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ACA Announces Education, Impact Award Winners

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September 23, 2019—The Auto Care Association yesterday announced the recipients of its 2019 awards recognizing excellence in education, innovation and the next generation in the auto care industry. The awards were announced during the association's Fall Leadership Days event currently taking place in Washington, D.C., and included the Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award, the Auto Care Career and Education (ACE) Award and the Impact Award: Four for the Future awards.

The Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award is annually given to an individual who demonstrates a passion for advancing the concepts and programs for education and continuing education in the North American auto care industry.

E. Fletcher Lord, Jr., Chairman, Replacement Parts, Inc., was selected as this year’s Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award winner. He has been involved in the automotive aftermarket for over 50 years. The third generation in the company business, he worked his way up through almost every position to president of Crow-Burlingame Company in 1978. In 1988 he formed the holding company, Replacement Parts, Inc., becoming president in 1997 and chairman in 2014. Throughout his tenure, Lord has cultivated a culture of training and education, investing in both internal and external resources to promote continuous learning.

Lord holds a degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has earned his Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) designation. Over the course of his career, he has dedicated time and resources to serving the industry in a variety of capacities, including two terms as chairman of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Board, chairman of the ACDelco Dedicated Distribution Group Steering Committee and chairman of the board of AWDA. Moreover, in 2007 Lord was recognized by Northwood University with its Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award and in 2009 named AWDA Leader of the Year.

The ACE (Auto Care Career and Education) Award annually recognizes industry companies that demonstrate a dedication to investing in the growth of their employees’ knowledge and skills through access to professional development and career opportunities. The 2019 ACE Award winners are:

Small company: Aspen Auto Clinic – Colorado Springs, Colo. 

With 45 companies in five locations, education is part of Aspen Auto Clinic’s core value statement and DNA. They continually strive to add and update their education options and career paths for all employees. Aspen Auto Clinic was the first in the auto repair community of its size to create an ongoing sales training program with a dedicated instructor. Most recently, an online video training program has been implemented. Weekly management workshops are also implemented where, together as a group, managers work through the challenges they are facing. The results of the training and workshops have resulted in a $150 increase per repair order. Certification assistance and tuition reimbursement and assistance are also provided for employees.

Aspen Auto Clinic takes advantage of every training opportunity for their technicians: technical schools, vendor training such as WTI and CTI, online video training through AVI on-demand and in-house training. Every employee goes through a new hire orientation that discusses their history and values, thereby establishing lifelong learning as part of their culture.

Large company: Replacement Parts, Inc. 

Throughout Replacement Parts, Inc.’s 100 years of business, the company has adapted, changed and grown to meet the challenges of the times. Serving the public as Crow-Burlingame and Parts Warehouse, Inc., one constant has always remained: the company’s dedication to education.

Hosting a business conference every three years that includes educational classes for employees, Replacement Parts, Inc. also provides external training opportunities. In addition, ASE certification and re-certification, Northwood University’s Leadership 2.0 courses and other programs such as Dale Carnegie, Franklin Covey, and Pulaski Technical College’s Workforce are financially supported for employees. Not only does Crow-Burlingame work with external trainers and programs, but they also supplement those activities with a full-time corporate training director, who leads a department with three other team members. The training department is dedicated to designing new training programs, improving existing ones and ensuring education remains a top priority in all company activities.

Replacement Parts, Inc. participates in the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance education and training opportunities, including their LMS entitled Alliance University, workshops at their bi-annual shareholder meetings and Sales & Marketing Forum, the Technician of the Year program and their scholarship program. To further the education of its employees, Replacement Parts, Inc. employs a Training Incentive Performance bonus program. Bonus structures take into account the number of training employees have completed and rewards them for their hard work and dedication to succeed.

The Impact Award: Four for the Future, honors four auto care industry professionals, age 40 or younger, who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership or have made remarkable strides within the auto care industry. The 2019 winners are:

Ashlee Arnold, Arnold Oil Company of Austin

Ashlee Arnold, Vice President, Arnold Oil Company of Austin, has quickly become an influential figure in the aftermarket industry at large and within her own company by persistently showing remarkable leadership and cementing its placement on the esteemed “Aftermarket Business Top 25 Auto Chain” listing several years in a row. Arnold serves on the Federated Auto Parts Board of Governors, Federated Co-Man Council, and sits on the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) Board of Governors.  She serves as a PAC Dog for the AWDA sector and has been a member of the Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) since its inception in 2014, now serving on the council. She has previously served on the Auto Care’s Market Intelligence Committee as well as AC Delco’s Policy and Procedure Committee.

Ethan Bregger, DRiV

Ethan Bregger, training content and curriculum manager, DRiV, has a proven track record of success and influence within the auto care industry. Bregger guides the strategy and course content development behind the technical training program “Garage Gurus” and provides insight and guidance on the overall program strategy. An actively-involved member of YANG and a committed Auto Care Political Action Committee (ACPAC) supporter, Bregger recognizes the industry is larger than himself and his company by playing a significant role in the design and operations of multiple industry conferences, including the YANG Leadership Conference and the Auto Care Association’s Leadership Days conferences. Bregger is currently serving as Vice-Chair of the education committee and volunteers on the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association/Motorist Assurance Program (AMRA/MAP) Technical Council.

Jacki Lutz, Sensata Technologies

Jacki Lutz, head of global market communications and intelligence, Sensata Technologies aftermarket business, has committed herself to make a lasting impact on the auto care industry and is a proud advocate of the opportunities in the aftermarket. Lutz currently serves as president of the Automotive Communications Council, is a member of Auto Care Association’s Marketing Communications Committee, AASA's Marketing Executives Council, AASA's Modern Industry Expertise Council, AASA's Mobility Technology Council and was recently voted as a member of the YANG Advisory Council.

Ryan Samuels, Samuels Inc.

Ryan Samuels, vice president, Samuels Inc., is committed to the continued success of the auto care industry through his investment in training tomorrow’s technicians, volunteerism, and advocacy efforts. Samuels is the current secretary of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), a member of the ACDelco advisory board, an active member of the National Pronto Association, PAC Dog to Pronto, and was a leading innovator with YANG.

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