by Gloria Welton
Two staff members from Township Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. in Summerside offered to showcase their careers with the company. Sandra Salinas in Finance and Phillip Currie in Marketing spoke about being hired and how their careers have expanded.
President/General Manager Adam Toner, of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, is a third-generation car dealer. He is described as very progressive in the industry and willing to offer potential hires opportunity to expand in their careers with the company.
At the dealership, 70 staff members work in departments such as Parts, Service, Detail, Finance, Marketing, and Sales. Business is steady year-round. The company offers healthcare, dental, and life insurance benefits after six months of employment. At the two-year mark, staff are eligible for RRSP contributions. Also, employee discounts are offered.
Sandra Salinas, Accounts Payable
Sandra started working for the company in September, 2017. “I started in a sales position, and when I heard about an opening in finance I mentioned to Adam that I was interested, and he agreed to the job change.
“I am now in accounts payable and I can’t say enough about the environment here. My co-workers are friendly and it is a great company to work for. They are flexible with my schedule when I need to take my daughter to appointments or school events.”
Sandra, her husband Carlos Caballero-Diaz, and their daughter Barbara are from Mexico and have lived on PEI two years.
“In Mexico I earned a Bachelors degree in accounting, and then completed a Masters in finance,” says Sandra. “I worked in a bank in risk management. Once my baby was born, I changed my profession and become a professor in accounting at a university.
“With Mexico’s high crime rates, we were concerned for our security. We thought it would be good to move while our daughter is still young. We looked for more secure places to live in the world, and Canada ranks very high.”
“When we did our research, we realized that coming to PEI was the fastest way to gain a work permit. My husband applied to come as a student and was granted a student visa to study business at Holland College. After his program, he was offered a finance position at Cavendish Farms.”
They now both have their work permits, are working on getting their permanent residency, and want very much to stay on PEI.
Their daughter is in kindergarten, and they feel safe and are meeting friendly people. “When we came here first we lived in Charlottetown, but when we found work in Summerside, we decided to move there. We started attending a church in Charlottetown and met many people who are now our friends.
“It was a miracle to find work, to find a Christian community, and to find a beautiful school for our girl. In Mexico, we were very close to our family. Now we miss our family but we do not feel alone.
“When you believe in God he puts the right people in your path and we are so thankful. A lot of people, including many of our family members, want to leave Mexico, but it takes time and planning.
“For us, it took 10 years of planning by paying off our debts in Mexico and saving enough money to move. It is a big investment. When my husband started college here we had to pay international tuition, which is almost twice the cost of regular tuition. We have been given a new start, and it is all worth it.
“My future professional goal is to get a CPA designation and right now I am working on starting that process.”
Phillip Currie, Brand & Digital Marketing Specialist, Marketing department.
Phillip started with Township on January 18, 2017. Before that he worked at Giant Tiger as the grocery supervisor. Phillip is from Calgary but has roots on PEI. “When my dad was growing up he spent his summers here, because his father was from here. My mom and dad fell in love with PEI, and now have fulfilled their dream to retire here.
“I took a two-year Photo Journalism college program in Calgary. My decision to move with my parents to PEI was based on thinking my career choice was not as competitive as it was in Calgary. I wanted to get my feet wet and get some experience.
“My college program taught one year of journalism and one year of photo journalism, which was a very competitive program to get into. I was one of only 14 of 300 students selected.”
Phillip recalls how he got hired at Township. “I responded to an ad for a part-time photo merchandiser, taking pictures of the inventory.
“I sent in my resumé and had two phone conversations with the President, Adam Toner. During the interview, Adam decided to make this a full-time job, Monday to Friday. I was very excited with the offer, and we built the position to what it is today. At the time, only one other person worked in the marketing department, and she was doing event coordination.
“When I first started, I did a few weeks of intense training in sales. Even though I was on the digital side of things, it was great to learn about the products. We also take other types of training such as learning about Google ads to keep on top of the rankings. This helps us stay relevant.
“When I first started, I was shooting vehicle photos outside, which was challenging in bad weather. When we started to get very busy, an assistant was hired for me.
“From there, we purchased a photo booth. A whole building is dedicated to taking photos of cars. It has LED lighting and the camera rotates around the vehicle and takes the pictures. We are the only dealership on PEI with a photo booth, and we get perfect photos all year round. I edit the pictures and upload them to the website.
“About 90 percent of my job is videography for the website and social media platforms. We are also doing a You Tube series with our shop foreman called Mechanic Monday. On Fridays, we tend to do a video on other mechanics projects. We use a drone as well, and I have a license to pilot it.”
Phillip says his college instructors told him that jobs in media are very limited, so he really didn’t expect to pursue a career in this field, but he is thankful it worked out so well.
The Marketing department now has six staff, including a Marketing Manager, an Event Coordinator, a Business Developer who pursues Internet sales leads, a Multimedia Content Creator, and an Assistant.
“I took a risk to come to PEI and to apply to this company, not knowing the outcome. Now I have a well-paying, rewarding job which fits the training I took in college. I just bought a house and have a child on the way. I am very busy, thankful, and grateful to work for this company.”
For more information about Township Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd., visit www.townshipchev.com