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Top industry gong goes to Tasmanian repair veteran

The repair industry’s top honorary award has been revealed.

Former AMA Group leader and industry veteran Craig Carey has taken out the prestigious NCR Lifetime Achievement Award for 2024.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Repairify, is one of the industry’s most prestigious awards and celebrates those involved in the sector for more than 20 years who have made outstanding contributions to the wider industry.

With more than forty years in the industry before his retirement in 2023, Craig Carey is a well-known collision industry leader who has forged a strong legacy in Tasmania and across the repair sector.

Over these decades, Craig has shown a commitment to the industry, to developing the next generation of leaders and tradespeople and a passion for quality and achieving OEM accreditation.

In the judges comments they noted Craig’s long commitment to the industry and his professionalism.

“Craig’s Carey’s career is marked by a series of strategic advancements and leadership roles that have significantly contributed to the industry’s evolution. Craig’s journey exemplifies dedication, innovation, and excellence. His leadership skills are evident through his ability to mentor guide and inspire his team. He has fostered a culture of success and growth within his organisations. His ability to navigate through changes with foresight and adaptability underscores his exceptional capacity as a leader as a leader in the industry. Craig stands as a beacon of professional integrity and visionary leadership, making him a distinguished leader in the collision repair sector and an absolutely worthy recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement.”

More than two hundred peers and leaders from across the industry cheered the 2024 winner at a special gala night at South Wharf in Melbourne.

“It’s really humbling to be recognised by your peers after such a long time and when there are so many of them in the room,” Craig Carey said.

“I’ve made some lifelong friends both in the panel beating and paint industry and the insurance industry and there are some super close friends in the room.”

But Craig saved his especial thanks for his wife, Deanne  of 39 years, who he said had been a great support during the highs and lows of his long career.

Craig has championed many initiatives and changes across his career spanning 40 years. In his roles prior to retirement, he drove improvements and initiatives across the business. This included a review of the Capital SMART business as well as driving operational and profitability improvements in (what is now) AMA Collision.

Darren Wales, EGM of Heavy Motor Division AMA Group, says: “In the time I have known Craig and working with him within the AMA Group, he has led various successful initiatives within the AMA Group and Capital SMART. He has implemented and managed multiple projects that have enabled change within the business. He has provided a “hands-on” mentoring role to his team and is respected by those around him.”

The Centre Manager at Craig’s original Micra Repair Centre in Breadalbane, Josiah Casboult says that “even when he wasn’t running the site, he always knew what was going on at site level and industry level. He always knows the question and the answer before I’ve asked it. He is really switched on.” Josiah also said “I worked for Craig for 12 years. He taught me everything, from my time as an apprentice, through to being a qualified tradesman, then as an estimator.”

Craig is very disciplined leader, known for keeping his workshops in order and coaching others to do the same. He is a courageous leader who is not afraid to say what he thinks. Those who have worked directly with him say that nothing phases him, and he’s always taken everything in his stride.

Craig began a qualified panel beater and spray painter before starting his first collision repair business, Longford Bodyworks, with his father-in-law in 1989.

The next chapter in his history came in 2008  when he built the state-of-the-art Micra Accident Repair in Launceston with his brother-in-law, which remains one of Tasmania’s premier repair facilities.

Joining AMA Group in 2017, Craig expanded the Micra footprint then combined leading the Micra sites with a broader role managing other States. After a brief retirement, Craig was enticed back to AMA Group in a national role, sharing his operational insights, coaching, training and mentoring Centre Managers and team members.

Repairify Australia said it was thrilled to a be a platinum sponsor of the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Awards.

“The collision industry wouldn’t be the innovative, cutting-edge industry it is today without the people in it,” Tristan Sender, GM of Repairify Australia said.

“We’re proud to support the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award and celebrate the outstanding work and meaningful impact of long-serving industry experts.”

“In my opinion, the collision repair industry doesn’t get all of the recognition it deserves.. It’s an essential part of our economy and in so many ways, it’s what keeps our nation moving. Nights like these that  recognise leaders in the industry that have dedicated their lives to it are so important.

But Tristan also said beyond the great nominees and worthy winners the awards were also about celebrating the wider industry and its future.

“Creating a culture of recognition and holding up examples of people who have had successful careers is essential to encouraging people of future generations toward joining us,” he said.

“Collision Repair is going through a period of change in terms of technology as it develops and becomes an increasingly important part of the repair process. Whilst change can be challenging and create new and rewarding careers and jobs for people entering our industry, the changes in technology will also provide new opportunities for savvy repair businesses to generate new revenue streams.

“Repairify, unlike the nominees for the Lifetime Achievement Awards, is new to the Australian market but has been helping the  collision and aftermarket repair businesses navigate these changes in technology and profit from them. We are large employer in America, Mexico, UK and in Europe and we intend in the future to provide many people with long and rewarding careers within the broader repair industry. That’s why I’ll be excited to be back here locally in 20 years in this the city and with this group.”


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