Skills Ontario Alumni Feature: Cat Mathewson & Tony Teng

Jul 14 2015

Excellence Auto Collision was started in 1987 by Peter Woo. Over the years, his shop has expanded to two locations in Toronto and, coincidence or not, Excellence Auto Collision employs six OTSC alumni!

Mark Millson is the director of operations at Excellence Auto Collision, and was a member of Team Canada at the 2005 WorldSkills competition in Helsinki and has also volunteered as a judge for the OTSC. Adrian Tantalo, Matias Ha, Peter Gauthier, Tony Teng and Cat Mathewson are other alumni that have competed – and performed very well - at the OTSC over the years.  

Cat and Tony are two OTSC alumni that are just starting out on their apprenticeship paths at Excellence Auto Collision. Both were inspired to compete in the OTSC by and credit their success their high school tech teacher, Mr. Bill Speed (who is also an OTSC tech chair); they credit the confidence and skills they gained to their participation in the OTSC.

Of her OTSC experience, Cat says, “I love the experience of the skills competition. At first it’s nerve wracking, but then you get into the flow.” She also loves attending the OTSC to see all the other students showcasing their skills. The only sad part about the competition, she says, is that there just isn’t enough time to check out what everyone else is doing! For Tony, his gold medal at the 2013 OTSC, followed by a gold medal at national competition, solidified his drive to get into the auto body repair industry.

Competing for the first time in 2013, and then again in 2014, Cat took home gold at the OTSC in 2014 and earned a spot on Team Ontario for the national competition. By competing in the OTSC, Cat has been introduced to numerous contacts in the auto body industry – and in fact, it’s how she landed her job at Excellence Auto Collision. Just by competing at the OTSC, she has received several job recommendations, and remembers thinking “Wow, I’m really here,” as industry reps introduced themselves, and spoke of job opportunities for her after the competition; she returned from the OTSC with a stack of business cards from new industry contacts.

Planning to start her post-secondary studies in auto body repair at Centennial College within the next year, Cat says she “stoked” about having two more years to compete in the OTSC at the post-secondary level. But yet Cat is humble about her early career success fresh out of high school; she says, “When you think you’re the best, that’s when you stop learning.”

In the meantime, Cat and Tony will continue to hone their auto body repair and painting skills at Excellence Auto Shop as they begin their apprenticeship journeys – we wish them success in all of their career pursuits. 

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