Volunteer Spotlight: Bill Speed, Technical Committee Chair

Jan 31 2017


Bill Speed has been an active volunteer with Skills Ontario for 25 years.

"I keep coming back because I see the need in the industry and it is great seeing competitors excel when they are put out of their comfort zone," he said. "The skills we test are, in some cases, skills they have yet to learn or master."

Since 1992, Bill has chaired the Toronto District School Board Auto Collision and Car Painting Skills Competitions – and he strives to keep the competitions relevant to the needs of the industry year after year. Bill said the quality of the competition greatly improved under the mutual efforts of him and the former Ontario Chair for Skills Canada, the late Ron Postma, when the two took over running the Auto Collision and Car Painting competitions in 1994.

“We never looked back,” Bill said. “To us, it was all about giving our students the best chance of success in their future. We both had strong ties to industry and we knew that there was a need for skilled technicians.”

For Bill, it’s also been important to keep the competition fair, and difficult enough to challenge skills of the students participating.

But the best part of being involved with Skills Ontario? Bill said it’s seeing the faces of the competitors when they accept their medals on stage. "For many of the competitors, it is the first time they have been the best at something. Many have completed tasks that they have never done in school and they have done it to a high enough level to go on and represent the Province at the next level," he said.

For years, Bill has worked to bring industry judges to competitions, and he said it's enjoyable hearing judges comment positively on the quality of competitors' work. As for why he continues to actively work to help students through skills competitions, Bill said it's important to recognize the value of the competitions and the job prospects they can mean for competitors going forward.

"I had a young lady compete in car painting a couple of years ago and between Provincials and Nationals, she was handed 12 business cards and offers of work when she graduated," he said. "That is reason enough to keep on coming back."

Bill’s commitment to Skills Ontario serves as an inspiration for all volunteers and staff working year-round to promote skilled trades and technologies opportunities for students. Bill’s words and actions have gone a long way toward shaping the Skills Ontario Auto Collision and Car Painting contests.

Bill, you have been a tremendous part of this organization, and your work hasn’t gone unnoticed. From all of us at Skills Ontario, THANK YOU for all that you do.

Read about the success of Bill's students.

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