Jim Quinten, former leader of the Automotive Parts & Services Association (APSA), died Nov. 6. He was 80. Quentin worked in the automotive aftermarket for more than 50 years, owning parts stores, managing parts stores for Straus-Frank and Parts Plus, and serving as president of the Automotive Wholesalers of Texas (AWOT) and APSA.
“Jim will be remembered as a great friend of the automotive aftermarket,” Skip Potter, former executive director of the Chesapeake Automotive Business Association and retired executive director of the National Automotive Business Association, said. “And, by those of us who worked with him the last 21 years in ASAAA (the Alliance of State Automotive Aftermarket Associations), he’ll be remembered as a member of the family. He was an industry leader and challenged us to always make better decisions. He’ll be missed.”
AWOT became APSA after nine more state groups joined the association.
Rob Bolin — owner of Bolin Auto & Truck Parts in St. Joseph, MO and a former member of one of those state groups, the Midwest Automotive Industry Association (MAIA) — described Quinten as a true leader.
“He was absolutely the main reason the merger of AWOT and MAIA came together and worked,” Bolin said. “There was a lot of work to do with the merger, and he was the catalyst. He had a genuine concern for all members.”
He will be missed, CAWA president and CEO Rodney Pierini said. “Jim Quinten was an old school pro and that is a compliment because of his engaging demeanor, cooperative spirit and commitment to the industry that gave him so much.”
Freddy Warner worked as a lobbyist for AWOT/APSA and considered Quinten one of his greatest mentors.
Quentin was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Texas that created the opportunity for high schoolers to work in shops and contribute to a trust fund to support their education and training, Warner said.
He was passionate and tenacious when it came to reframing the concept of vocational education to career and technical education, taking into account that not all high school students move on to college and that college doesn’t necessarily teach employable skills, Warner said.
“He completely changed the mindset of our state legislators and regulatory agencies on this topic,” Warner said. “Our industry benefited from that, but so did others, from trucking to steel manufacturing and the concrete business.”
Quentin was a fixture in the Texas and Midwest automotive aftermarket, Randy Lisk, executive vice president of the Automotive Aftermarket Association of the Mid-South, said.
“He always shared his knowledge and wisdom of his aftermarket experiences,” Lisk said. “Jim will be missed, and the industry lost a good representative.”
Part of Quinten’s success came from his eagerness to learn, said former APSA vice president Melanie Norman, who worked with Quinten for 20 years. “He embraced change and was always willing to try something new,” she said.
APSA closed in 2017 because of the growing number of independent jobbers being bought out by larger companies or closing their stores, Norman said. After the association closed, Quinten continued to work, selling commercial insurance.
Survivors include Quinten’s wife, Marilyn, and sons Bobby, David, Jerry and Mike.