For Boni Ehmann, following opportunities and exceeding
expectations is all in day’s work

Story by/Par Sarah Perkins

Boni Ehmann is an energetic and passionate leader in the automotive recycling industry who understands that when opportunity knocks, you must answer. With over 25 years of progressive work experience in the automotive industry as a parts person, Boni originally saw a trip overseas as an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that would bring her closer to home.

As an individual highly committed to team motivation, Boni is always prepared to help in whatever capacity she can. If lucky, she may even cook you something using her award-winning BBQing talent. Canadian Auto Recyclers recently spoke with Boni Ehmann to hear her industry story, a journey that has taken her to coasts, coals and communities in-between.

Canadian Auto Recyclers: How did you get started in auto recycling?

Boni Ehmann: My husband was in the military, so we moved around quite a bit. I started my journey in the parts industry while stationed in Germany, working with F18 parts. When we moved back to Canada, I was enrolled in an apprenticeship with a Dodge dealership. After a few more moves and completing my apprenticeship, we moved to Regina where I started working with SGI Salvage for the first time (2001-2008). SGI provides support in cross training throughout salvage. This increased my knowledge of vehicle makes and models, as well as increased my experience in Salvage operations. From 2008 until 2021, my family moved to Alberta where I was able to gain employment instructing in the Parts Technician trade. My time at SGI provided a good skill base for my time as an instructor. While in Alberta, I went back to school earning both a BBA and MBA. In January 2021, I was hired as manager, SGI Salvage Prince Albert, which aligned very well with my career aspirations. My role as manager is allowing me to expand on my education and gain experience.

CAR: Did you have a background in automotive that was helpful?

BE: Prior to coming to SGI, I started my career in automotive dealerships where I was able to earn a Parts Technician Journeyperson certificate. My career path at SGI started in 2001 when I was hired as a regular part-time parts person with SGI Salvage Regina.

CAR: What are your general duties with SGI?

BE: Anything and everything (except loader operation). Prince Albert Salvage is the smallest of our six centres, which means everyone does everything. As the manager, my general duties include strategically growing business along with coaching teammates. However, depending on the day and staffing, I will take calls and help retail customers, perform shipping and receiving duties, stock shelves, guide the forklift operator, and any other duty that requires attention.

CAR: What do you like most about your job?

BE: I don’t think I can narrow it down. The team here in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, is great, and their commitment and energy make it easy to come to work daily. Collaborating with other areas within SGI to improve employee and customer experiences is fulfilling. Every day, I come to work with a plan and expectations for myself. Every day, there is something new occurring that provides a change in direction.

CAR: Any advice you would give to people curious about auto recycling?

BE: Auto recycling offers many different opportunities, it’s much more than just the “junkyards” of the past. It is an evolving industry due to environmental concerns, manufacturing shortages, higher costs, and creating a desire to improve customer experience while responding quickly to demand. At SGI Salvage, we employ over 120 individuals across the province. We have auto service technicians, parts technicians, auto trades, claims specialists, analysts, and accounting individuals. Employment in the auto recycling industry is a very viable option to develop a great career.

CAR: Any mentors along the way or people who were helpful to your career?

BE: One person comes to mind, my manager at the first dealership I worked at. When I started in the parts industry, there were very few women, and it was a struggle to find employment. My first manager hired me as a parts driver, and when I was not delivering parts, he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. The cohort of trades instructors working on our BBA were instrumental in my continuation and the success of my educational achievements. This encouraged and contributed to my moving to Prince Albert as manager of the SGI salvage branch.

CAR: Any hobbies or interests you would like to mention?

BE: A few years ago, I received a smoker, this has become an expensive and delicious hobby. Our daughter has joined me in the love of all things smoked. We often share recipes back and forth. Most recently, we have worked on back bacon and side bacon. In June, I entered an online BBQ challenge for seven days. There were prizes everyday. Photos were posted to social media and if challengers BBQed all seven days, they were entered to receive one of four grand prizes. I was drawn for the third prize and won approximately $1,000.00 worth of rubs, hot sauces, BBQ accessories and pellets.

CAR: Any challenges or opportunities with being a woman in auto recycling?

BE: When I was hired as manager, Prince Albert Salvage, the branch was more of a satellite facility of Saskatoon Salvage. Parts were not stored on site, the warehouse was used to house equipment used on site, and overall, had a very small territory. In the three years since, our territory has increased to include a large portion of North Central, Northeastern Saskatchewan, warehouse parts to support sales in Prince Albert and area and operate as a stand-alone branch. Through these changes, advertising for SGI Salvage started within this territory with printed material as well as digital and social media.

The number of employees has increased from three to six and may likely increase again in the near future. I’m very proud of the team here, their attitudes, motivation, and energy continue to surprise me.


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