Following the pandemic-disrupted Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in April, when Tony’s daughters, Tania and Michele, were forced into isolation just prior to the event, we recently visited Adelaide to formally make the presentation.
Paul Unerkov, CEO MTA SA/NT offered to host the ceremony, which made such a difference to the occasion. In addition to several MTA SA/NT staff, the event was also attended by 2020 inductee, Jeff Williams and current owner of Cafasso Motor Body Repairs, Jimmy Feleppa.
We opened with a brief introduction on the history of the awards, which are modelled on the US Collision Industry Hall of Eagles, which recognise individuals that sacrificed time with family and time in their own business, to help the industry to be better as a whole and to do this without personal gain. We also outlined the process that begins with a call for nominations from across the industry, followed by an invitation to each of our sponsors and each of our current inductees to vote from the list of nominees, bearing in mind the criteria that were established in 2007.
As we announced at the presentation dinner on the eve of the Collision Repair Expo in April, Tony Cafasso was one of four inductees for 2022 and Kaes Cillessen, Industry and Government Engagement Manager made the formal presentation to Tania and Michelle.
“With almost 60 years in the industry, it’s remarkable to consider the evolution of collision repair that Tony witnessed and was a part of – not just through the vehicles over this time, but more importantly the transformation of industry practices and expertise. Tony was not just present during this evolution – he shaped it and he gave back to the industry as both a leader and mentor,” said Cillessen.
Cafasso Motor Body Repairs has been a member of the MTA for more than 40 years, and through Tony’s legacy, it has embodied all that is great and strong about small, medium and family run businesses in the industry. Tony demonstrated great collaboration with manufacturers and insurers, but he was also a great advocate and supporter of other businesses in the collision repair industry.
Cillessen continued: “This presentation is all about recognising the way Tony went above and beyond with his contributions to the industry over a significant period of time, and I know his family is incredibly proud of Tony. On behalf of MTA CEO Paul Unerkov, MTA Chair Frank Agostino and the MTA Board, it is my pleasure to honour Tony on his induction to the National Collision Repairer Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll.”
On accepting the award, Tania Cafasso said: “We are both very proud of our dad and his achievements during his career. He not only strived to be the best at what he did, he was determined to share his knowledge with many other people in the industry. Dad would be truly thrilled at receiving this award and join so many of the previous inductees that he knew and admired.”
Editor: It was such a thrill to formally present the award in a formal setting and we once again thank MTA SA/NT and all those who joined us at the presentation.