Donnelly Collision Centre
Alain Fortin has always invested in the technology needed to boost his bottom line and gain a leg up on the competition. When he decided to upgrade his company’s collision repair center in January 2018, Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) paint booths were an easy choice.
Please tell us your story: When I was younger, I worked in my uncles’ body shop, prepping and doing some body work. I soon realized that was not for me, so I joined the Air Force as an aero engine technician, working on Boeing and Lockheed Hercules aircraft and Boeing Chinook helicopters for eight years. After the Air Force, I worked for an independent appraisal company doing appraisals, which led to me working in body shops as an appraiser. At the body shop, I moved up to assistant manager, and I have been a manager for the last 20 years.
What services does your company offer and how many jobs do you usually perform? At Donnelly Ford, we have three dealerships — Ford, Kia and Mitsubishi. Our collision center, Donnelly Collision Centre, has a large, loyal customer base from the dealerships and a lot of referrals from our insurance partners. We do all types of repairs on different makes and models of vehicles, and have more than 20 bays dedicated to mechanical work, one of which features a GFS Aluminum Repair Isolation Station for working on aluminum-body vehicles. We are one of the only shops in Ottawa that is Ford aluminum-certified. We have three painters, two preppers and put through about 200 to 250 jobs a month.
What GFS equipment did your company purchase and how has it benefited your company? In addition to the Aluminum Repair Station, we have an extended-height GFS Ultra XL Paint Booth, Ultra XD Paint Booth and Ultra XD Mix Room. Previously, we had a big bottleneck in the paint department — our new booths have really helped.
It now takes us half the time it used to take to paint a car, allowing us to get a lot more cars through. Our GFS paint booths are doing exactly what we were promised they would do. They are so efficient, and the cars are going through really, really fast. The biggest challenge has been getting our painters adapted to the speed.
How did you decide on GFS equipment? Our old booths were not bad, but we wanted the best, so we called GFS. I had worked with GFS and Mike Minardi from Ontario Spray Booth in the past when he helped us retrofit some paint booths we purchased. When we looked at buying new booths, I wanted somebody I knew and trusted. Mike did a great job, and one of his employees is located right here in Ottawa. I can call him any time of the day, and he will be here the next day — or even the same day.
What is the plan for the future of your company? We want to continue to grow. We have been growing every year for a number of years, and we have plans to expand the body shop. Our collision center is currently 20,000 square feet, and we are considering adding an additional 3,600 square feet with six more bays.