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CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM 2010

The 2010 CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM took place last Wednesday, April 7th at the International Centre Conference Facility in Mississauga, Ontario. This year’s theme was “Sell More $ More Profitability” and those in attendance were treated to a full-day’s worth of relevant, timely and thought-provoking information to help them with their management skills and day-to-day business operations.

Speaker Presentations


The first keynote speaker of the day was Don Drummond, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist at the TD Bank. Mr. Drummond, who is one of the most respected and highly sought after economists in the country, has generously opened our conference every year since 2000.  His insights into the World, U.S. and Canadian economies are always of great benefit to those who have the opportunity to hear him speak.

Don reviewed the global decline that took place in 2009 and the recovery that is now under way and provided key details on the U.S. and Canadian economies both over the last year and looking forward. Don finished his presentation taking several questions from our members including on the topic of why Canadian productivity is declining which led to an interesting discussion on some of the factors that may be at play.

Mr. Drummond will be retiring from his position at the TD Bank in June and the Association considers it an honour and a privilege to have had him share with us, his knowledge and perspective all these years.

Our second keynote speaker of the conference was Donald Cooper who started his business career in the family business of Cooper Canada, at the time, the world’s leading maker of hockey equipment and a Canadian brand icon. At the age of 43 Donald left the family business to do something less corporate, reinventing himself as an award-winning retailer for which he received 7 awards of excellence for marketing, service and business innovation. Drawing from his real-life experience as a world-class manufacturer, retailer and business coach, Donald now helps companies rethink and reinvent themselves, to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability. Donald is also a member of the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame and we were pleased to have him on hand to present “How to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line … and have a life!”

Mr. Cooper’s motivating presentation was very well received as he discussed the battle taking place between manufacturers and retailers for the brand or ‘consumer ownership’ and the need for innovation and brand power in order to be successful. The presentation provided many examples of successful companies and reviewed the keys on how businesses can achieve the ultimate results. He also covered the important aspects of effective leadership and communication and the need to have a life outside of work too.

Mr. Cooper also stepped in to provide a break-out session on “The 8 essential steps to finding, leading and keeping the best staff” which had very strong reviews from those who sat in.

The other morning break-out session was presented by Christina Zurowski and LeeAnne Probert of Ernst & Young who discussed two important financial topics: the upcoming implementation of the HST in B.C. and Ontario and the mandatory changeover to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

The complexity of these new requirements caught many off guard who attended the information session. Due to the number and complexity of questions that were raised, the CHHMA is looking at setting up a further seminar to provide further education on these issues. For those companies not on top of these subjects, we encourage you to consider attending and bringing your CFO or controller or even accounting people especially if your accounting is handled outside of Canada.

Further information and details will be sent out on these topics and confirmation of the follow-up info session.
The afternoon break-out sessions included a presentation by Walmart Canada. Derek Rau, Vice President of Hardlines & Seasonal, reviewed some of the new consumer research and corporate communication that the company has recently undertaken as well as new plans with in-store signage and consumer marketing events.

Andrew Telfer, Manager of Sustainability, discussed Walmart’s sustainability goals and initiatives which will not only have environmental benefits but save the company $140 million over 5 years. The Product Sustainability Index which will help consumers identify products on Walmart Canada’s shelves that are better for the environment is still 3 to 5 years out but phase 1 which involves questionnaires with key vendors will start in the fall of this year. Walmart’s goal is to reduce packaging 5% by 2013 both internally and for vendor supplied product. Mr. Telfer also pointed out that the 4th Annual Sustainability Packaging Conference is taking place on Earth Day, April 22, at the Toronto Congress Centre for those who may be interested in attending. The presentation also provided information on Walmart’s research on the ‘green consumer’ and conclusion that green products do play an important role. Andrew encouraged vendors to seek third party certification with programs such as Energy Star, EcoLogo etc. for their green products as the identification provides more credibility for consumers. Walmart Canada can then identify these “For the Greener Good” products through in-store shelf flags and special flyer pages.


The other afternoon breakout session by Mark Ellwood was on “How to make meetings work better.”

The last keynote presentation of the day was by Dr. Alan Middleton on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Branding”. Dr. Middleton is currently the Executive Director at the Schulich Executive Education Centre and an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Schulich School of Business, York University. Alan spent many years working in advertising for the JWT advertising agency holding several key executive positions around the world. Some interesting points from his presentation included the change in the way marketers must reach today’s consumer – “it’s a Show Me World versus a Tell Me World”. Also, with today’s online social media networks, feedback on products and services travels so much quicker and to a greater number of people than in the past. Dr. Middleton also noted a difference between U.S. and Canadian consumers when it comes to complaining about products and services “Americans tend to yell more but they will come back to buying your product while Canadians tend to be more patient but when they’ve had enough they will not come back to buying your product.”

Annual General Meeting

During the Association’s Annual General Meeting business portion of the day, two new directors were elected to the Board of the CHHMA; Mr. Greg Aubert, Canadian Thermos Products Inc. and Mr. Alan Moyer, Enterprise Product Group, Panasonic Canada Inc.

The meeting also acknowledged Diane Gazzola, who in accordance with the Association’s bylaws will be leaving the board after completing her third consecutive two year term. We sincerely thank Diane for the time and dedication she has given to our association.

As Past Chairman Mr. Gerry Byle will also be leaving the board, the Association would also like to thank Gerry for all his years of service, dedication and guidance as a Director, Chairman and Past Chairman for the CHHMA.

The Gavel Passes

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Doug Whaley, Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada was elected as the new Chairman of the Board. Elected to the Board in 2006, Doug has served as treasurer for the past two years. Left Doug presents outgoing Chairman Bill Calisina with a customary gift (an engraved past chairman’s watch). Director Mary Houston takes over the treasurer’s role on the board.

The board, staff and members would like to thank Mr. Calisina for his leadership and time given to the Association and we wish Bill many happy and healthy years of retirement.

The complete Board of Directors for 2010-2011 is as follows:

Doug Whaley, Chairman, Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada
Dave Simmons, First Vice Chairman, Jarden Consumer Solutions
Mike Wilson, Second Vice Chairman, Recochem Inc.
Mary Houston, Treasurer, Anchor Hocking Canada
James Mumby, Past Chairman, Dynamic Paint Products Inc.
Greg Aubert, Director, Canadian Thermos Products Inc.
Steve Barker, Director, Ipex HomeRite Products
Craig Emmerson, Director, Bissell Canada Corporation
Mark Gagliardi, Director, J.L. Gagliardi & Associates Ltd.
Dave McKellar, Director, Masco Canada Ltd.
Alan Moyer, Director, Enterprise Product Group, Panasonic Canada Inc.
Kris Ovstaas, Director, Philips Lighting
Peter Thomson, Director, Taymor Industries Ltd.
Mike Trottman, Director, Knape & Vogt Canada Inc.

Industry Hall of Fame Inductions

During the Conference & AGM Luncheon two worthy candidates were the latest inductees into the Hardware and Housewares Industry Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 1984 to honour special individuals from within our industry, who through innovation and leadership have built successful business enterprises.


Mr. Mario Pilozzi’s career spans 45 years in the Canadian retail industry. For more than 30 years, he held a broad range of positions within Woolworth Canada. In 1994, Mario joined Walmart Canada as Vice-President of Hardlines Merchandise, and in January 2002 he was appointed President and CEO. Under Mario’s leadership, Walmart continued to grow into one of Canada’s leading retailers, introducing new store formats and green initiatives. As a respected leader in the community, he has given his time and expertise to many causes. In 1997, he was awarded the Retail Council of Canada’s distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year Award. Since his retirement from the President & CEO position at Walmart, Mario started a consulting business and continues to serve Walmart and others in a consulting capacity. Unfortunately, Mario was engaged in some out of country consulting work and could not be on hand for the induction ceremony, however, Mr. Derek Rau, Vice-President Hardlines & Seasonal, Walmart Canada accepted on Mario’s behalf.
CHHMA Chairman Bill Calisina presents Derek Rau of Walmart with Mario Pilozzi's Hall of Fame plaque.

Mr. Normand Caissie, or Norm as he prefers to be called, left his home in the small fishing village of Richibucto, N.B.and graduated with a BAA from the University of Moncton in 1975. After a short stint with the Bank of Montreal and then Seagram’s, he returned home to start his own business. His family was in the HVAC business for three generations, so manufacturing venting and duct work were a natural fit for Norm. Today, as President & CEO he is responsible for the strategic and financial direction of the Imperial Manufacturing Group Companies which includes Imperial Sheet Metal Ltd., Imperial Kool-Ray Inc., Imperial Heat Care Products Inc. and Kel-Kem Ltd. This past year Norm was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Atlantic Region Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Imperial won in the category of business to business products and services.

Norm was joined by his wife Alma and several members of his management team for his induction into the Industry Hall of Fame.
CHHMA President Vaughn Crofford presents Norm Caissie with his Hall of Fame plaque.

Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
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