Our Auto Check Team

2018 brought a BIG change to the Auto Check team. Founder Ron Hovestad passed his baton to Stefan Kennett. As a Red Seal technician, Ford trained service advisor and with university business management training, Stefan is the perfect candidate to partner with Karen to keep this operation running well. Karen Hovestad has always had a keen interest in cars, has worked in auto sales and service, and has a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. Together, they work to continually improve, keeping Auto Check on the cutting edge of automotive technology.
Effective October 1st, 2020 Karen has retired from daily working at Auto Check Automotive. Stefan Kennett is to be the primary contact and daily operative decision maker. Karen has been developing him for quite a few years; we have complete confidence in his ability to replace Karen at the big desk in the corner office. Now Karen can join Ron to have much some fun. I know she will miss so many of the wonderful customers, most so more like friends, but she has some BIG plans in her garden.

Stefan Kennett

Stefan started with Auto Check in 2012 at its old location on Cliff Street. He was taken on to help manage the team as Auto Check got a facelift and moved to the bigger and better location on Bowen Road. Then when 2018 came around, Ron and Karen were getting ready to retire and Stefan became the proud new owner of Auto Check Automotive! In addition to running a shop he is an avid mountain biker, hockey player, guitar enthusiast and brew master….well, master-ish.

Jayne Hartwich
Jayne Hartwich joined our service team in 2016. She has been in the automotive industry for 17 years beginning in parts and equipment sales. Jayne excels at problem solving and has found her niche as a service advisor. In addition to being super mom to Jimi, she has been seen on stage singing and playing guitar but truly enjoys any opportunity to hit the green and swing her golf clubs when not on her motorcycle, go Jayne GO!
Dennis Eldstrom
Dennis Eldstrom joined us in the heat of COVID-19. Oddly, his timing couldn’t have been better. The level of stress in an essential, pandemic-stuck business had been elevating at an alarming rate, then, along comes Mr. Chill. Dennis’ calm demeanour and brilliant sense of humour is a pleasure to be around.
Dennis Eldstrom
Dennis Eldstrom joined us in the heat of COVID-19. Oddly, his timing couldn’t have been better. The level of stress in an essential, pandemic-stuck business had been elevating at an alarming rate, then, along comes Mr. Chill. Dennis’ calm demeanour and brilliant sense of humour is a pleasure to be around.
Darren Colborne
Darren Colborne has recently returned to Auto Check and has found himself in a new role. After beating back the cancer bug, the future is bright. With a new office overseeing the shop, he is able to use his stern charm to keep operations marching forward and jobs on time. Additionally, he is excited to ‘keep things clean’ and is our newly appointed detail shop manager. Congratulations Darren! To help lighten this new load on his shoulders Darren has become quite a fisherman in his time off and often treats us to salmon delights… Welcome back indeed!
Paul Walton
Paul Walton joined the Auto Check team in the spring of 2013. Paul never shirks the tough stuff, he is a detail oriented, meticulous technician who loves a challenge. No job is too big or too dirty; head gaskets, timing chain and water pumps, engine rebuilds or replacement Paul does it all. After work he applies himself just as enthusiastically to life as he is focused on the job. He is a total “island guy” taking his family camping, fishing, boating, or skiing, pretty much anything outdoors, but most recently his son’s BMX activity has been the priority.
Paul Walton
Paul Walton joined the Auto Check team in the spring of 2013. Paul never shirks the tough stuff, he is a detail oriented, meticulous technician who loves a challenge. No job is too big or too dirty; head gaskets, timing chain and water pumps, engine rebuilds or replacement Paul does it all. After work he applies himself just as enthusiastically to life as he is focused on the job. He is a total “island guy” taking his family camping, fishing, boating, or skiing, pretty much anything outdoors, but most recently his son’s BMX activity has been the priority.
Stefan Marschner
Stefan Marschner joined us in the spring of 2018. He grew up in Germany where he trained as an automotive technician. That may explain his focus on efficiency and precision. He then worked on heavy equipment in Korea. While his repertoire is very versatile, he is able to work on any type of car but is (oddly) fond of Subaru. He now loves living in Nanaimo with his wife and daughter. His serious demeanor hides a quirky sense of humour that we all enjoy.
Wes Cammiade
Wes Cammiade grew up in Courtenay and joined the Auto Check team in 2018 at first on the front counter but now on the floor as our apprentice technician. While he thoroughly enjoys working on cars or trucks, he is also into motorcycles and spending time in the great outdoors. His super bubbly personality seems to really appeal to the ladies (gals of ALL ages.) We are pleased that Auto Check is the place Wes has chosen to work, learn, and complete his certification.
Wes Cammiade
Wes Cammiade grew up in Courtenay and joined the Auto Check team in 2018 at first on the front counter but now on the floor as our apprentice technician. While he thoroughly enjoys working on cars or trucks, he is also into motorcycles and spending time in the great outdoors. His super bubbly personality seems to really appeal to the ladies (gals of ALL ages.) We are pleased that Auto Check is the place Wes has chosen to work, learn, and complete his certification.

Ryan Phillips

Ryan Phillips joined the Auto Check team in the summer of 2022 thanks to a recommendation by our very own Wes. Very quickly Ryan fit in and proved to be an invaluable member of our crew as a technician. He is always happy to help those around him and to take a moment to learn some more about the work he is clearly very passionate about. Outside of work Ryan is an avid hiker and self proclaimed super nerd: He loves DND, Video games and 3d printing models for his campaigns (sorry ladies he is married). We hope that Ryan continues to learn and grow eventually becoming a full fledge SUPER TECH of our very own!

Kenneth Lai

Kenneth Lai (also known as Kenneth DaMenath on Youtube and Twitch) became part of the Auto Check Team in early 2022. As the shop facilitator (or Tower) he works very hard to keep the shop flowing and your cars ready on time! In the evenings and weekends you can see Kenneth easting chicken, camping in his Jeep or playing video games with his wife on stream. With some experience working in both parts and service departments previously, Kenneth is eager to learn more and serve Nanaimo from his Spot in the shop.

Karen Hovestad

Karen and Ron started the legacy of Auto Check Automotive in 1997. In those days it was Auto Check Radiator and Cooling. As the times changed Auto Check needed to adapt and has moulded into the full service facility that it is now. Karen loved her staff and had fun making TV and Radio commercials, earning herself the nickname “one take Karen.” Karen was definitely a car girl. She enjoyed her time spent as a member of the Pacific Coast Mustang association. She even got the opportunity to drive her Golf R on the Cowichan track, and most notably raced on the Mondello track in Ireland. Any customer that received a ride home from her wouldn’t be surprised to hear this since every courtesy ride home would have you pinned into the back of your seat or pressed into the locked seat belt as you arrived to your destination much earlier than expected. There was only one speed for Karen. This doesn’t just apply to her driving. Full throttle Karen had an insane vocabulary, could out talk an auctioneer and outsmart a scientist.

Karen was a joy to work with/for and didn’t mind taking on any task or getting her hands dirty. Working with your spouse doesn’t sound easy, Ron and Karen made it look easy. For the time that she was business partners with Stefan Kennett they quickly agreed on everything. Seemingly difficult meetings usually ended in smiles and a glass of wine.

Karen got into politics and ran for office, she was a member of the Autism society, Nanaimo heritage commission, Departure bay Association, horticulture association and many more. She had a big heart and never stopped giving. It was way too early but she passed peacefully in October 2022. She will be missed by all.

Thomas Lindenau
Four years ago, we were in need of a new apprentice. The gang at Auto Check is a close knit, smooth working team. We were very fortunate to find and hire Thomas into our fold. At the time we met, he was a 1st year heavy duty apprentice working in a camp in Alberta. His heart was on the Island and his passion was cars, so it did not take much to convince him to work with us in Nanaimo. Our “Bacon Friday” tradition was the icing on the cake for him. With no hesitation, he accepted the job and jumped in his truck to dash to Alberta to collect his tools and be back to start work ASAP.
It was the beginning of a mutually enjoyable relationship. Thomas was a little gangly, a little goofy but eager to learn and tackle any task. Perpetually cheerful and helpful, he was never out of sorts or unhappy. Outside of the regular 8 to 5 he took on mechanical challenges not just for necessity but for fun. He truly loved what he did, and it showed in his ever growing expertise. Over the years we have had many apprentices but none had ever displayed the promise and potential like Thomas.
The invitation to compete at Skills Canada and how well he did was validation in our belief in his brilliant expertise. Losing him was a tragedy for the industry, but as a personal loss, it has been devastating.
With his family and the bulk of his friends in Courtenay, his work mates created much of his social life in Nanaimo. Together with the guys from work, he enjoyed fun going fishing, motorcycle riding, running RC cars or just hanging out.
His sudden death February 3rd, 2019 feels so tragically wasteful. Our hearts will forever have a place for Thomas. We are grateful for the time we had together, but he will long be mourned and missed.

Thomas Lindenau

Four years ago, we were in need of a new apprentice. The gang at Auto Check is a close knit, smooth working team. We were very fortunate to find and hire Thomas into our fold. At the time we met, he was a 1st year heavy duty apprentice working in a camp in Alberta. His heart was on the Island and his passion was cars, so it did not take much to convince him to work with us in Nanaimo. Our “Bacon Friday” tradition was the icing on the cake for him. With no hesitation, he accepted the job and jumped in his truck to dash to Alberta to collect his tools and be back to start work ASAP.
It was the beginning of a mutually enjoyable relationship. Thomas was a little gangly, a little goofy but eager to learn and tackle any task. Perpetually cheerful and helpful, he was never out of sorts or unhappy. Outside of the regular 8 to 5 he took on mechanical challenges not just for necessity but for fun. He truly loved what he did, and it showed in his ever growing expertise. Over the years we have had many apprentices but none had ever displayed the promise and potential like Thomas.
The invitation to compete at Skills Canada and how well he did was validation in our belief in his brilliant expertise. Losing him was a tragedy for the industry, but as a personal loss, it has been devastating.
With his family and the bulk of his friends in Courtenay, his work mates created much of his social life in Nanaimo. Together with the guys from work, he enjoyed fun going fishing, motorcycle riding, running RC cars or just hanging out.
His sudden death February 3rd, 2019 feels so tragically wasteful. Our hearts will forever have a place for Thomas. We are grateful for the time we had together, but he will long be mourned and missed.
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