een doing autobody work, primarily on heavy trucks, since 1982.
“I never saw an oil rig until five years ago,” he said. Now he runs the Three Star Trucking heavy collision repair shop in Alida.
He had worked on painting drilling rigs before coming to Three Star. He started out as a basic painter, then became a lead hand and finally was the paint manager at Do-All Industries before the rig builder when bankrupt.
Skipper was the crash of 2009 when he was working in Grande Prairie. At Three Star, he said, “We’re not dead in the water. We’re holding our own.”
“There’s no business like snow business. You get snow on the road, you get business,” he said of collision repair.
It takes a while to pick up the slight twinge of a Nova Scotia accent in his voice, when he said, “Never mind, me son.”
The 55-year-old said, “I’m from Nova Scotia. I spent seven years with the Royal Canadian Regiment in the infantry.”
He was posted at New Brunswick’s CFB Gagetown. Upon leaving the military he worked at a car dealership for a year. A “nasty incident” involving cleaning up a wrecked vehicle and a clump of maggots turned him off from light vehicle body work.
He was in Nova Scotia from 1983 to 1995, when he moved to Bancroft, Ont. “I opened up my own business. I’m a good body man. I was lacking in business experience which became my downfall. That’s been rectified since then,” Skipper said.
That business was around for about four years. He then headed to Calgary for the next five years, followed by three years back in Nova Scotia, where he worked for an excavating company.
In 2008 Skipper found himself painting Pontiac GTOs for a collector in Davidson, Sask. “He had one for every year, make and model. It was his retirement fund. I spent three to four months on a car,” he said.
Skipper now lives in Lampman, where he had found work with a local body shop before going to Do-All.