spend their winters in California where he enjoys going on his beloved motorcycle rides. His leadership skills don’t go unnoticed as their southern community has him organizing their Motorcycle Ride Events.

In the old days Mark’s Dad Albert was involved with the ATA and Mark used to go to the meetings with him. He’s continued on through life as a loyal supporter of the ATA. He’s served several terms as Rural Vice President, a Board Member, a Committee Member and as President in the 1990’s. Today he has served over 50 years in one capacity or another. He is still an active member who can be counted on to support all the ATA activities and events.

Family, business, community – Mark embraces them all. It’s been said “Some people are important and some people just think they are.” Mark, we think in your lifetime you’ve been important to your family, your business, your friends, your community and your industry AND now we welcome you into the ATA Hall of Fame family.

2023 Hall of Fame

Jim Gauthier

Jim Gauthier Automotive Group

Jim was born and grew up in Transcona. He left school in the 8th grade to be in the car business. He worked at Russell Motors from 1955 until 1961. He filled in for some employees in the body shop who were on vacation, and did such a great job that he was made the manager. So…Jim was in the collision repair business before he sold cars. While working there, Jim married his beautiful wife, Joyce, on April 4, 1959.

Jim moved on to sales with his father Woodward. It was very much a family business. Jim’s cash flow would only allow an inventory of two vehicles which he would sell quickly and replace to turn and earn.

He eventually gained the Studebaker franchise. Unfortunately, Studebaker went out of business and Jim went bankrupt with them. Not a quitter, Jim went to work for his competitor for 5 years, while Joyce worked midnight shifts at the hospital. Jim’s son Randy, who is now President of the Gauthier Group was 6 years old at the time.

Jim was approached by AMC to take over their Dealership on Ellice Avenue. He turned that Dealership around and went on to buy Transcona Dodge. Once again in 1980 he stepped up and bought Community Chev Olds which is now Jim Gauthier Chev Olds on McPhillips. In the early 80s, interest rates hit 23% so Jim shifted his focus to used cars which were better value for customers. He flourished when times were tough.

Jim still owns the big store, but also acquired four more dealerships over the years.

Jim has won many awards. He is admired by his customers and respected by his competitors. Jim is always working on the next deal, whether it be Budget rent a car or an apartment block. He has forged many partnerships.

Jim’s best friend and strongest partner was his wife Joyce, who was always at his side. Joyce passed away in 2013. She was dearly loved and is missed to this day. Jim was fortunate to have the support of Randy and his four Grandchildren who are now young adults and working in the family business.

While Jim continues to sell cars and make deals, he devotes a great deal of his time and fortune to charity. Jim created a special building for the Winnipeg Humane Society as a center to train dogs for adoption. This was named after his wife, The Joyce Gauthier Behavioral Center.

For all of these and many other contributions, Jim was named Manitoba Philanthropist of the Year in 2019.

Ray Baptiste

Craig Dunn Motor City

Raymond was the third eldest of 5 children. As a boy growing up on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean, Raymond aspired to travel abroad in search of opportunities and new experiences. In the 1970’s he found himself heading for the prairies with the dream of creating a legacy for himself and his family to be.

As a young man, Ray was active, industrious, and good with his hands. Captain of several community youth was a born athlete taking part on both the local cricket and soccer teams. He was also musically inclined — playing steel drums regular drum kit.

Ray and his friends would spend their free time fixing up their own cars at a nearby garage. A car enthusiast to the core, his interest in cars was a natural fit and led him to develop his talent for autobody as a profession. One day, he was approached by Bill Gillespie and was offered a position at Gillespie Motors in Portage la Prairie, which kickstarted his career in the Manitoba automotive industry.

Raymond joined Craig Dunn Motor City in 1992 when Edmondson Chev Olds was purchased by Craig Dunn. The shop was , small and was primarily doing reconditioning work with MPI work as secondary. The vision changed to one of status quo to growth of the body shop into a larger role in serving Central Manitoba’s collision repair needs with a reputation for high quality. Raymond was meticulous in instilling his repair process and quality control into a dedicated technical team. The body shop grew under Ray’s guidance into one that was an afterthought to being a shop that customers of all makes and models wanted to bring their repairs to. His legacy is one of patiently teaching and mentoring staff, positively providing for the needs of his clients, and growing the body shop into a highly productive shop dealing with a very high percentage of MPI claims in the region.

Sadly, Raymond passed away in 2022 after a long battle with cancer. After having retired for a number of years and then returning to work at Craig Dunn Motor City as an Advanced Repair Planner. Customers and staff alike were delighted when Raymond returned. He was a person full of energy, an incredible smile and a wonderful baritone laugh that would resonate with everyone! He will always be remembered for his dedication to quality, doing the right thing even when it was hard to do and keeping a positive outlook in every situation! He will also be fondly remembered by all who knew him but especially forever loved by his Daughter Raema and Grandaughter Brielle who are here tonight.

Stu Nicol

Glascow Collision Center

Stu Nicol was born in Bowsman, Manitoba in 1932, the oldest of 3. At 16, he decided to leave school and w A few years later, a new tenant moved into the back of the building and opened a chrome plating shop. Stu later so Stu learned to paint. We picture him painting without a mask and an unfiltered cigarette hanging out of his month. purchased a building on Glasgow Avenue from his uncle and opened an auto body shop. He had no experience, partnered with someone else and Glasgow Automotive Services was born.

One Friday, the painter went out for lunch and a beer, and didn’t come back. A car needed to be painted and go out, work for his uncle. They did construction in Churchill and then Winnipeg. In his early 20’s he started working f a fireman. When diesel engines stared to arrive in the late 50’s he realized his job would soon become obsolete bought out Riverview Plating and continued running that business supplying chrome, and eventually plastic bumpers to other auto body shops in the city. He also did a lot of chrome plating for the classic car enthusiasts in Manitoba and the US. He tried his hand at a few other enterprises. He ran a couple of taxi cabs, owned a service station, hotel and an Italian restaurant over the years. He was always busy and willing to learn new things.

He was very kind and helpful. He was a silent partner to many businesses, especially in the South Osborne neighborhood. He was president of the South Osborne Biz. He partnered with other automotive businesses. He was president of the ATA. He and his wife, Jo ran the ATA out of their office for a few years.

In 2001, a fire destroyed the building on Glasgow Avenue. Wanting to stay close to their customers in the South Osborne area, he found a suitable location nearby and re-opened a year later, at a new location on McMillan Avenue, now calling the business Glasgow Collision Centre. Unfortunately, Riverview Plating stayed closed.

Stu passed away in July 2022 from heart failure. He was very proud to have celebrated his 90th birthday a few months earlier, in April. His son, Gary, and daughter, Jan continue to run the business

Dave Winter

Winter’s Auto Body

Dave Winter was born in Neuenburg, South Russia on September 1, 1935. The family fled Russia during WWII and would later immigrate to Canada in 1948. They settled in Manitoba and began a new life. 

At the age of 15, Dave started his first job at Kruse Auto Body. He didn’t choose auto body. His sister found him the job. Everyone in the family had to work and contribute.

In 1960, at the age of 25, Dave started his own company, Winter’s Auto Body. He slowly established a good reputation and the business began to grow. Dave was good with his hands; he could fix anything. He was professional in his appearance; clean shaven and never a hair out of place. He carried a briefcase and a lunch kit to work everyday. This was a picture of Dave. He was a tradesperson and business owner.

Winter’s had a strong shop foreman named Peter Janzen. This was an important part of the company’s success. With a key manager, Dave was able to focus on the many aspects of a growing business.

Dave was married to Marilyn Riediger. They had four children; a daughter Christine; and three sons, Robert, Frederick and Michael, who would later follow him into the business.

A long-time supporter of the ATA, Dave attended the President’s Ball on a regular basis. He was courteous and respectful to other shop owners, a collegial attitude that persists within the ATA today.

Dave remained involved at Winter’s well into his retirement years. That would be an important part of his legacy. He never lost the desire to work; always pushing forward; hand to the plough.

Doug McCombs

Pembina Dodge Chrysler

Douglas William Kenneth McCombs was born on July 16th, 1939, in Winnipeg to his parents, Marge and Herb, who were a homemaker and a CP Railroader, respectively. He grew up in the West End on Agnes Street and attended Daniel Mac High School.

Douglas started his career as a CP yards railroader, but unfortunately, his foot was crushed on the locomotive roundtable. He then found his passion as an apprentice plumber, but it was only a short-lived vocation. He later became a parts salesman at Century Motors on Main Street and then moved to Penner Dodge in 1968. However, he missed his friends and family and returned to Winnipeg in 1970.

Douglas began working at Pembina Dodge Chrysler in 1970 under Ike Vickar and stayed there until his retirement in 2004. His natural gift for gab made salesmanship and selling come easily to him. He was an active member of the ATA and involved in committees such as entertainment and elections. Douglas was known for being likable, honest, and had an infectious laugh.

Douglas left behind a great legacy. He mentored his son into the industry and became a salesperson for the #1 Chrysler dealership. He received numerous awards and trips from Chrysler as the #1 parts sales representative, including trips to Mexico and Barbados. He represented the dealership and the industry in many fashions, including golf trips and trade shows. Douglas was a true gentleman who made friendships easily, cared for others, and was fun to be around.

In his personal life, Douglas was married to his amazing wife, Gerry, who supported him in all his endeavors. They had two children, Jason and Jodi, and four grandchildren. In 2004, Douglas retired to Kelowna, BC, but still visited Winnipeg often and participated in company-sponsored events such as golf tournaments. His hobbies included building, RVing/camping, and traveling.

Joyce Sobering

Sobering Auto Electric

Joyce Rewucki was born on April 13, 1942 into a family of car enthusiasts. In 1946 her father and broth purchased Eastern Sales in Beausejour.

She remembers playing car games identifying different vehicle parts with her Dad while traveling on the hi ways and thus began her education in the automotive industry.

By the time she was twelve, she knew she did not want to spend her summers helping in the massive garden her mom maintained with pride, but to work with her dad. Her dad was her biggest supporter when it came to encouragement “you can do anything you set your mind td’.

Her biggest challenges occurred when working at the dealership. She had to work twice as hard being the boss’s daughter and then even more so by being female in a male dominant industry.

Joyce is well known and respected in our Industry. She has worked tirelessly for over 60 years as she has contributed to the success of the trade tenfold. Together with her husband Don Sobering, they owned and operated Sobering Auto Electric Ltd. however, Joyce still found the time and energy to volunteer countless hours of service to the community and Industry while, at the same time, raising five children.

In 1986/87, Joyce was the recording secretary for the ATA , together with the Executive, who organized a successful four day Tradeshow and Conference for the members, as well as, developed the constitution (bylaws) for the ATA.

In keeping with her commitment to the trade, in 2002, Don and Joyce Sobering founded the Motor Vehicle Industry of MB. The MVIM just celebrated their 20th anniversary and to date has improved and encouraged the lives of 257 recipients to further continue with their Red Seal.

Joyce believes our Industry and our Community is only as good as we make it! Aside from community, Joyce feels her biggest accomplishment in life is having a loving, supportive family.

Dave Fawcett

Allen’s Alignment

Dave was born and raised in Winnipeg. He grew up in a family of 5 boys. I’m not sure how his parents survived! Dave’s parent’s instilled in him the need to respect others and always work hard. These attributes have been part of Dave his whole life.

At the age of 12 Dave struck a deal with his dad for his dad’s broken down 1956 Dodge. If Dave could fix it car would be his. He became the proud owner of the 1956 Dodge that he then traded to his neighbour for a motorcycle. Dave carried on his entrepreneurial skills by buying, repairing, and selling lawnmowers. As a young man he stayed busy delivering 400 Winnipeg Free Press papers all over Fort Rouge.

Dave started his employment with Allan’s Alignment at the age of 17 as a car jockey. Dave’s determination convinced Baby Shimoda to teach him the trade of frame & suspension. Ten years later Dave was managing the business. When Bob & Lil Shimoda decided it was time to retire, they sold the business to Dave and Wendy Fawcett who continued doing business under the name of Allan’s Alignment.

The Automotive Trade Association (ATA) has always been a huge part of Dave’s life. Dave enjoyed and excelled at the ATA attending all monthly meetings. In 1991 he joined the executive as Mechanical Secretary. In 1997 Dave was elected President and was instrumental in setting up the Parts & Liaison Committee. Dave worked with Manitoba Vehicle Standards and set up The Body Integrity Program that is still used today. ATA Awarded Dave for his service with the President’s Man of the Year Award in 2003-2005. He served as past President from 2006-2007 after which he retired from the ATA.

The I-CAR Committee approached Dave in 1993 to join them as an instructor. For seven years he shared his knowledge of collision repair and suspension. Dave taught a hands-on class and the students appreciated him by voting him the Top Canadian Repair Instructor for 1993. Dave was also awarded Top Steering & Suspension Instructor in 1997. Dave considers his greatest accomplishment as a member of the ATA and I-CAR was setting up the Frame Estimating and Procedure Program with the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI)

Allan’s Alignment become a part of Winter’s Collision Repair in 2017. Dave stayed on to pass his knowledge and skills to Mike Winter. After 50 years in the automotive trade business Dave finally retired.

Dave’s belief has always been to promote knowledge in the automative repair industry.

Ted Kostynyk

Gateway Auto Body

Born April 17, 1927 in the sparsely populated southeastern town of Arbakka, Manitoba. Theodor (Ted) Kostynyk was the eighth of nine children.  

In 1945, Ted met and married Anne. They continued to live at the homestead in Arbakka until after their first son was born. Soon after, they moved to Sundown, Manitoba where Ted lumberjacked in East Braintree to support his growing family. By then, he ad purchased and repaired his first car, a used 1929 Pontiac with a farm welder and tools he forged himself. Meanwhile, in Winnipeg and surrounding areas, automobiles were becoming a fast-growing commodity as did Ted’s fascination with them. During his trips into Winnipeg for supplies and fuel, Ted started to stop into service garages to observe “body men” at work. Eventually, he was able to secure work at a service station in Winnipeg and commuted back to Sundown for weekends.

In 1953 Ted started Sundown Auto Body. He taught Anne how to apply automotive paint and together they operated Sundown Auto Body for the next 7 years saving up enough money to move to Winnipeg. There, he opened a small shop on Kimberly in East Kildonan. Soon after, Ted built a new 2700 square foot modern facility and relocated Gateway Auto Body to its present location in November 1963. At a time when auto body was still an emerging industry, Ted helped many of Manitoba’s earliest body men and painters learn the trade; of which sereral went on to start up their own auto body businesses or move onto other emerging careers in the industry.  

Ted passed away in January 2001, at the age of 73 leaving a legacy business for the next four generations of Kostynyks. At the heart of Gateway Auto Body, are Ted’s core values engrained in each generation – Honesty, Service Distinction, Value, Continuous Improvement, and innovation along with a strong work ethic. November 2023 marks 70 years in operation of the Kostynyk’s auto body business from its early years in Sundown, Manitoba through to the present in Winnipeg as Gateway Autobody.

Don Sobering

Sobering Auto Electric

Lifetime Achievement Award

Don Sobering was born Jan 19, 1938 in Winnipeg, Mb. Don’s love for cars started at an early age, where he could be found disassembling and rebuilding old cars. This interest would lead him to build stock cars in the future.

When his Dad, John, founded Sobering Auto Electric in 1948 you always knew where Don was. Straight from school, Don would start the 30 minute journey to Sobering Auto Electric, located on Horace and Marion. He took great pride in cleaning and delivering generators and starters to the customers via bicycle.

Don obtained his Red Seal “Auto Repair Mechanic Section” on February 10,1960. In the years to follow, Don’s entrepreneurial spirit had him looking for ways to start his own business. In 1966 he started the White Rose service station, located at Archibald and Trans Canada Hwy.

In 1971, Don and Joyce purchased Sobering Auto Electric, which was located on Tache Ave and on December 1, 1974 moved to the current location at 1575 Dugald Road. In 1986, Don accepted the position of ATA President and the following four years worked tirelessly improving and building a stronger ATA. Together with his team they started negotiations with Autopac, built a strong membership, involved students in their convention program and finalized a new constitution and bylaws.

Don was a founding member of MUCDA, long standing member of the ATA and served on several committees with Red River College for the apprenticeship program. Don’s favorite project was having the students build a 1965 Cobra and 1933 Ford Roadster.

In 2002, Don and Joyce created a legacy by founding the Motor Vehicle Industry of Manitoba. Don’s commitment to improve the image of our skilled technicians has benefitted our Industry with the ongoing Scholarship program. Today, Don’s major role with MVIM is fund raising and he continues to positively reinforce the following message to the recipients;

“Never stop learning”