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CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM 2011

The 2011 CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM took place on Tuesday, April 5th, at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

This year’s theme was “Boom, Bust & Bounce Back” and the line-up of speakers and topics provided those in attendance with timely and useful insight for managing their businesses during this recovery period and beyond.

Conference Presentations

The first keynote speaker of the day was Craig Alexander, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at TD Financial Group. Mr. Alexander’s presentation reviewed the World, U.S. and Canadian economies in 2010 and what is projected to happen in 2011 and 2012. He discussed the two speed recovery that is taking place between emerging markets and the industrialized economies and explained the major risks that could have an influence on forecasts going forward. Mr. Alexander also provided details on the housing market in the U.S. and Canada as well as projections for the CDN dollar.

A donation was made on Craig’s behalf to the United Way and as tradition, Craig was presented with the gift that will be given to all our players at the upcoming Toronto CHHMA Golf Tournament in May - a pair of FootJoy golf shoes.

The second speaker in the morning was Jim Moore from SkillPath Seminars. Mr. Moore is a successful author, computer executive, corporate trainer and professional coach. Jim’s keynote address entitled “Recession + Recovery = Our New Reality … How to Adapt, Grow, and Capitalize for Greater Success” discussed four pillars for a successful business and the important questions that you need to ask your company and customers.

Jim also conducted two afternoon break-out sessions on Doing More with Less and Team Building.


The final keynote speaker in the A.M. period was Robert Kozinets, Professor of Marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business. Mr. Kozinets is a globally recognized expert on social media, innovation, marketing and brand strategy. Robert’s excellent presentation on “Social Media Marketing (SMM)” brought everyone up to speed on the various types of SMM available and tactics that can be used.

The presentation was filled with lots of examples including some CHHMA member company campaigns.


Frank Turco, Senior Manager, Trend & Design, Global Sourcing at The Home Depot Canada conducted a very informative afternoon break-out session on the latest trends in home improvement and design. Frank talked about the latest colour and design trends for the home as well as products that will be popular for the home interior and exterior.


Mike Trepanier, Vice President with Ernst & Young Orenda Structured Finance Service Groups, held a break-out session on Hedging Strategy with a particular focus on foreign currency. Mike explained how to develop an effective hedging policy including the various programs and instruments that are available to use.


Paul Publow, Founder and President of Logistics Services and Solutions (LSS) Inc., presented a break-out
session on logistics/transportation issues and challenges as well as information on import & export regulations and requirements. LSS is the endorsed logistics program for the CHHMA.


Mike Morley, certified public accountant, author and speaker provided a break-out session on Finance Basics for Non-Financial Managers which reviewed the basics in understanding financial statements.
The closing keynote speaker for the conference was Ken Wong, an award-winning professor at Queen’s School of Business and a frequently cited marketing authority. Mr. Wong’s topic was Marketing in an Up and Down Economy and his highly educational and entertaining presentation discussed the importance of margin as the key criteria for business success and ways one can maximize profit through different price, cost and volume approaches.

Annual General Meeting

During the Annual General Meeting, four new Directors were elected to the Board of the CHHMA for a two-year term:

André Daigle, President, RCR International Inc.
Eric Daignault, General Manager, Richelieu Hardware
Dave Evans, General Manager, Hardware division, Stanley Black & Decker
Val Jedras, Vice President/General Manager, World Kitchen Canada

Also, three current Directors standing for another two-year term were elected:

Steve Barker, Senior Account Manager-Canada, IPEX HomeRite Products
Craig Emmerson, Vice President, Bissell Canada Corporation
Peter Thomson, Vice President - Retail & Product Management, Taymor Industries Ltd.

Returning on the Board are:

Doug Whaley (Chairman), Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada
Dave Simmons (1st Vice Chairman), Jarden Consumer Solutions
Mike Wilson (2nd Vice Chairman), Recochem Inc.
Kris Ovstaas (Treasurer), Philips Lighting
James Mumby (Past Chairman), Dynamic Paint Products Inc.
Greg Aubert, Canadian Thermos Products Inc.
Dave McKellar, Masco Canada Ltd.
Alan Moyer, Panasonic Canada Inc.

CHHMA Board of Directors 2011-2012

Back Row: Alan Moyer, Val Jedras, André Daigle, Craig Emmerson, Dave Evans, Steve Barker, Dave McKellar
Front Row: Vaughn Crofford, James Mumby, Doug Whaley, Dave Simmons, Mike Wilson, Kris Ovstaas
Absent: Greg Aubert, Eric Daignault, Peter Thomson

The meeting also acknowledged Mark Gagliardi, J.L. Gagliardi & Associates Ltd., who in accordance with CHHMA bylaws will be leaving the board after completing his third consecutive two year term; Mary Houston, Anchor Hocking Canada, who is retiring from our industry (Mary was acting Treasurer on the Board and will be replaced by newly elected Treasurer Kris Ovstaas, Philips Lighting); and Mike Trottman, Knape & Vogt Canada Inc., who has accepted additional work responsibilities and has decided not to seek another term on the Board. We sincerely thank them for their time and dedication given to our association. 

Below, Past Chairman James Mumby presents the coveted red jackets to Mark, Mary and Mike.

Industry Hall of Fame Inductions

During the Conference & AGM Luncheon, two worthy candidates were inducted into the Hardware and Housewares Industry Hall of Fame: Mr. Joseph Kuchar and Ms. Annette Verschuren

The Hall of Fame was established in1984 to honour outstanding Canadians from our industry, who through their leadership and entrepreneurial ways, have either founded or built successful business enterprises.

Mr. Joseph Kuchar was born in Austria in 1916, and came to Montreal in 1951 with his wife Maria. He established the Record Chemical Company as a manufacturer of mothballs and deodorant blocks. The business grew steadily and 10 years later he acquired a refinery in Napierville, Quebec and began importing and exporting bulk chemicals to Europe, South America and later China. Through the 60’s and 70’s the company continued to expand opening plants in Ontario, Western Canada and Australia to produce automotive and household liquids and chemicals. His daughters Eva and Marina joined the company, which was renamed Recochem Inc. in 1981.  Recochem has continued to grow, adding a refinery in Belgium, a division in Australia and an expansion in Alberta to facilitate a move into automotive coolants typically under private label for leading national brands and retailers.

Mr. Kuchar remained involved with Recochem until his recent death this past March 9, at the age of 94. He brought a passion for business, a drive to succeed and unique deal making skills to our industry. For him, Recochem’s managers and staff were more than employees, they were like family and he took care of them. The company he and his family built, has gone from one employee and two products, to over 600 employees and 200 products and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. 

Joesph Kuchar’s granddaughter Ariana Botha and Recochem President & CEO Rick Boudreaux, pictured on the right, accept Mr. Kuchar’s Hall of Fame plaque on behalf of the family from CHHMA President Vaughn Crofford.

Recochem employees on hand for the Hall of Fame Luncheon.

Ms. Annette Verschuren served as president of The Home Depot Canada from 1996 to 2010, overseeing the growth of the company from 19 to 179 stores. Annette began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation in her home Province of Nova Scotia. She then moved onto Canada Development Investments Corporation, as executive vice president, privatizing crown corporations and then later moved to Imasco Ltd. as vice president corporate development. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Annette was president and co-owner of Michaels, a chain of craft stores she brought to Canada.

A passionate advocate for giving back to the community, Annette has served on many boards and charities including Cape Breton University, the Retail Council of Canada and Habitat for Humanity. Appointed by Prime Minister Harper, she served as a member of the North American Competitiveness Council. She also served on the Finance Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. In 2010, Annette was confirmed as chair of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Annette was named outstanding retailer of the year in 2005 by the Retail Council of Canada and outstanding business leader of the year by Wilfred Laurier University in 2006. Annette was named into the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends and the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame in 2010.

Annette Verschuren is the first female to be inducted into the Hardware and Housewares Industry Hall of Fame.

CHHMA Chairman Doug Whaley presents Annette
Verschuren with her Hall of Fame plaque.

Annette is pictured with her husband and members of
The Home Depot Canada team on hand to share in her
induction into the Hall of Fame.


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