Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
From Service Executive …
• Monro COO Departing After About Year On The Job
• Service First Automotive Centers Expanding In Texas
• Valvoline Announces Partner For Quick Lubes In China
• Discount Tire Launches Pilot AAA Program In California
• RepairPal Ranks Best And Worst Cities For Car Repairs
• A bill has been introduced before the Rhode Island House of Representatives that seeks to extend the state’s vehicle inspection waiver to five years from the date of purchase.
Obituary: Larry Prince, GPC’s Third CEO
Larry Prince, who rose from a stock clerk at the Genuine Parts Co. to chairman and CEO over a 47-year career there, died March 5. He was 80.
GPC enjoyed significant growth under Prince’s leadership. During his tenure as CEO, sales rose from $3.20 billion to $9.10 billion, reflecting both organic sales and the benefit of acquisitions, according to the company.
Prince pushed to continue GPC’s transformation from a regional auto parts distributor to a national powerhouse. And, he played a major role in the growth of NAPA, GPC’s best-known brand, by purchasing and opening NAPA outlets across the country.
“Larry was one of the most influential and respected leaders in our industry during a time when the aftermarket was blessed with many great leaders,” said Bill Long, MEMA president and CEO and AASA president and chief operating officer. “He was a man of class and distinction who was generous with his time, words of praise and encouragement. He will be truly missed.”
Prince joined GPC for a part-time job in 1958 while a student at the University of Memphis. He was 19 and accepted a job at the company’s Memphis location, about 80 miles south of his hometown, Dyersburg, TN.
In 1966, he was promoted to a position in GPC’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta. From there, Prince held various positions of increasing responsibility, including as head of GPC’s European operations headquartered in Paris.
During his time with the company, GPC diversified into other markets, including industrial replacement parts, office products and electronic material. Prince was a vice president when GPC acquired S.P. Richards, an office supply company, in 1975, and Motion Industries (MI Industrial), the following year.
He was promoted to CEO in 1989 — the third CEO since the company’s founding in the 1920s — and served in that role through 2004. He was chairman of the board from 1990 through 2005, when he retired.
“Larry had the unique ability to connect all within the industry and understood the interdependencies of our complicated supply chain better than anyone I have ever met,” Auto Care Association president and CEO Bill Hanvey said.
Hanvey was a young product manager with Tenneco when he met Prince. He remembers Prince taking a genuine interest in his career and offering assistance, Hanvey recalled.
“He was a true professional who commanded a room and approached a situation or opportunity from a unique perspective that always made you think,” Hanvey said. “He will be missed, but his legacy lives on for all the countless auto care industry employees who were fortunate enough to have known him.”
Former MEMA president and CEO and longtime GPC executive Bob McKenna met Prince in 1971, and worked with and for him over the next 33 years. “Larry Prince was just that, a prince of a man,” McKenna said.
“He was always in control, and knew what was going on and how to deal with any situation,” McKenna said. “The best part was he was as nice a guy as you will ever know. He was a perfect gentleman, and treated people with respect and dignity.”
McKenna recalls meeting with Wilton Looney, GPC’s CEO before Prince, to talk about his career prospects.
“His counsel was simple,” McKenna said. “‘Look at Larry Prince. He’s one of our finest executives, and he will be the next president of Genuine Parts.’ It was good advice as you would expect.”
When Looney died last June, Prince talked to The Greensheet for an obituary. He praised Looney’s ability to maintain the company’s reputation as a family-oriented workplace with strong continuity of management, which Prince said he had aimed to continue.
Prince “… leaves a lasting legacy of strong leadership, underpinned by the principles of honesty, integrity, fairness and respect for all,” said Tom Gallagher, another long-term GPC employee who succeeded Prince as CEO and is currently chairman of the board. “He was a great role model, special person and friend to many. He will be dearly missed.”
Prince earned a number of awards over the years, including an “Outstanding Business Leader Award” from Northwood University in 2000. A “Distinguished Service Citation” from the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1999 cited the important role he played in the development of NAPA, including its classification system.
GPC, in association with NAPA, developed a well-respected marketplace inventory classification system to determine optimum distribution center and auto parts store inventory levels for automotive parts stocking based on automotive registrations, sales trends, production statistics, and other local market factors.
In addition to GPC, Prince served on the boards of a number of Atlanta’s top businesses, including SunTrust Bank, Equifax Inc., Crawford & Co. and the John Harland Co. He was a current board member of Rollins Inc., RPC Inc. and Marine Products Corp.
Prince also served a term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and as a board member of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
He was a trustee of the Campbell Foundation, the Tull Foundation, the Shepherd Center Foundation and Westminster Schools, as well as a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and Northside Drive Baptist Church.
Survivors include Prince’s wife, Sandra, and son, Larry L. Prince Jr.
Changes Coming At U.S. Auto Parts
U.S. Auto Parts Network’s new CEO, Lev Peker, told analysts on the company’s March 7 quarterly report conference call that U.S. Auto Parts has struggled to revitalize its e-commerce business, as reflected by a continuous traffic decline since the fourth quarter of 2017. He said that, in just over two months since rejoining the company, the team has identified multiple opportunities.
“I believe the struggles from our e-commerce channel have largely been internally-driven issues, as opposed to structural business challenges,” Peker stated on the call. He said that revitalizing U.S. Auto Parts’ e-commerce channel and returning the company to profitable revenue growth will require a reallocation of resources and incremental investments in personnel, technology and new marketing strategies.
Peker explained that, to deliver the right parts, U.S. Auto Parts needs to enhance its back-end architecture, restructure its data and catalog, and deliver a best-in-class user experience on any channel the company sells through. Along those lines, U.S. Auto Parts has hired a new chief marketing officer, tasked with building up the marketing team.
“We have also started building a user experience and analytics team to support both marketing and [UX (user experience)],” he said. “Both of these teams are supported by our technology team, which is undergoing tremendous growth both in the U.S. and Manila. These expanded marketing, UX and technology teams are critical additions as we look to execute on our new growth strategy.”
FEWER WEBSITES … “Following my review of our operations, it was clear that part of our internal missteps were driven by a lack of focus, which resulted from spreading our resources too thin,” Peker said. “In order to focus the team and to deploy our assets most efficiently, we are in the process of reducing the number of websites we operate. This will allow for a more simplified development approach, more focused marketing and real attention to user experience. We plan to take a similar approach with our marketplace channel.”
“We still believe that we need to be present where consumers shop, but we need to provide users of our sites with the same, or better, experience than they would receive on the marketplaces. This is why we will be placing a significant effort on restructuring our data and catalog methodologies to enhance the discovery of products and make our catalog a stronger competitive advantage,” Peker explained. “On the marketplaces, we will continue to adhere to best practices, and we will continue targeting customers who prefer to shop in that channel.”
He emphasized that customers’ expectations are shaped, not just by U.S. Auto Parts’ direct competitors, but by all of their experiences on the web. “We have to ensure that we deliver the same or better. This includes site speed, discovery of products, ease of checkout and post-purchase experience, including setting the proper expectations for shipping times,” Peker told analysts on the call.
MERCHANDISING … He noted that the focus on fewer sites will allow U.S. Auto Parts to also focus on merchandising higher-gross-margin products. “The thinking that we have now is that one of our sites will be tailored to private-label products, where we will fill all the gaps that we have,” Peker said. “There are some part names where we don’t have any private label at all today. Brakes, starters and alternators are just some examples. We want to house all the part names.
“We also want to bring in private-label products that are hard to find. Some of the examples that were recently brought in are dash covers for trucks. Those are higher [average order value (AOV)] items that are a little bit harder to find, and they allow us to enjoy a competitive advantage.”
He added that, when it comes to branded products, the focus will be on performance and accessories, which are minimum advertised price (MAP) items that sell at higher margins.
From a drop-ship perspective, Peker said U.S. Auto Parts may carry fewer SKUs. “We still want to make sure that — for every specific vehicle, for every specific year/make/model — we are carrying a full assortment of parts, but we may reduce the choices that the customer has to make,” he explained. “Instead of carrying 20 brands, we may carry five or seven. We are going through that evaluation right now at a part-name level and at a vehicle level.”
This is, in part, based on the notion that U.S. Auto Parts has to show its users fewer choices so that it becomes easier for them to pick.
In terms of new marketing initiatives, the company will make investments in both organic and paid channels while also tapping into social media influencers and better brand marketing. According to Peker, these efforts also will require implementation of a new customer relationship management system as well as investments in retention marketing.
WILL TAKE TIME … “While I am very excited for the journey ahead, there is much work to be done. The implementation of our growth initiatives will take time, as we will have to take a step back before moving forward. However, we expect to begin realizing some of the benefits from our investments toward the end of this year,” Peker said.
U.S. Auto Parts did not issue any formal guidance for 2019, citing Peker’s short timeframe back with the company, but did express expectations for delivering revenue growth for the year as well as positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). — Marc Vincent
U.S. Auto Parts Reports Q4 Net Loss As Sales Fell
“Over the last 18 months, the company has certainly not performed to its full potential, and its financial results have been disappointing to everyone,” U.S. Auto Parts Network CEO Lev Peker told analysts on the company’s March 7 quarterly report conference call.
This came as U.S. Auto Parts reported a $4.69-million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2018 — compared to $59,000 in net income a year ago. The company’s gross profit fell 20.1 percent to $16.57 million, while gross margin decreased from 30.3 percent to 25.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, attributable to costs associated with port and excess carrier fees tied to customs issues, as well as an increased freight cost.
Net sales declined 5.6 percent to $64.65 million, which management pegged to a decrease in marketplace sales with one of U.S. Auto Parts’ channel partners and a 5-percent decline in e-commerce sales, attributable to a reduction in traffic and lower in-stock rates resulting from customs issues. Private-label sales decreased 1 percent and accounted for 76 percent of the company’s net sales compared to 73 percent in the year-ago period.
A few key metrics for U.S. Auto Parts’ performance in the fourth quarter of 2018 …
• The number of unique visitors fell 18 percent to 16.50 million due, in part, to reduced traffic from a platform conversion of JC Whitney and reduced marketing spend in December.
• Conversion rate (which excludes online marketplaces) increased 40 basis points to 2.5 percent, which management attributed to the positive impact of better-quality traffic through paid sources, as well as website improvements such as faster site speed.
• Revenue capture increased 60 basis points to 86.7 percent tied to improvements in credit card approval processes.
• Average online order value – total orders increased 3.7 percent to $85.
• Average online order value – e-commerce decreased 5 percent to $95.
• Average online order value – marketplaces grew 9 percent to $73.
• The total number of internet orders decreased 6.5 percent to 761,000.
• The number of orders (e-commerce only) declined 1 percent to 415,000.
• The number of orders (marketplaces) fell 12.4 percent to 346,000.
INVENTORY & TARIFFS … U.S. Auto Parts ended the quarter with $49.63 million in inventory, which was down 8.5 percent from the end of 2017, as the company continues to focus on optimizing its inventory productivity. “While inventory levels were not at the level we anticipated, resulting in some out of stocks, we felt the composition and quality of our inventory improved,” CFO Neil Watanabe told analysts on the call. “In fact, as of Dec. 29, 2018, approximately 90 percent of our assortment was less than one year old, which is a direct result of our effective sourcing strategy and inventory productivity.”
Regarding tariffs and their impact on U.S. Auto Parts, Watanabe said the first two groups of tariffs initiated by the U.S. government represent less than 1 percent of the company’s annual net sales. The third group of tariffs, which have been postponed, impacts 13 percent of U.S. Auto Parts’ annual net sales.
“Overall, we have not seen a material impact to our business as we pass through costs to consumers, given that the tariffs similarly affect all of our competitors as well as the OEMs,” Watanabe stated. “If a consumer needs a part to get their car working again, they are likely going to purchase the part regardless of a price increase. Our goal with any additional tariffs would be to continue to pass the costs through to consumers and maintain our gross profits, which seems to be the approach our competitors are taking as well.”
Comings, Goings Among U.S. Auto Parts’ Senior Leadership
U.S. Auto Parts Network has a new chief marketing officer: Houman Akhavan, who was the company’s vice president of marketing from 2006-‘14. Akhavan also was a consultant to U.S. Auto Parts from 2004-‘05, providing advice and guidance on marketing strategy and website optimization. Prior to rejoining U.S. Auto Parts, Akhavan was the CEO of Growth Rocket, a marketing consulting firm.
Meanwhile, Roger Hoffmann has resigned as the company’s chief technology officer. He had been with the company since 2016. And, David Eisler, the company’s senior vice president and chief legal/administrative officer, will be leaving U.S. Auto Parts later this month. Eisler has been with the company since 2015.
Obituary: Bill Guinard, Olympus Imported Auto Parts President
Bill Guinard, president of Alexandria, VA-based Olympus Imported Auto Parts, died Feb. 25. He was 60 and had cancer.
Guinard started with Olympus in 1979 as a parts driver and rose to the head of the company. By 2007, he had earned a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Auto International Association (now known as the Import Vehicle Community) for his efforts to develop the import vehicle aftermarket.
“Bill was my right-hand man and indispensable to me at Olympus for more than 30 years,” retired President and CEO Michael Brown said.
Most of Guinard’s time at Olympus was spent as a vice president and head of purchasing and information technology. He left for a couple of years in the 1980s for an IT position with EAP/Hansa.
Guinard was promoted to president of Olympus when Brown retired last February.
A subsidiary of GPC since 2016, Olympus operates online and through a chain of retail stores in Virginia.
Guinard consistently sought out the very best manufacturers to acquire parts for Olympus, Brown said. He hunted for OE manufacturers and was among the first in the United States to establish relationships with such industry-leading companies as Denso, Akebono and KYB for aftermarket distribution, according to Brown.
“It was through Bill’s creative and innovative urging that the company Nitoma developed and was first to market with timing belt kits for Japanese applications,” Brown said. “Shortly thereafter, the product line exploded in popularity throughout the country.”
He regularly offered Olympus’ suppliers ideas for enhancing their product offerings and their companies, Brown added.
Warren Morley, national sales director for CRP Industries, said he never spoke to Guinard without learning something new about the industry, business, his company or even himself.
“Besides being the consummate parts guy who understood business and saw the big picture, Bill was someone who was always teaching, and I’m not sure he even knew that,” Morley said.
Guinard was “a true gentleman,” Steve Bearden, owner of H.B. International Marketing Services, said.
“He would always approach a supplier as a partner,” Bearden said. “As a result, his suppliers went the extra mile to support Bill and Olympus, and, of course, the outcome was many years of success. I was one of those suppliers who always looked forward to visiting Bill — not only for the business I did with him — but also the sage advice he always gave me relative to business and life in general.”
Survivors include Guinard’s wife of 32 years, Judy.
US Motor Works Makes National Sales Agency Changes
US Motor Works (USMW) has announced the appointment of the following rep firms: the Hirsig Frazier Co., handling the south central and MINK states for the traditional automotive aftermarket; and JOSCO Manufacturer Reps, handling the Southeast for the traditional automotive aftermarket. The agencies are responsible for driving traditional sales of all 4 USMW division lines, including USMW Professional Series, USMW Heavy Duty, Derale Performance and Pacer Performance, into the traditional market only.
BBB Expands Senior Leadership Team
BBB Industries (Daphne, AL) has announced the addition of Mike Hansen as executive vice president and CFO along with the appointment of Ross Bratlee as executive vice president and chief transformation officer.
Bratlee is transitioning from CFO into this newly created role, where he will lead integration efforts for the recent purchase of Remy Power Products North America and all future acquisitions. Bratlee also will co-lead the roll out of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, focusing on its financial and accounting aspects. He joined BBB in 2016 after serving as CFO of API Heat Transfer.
Hansen, BBB’s new finance chief, was the CFO of Cambium Networks, a technology-based fixed wireless broadband company spun off from Motorola. He also has held executive financial positions with Verengo Solar, RAE Systems and Smith’s Plc.
Mevotech Adds Regional Sales Director
Mevotech has added Kenny Gross as a regional sales director, reporting to Don Keeling, national director for traditional sales. Gross will work with the U.S. team to promote Mevotech programs and product lines to all business partners. He will be actively involved in regional account relationships in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida (excluding the panhandle region), Georgia, South Carolina and southern Wisconsin (to include the Milwaukee area).
Gross comes to Mevotech with over 10 years of experience in sales and customer service, including seven years as national sales manager at International Brake Industries and Carlson Quality Brake Parts, where he was responsible for the company’s sales operations for North America.
CRC Industries Partnering With UTI
CRC Industries will supply all Universal Technical Institute (UTI) locations with a variety of products from its chemical brands, including CRC, SmartWasher, Sta-Lube, K&W and Weld-Aid. Additionally, the company will provide product training material and workshops to UTI students and instructors.
This comes after CRC, in January, launched sponsored classrooms at UTI’s Exton, PA campus and its NASCAR Tech campus in Mooresville, NC. The company plans to roll out three additional sponsored classrooms this year, which showcase some of the company’s products.
“CRC’s partnership gives our students the opportunity to work with the tools they’ll use on the job, in the real world,” said John Dodson, UTI vice president of business alliances. “We look forward to working with CRC to support UTI students as they train for good jobs and rewarding careers in the transportation industry.”
New Senior Marketing Director For 4 Wheel Parts
Jason DiFuccia will be joining 4 Wheel Parts/TAP Worldwide LLC as senior marketing director, transitioning into the role in the coming weeks. As such, DiFuccia will lead the centralized marketing department for Transamerican Auto Parts, establishing marketing strategies for the organization and cultivating the 4 Wheel Parts brand globally.
He will lead a team comprised of TAP directors Brent Goegebuer (advertising and events), Joey DiGiovanni (creative marketing and partnerships) and Judd Kuehling (retention marketing). In addition, DiFuccia will be responsible for driving collaborative, cross-functional work across the TAP product design and manufacturing division.
DiFuccia joins Transamerican Auto Parts from parent company Polaris Industries, where he has spent the last 17 years in a variety of leadership roles, including director of marketing for Polaris Off-Road Vehicles and, most recently, program director for the company’s Factory Choice initiative.
Keystone Launches 2nd Phase Of Parts Via Service
Keystone Automotive Operations has introduced the second phase of Parts Via, its jobber-friendly e-commerce service. Additions include broader e-commerce reach and loyalty benefits for members.
Keystone launched Parts Via in the fall of 2017. The sales network links organic site traffic at its brand partner’s websites to local brick-and-mortar business via a “Buy Now” button.
Profits from the online transactions are shared among the participating supplier partners and dealers, while the free, ship-to-store delivery option served as a catalyst for driving consumer traffic to the local business.
The second phase includes program enhancements that expand e-commerce through a consumer-facing website. The site will host all Parts Via partner products in one location, and include a parts look-up tool, fresh content and ship-to-store/ship-to-home options, according to Keystone.
“This will further expand the opportunity for our brick-and-mortar network dealers to participate in an online sale that may have otherwise gone around them,” Keystone president Bill Rogers said.
In addition, Parts Via now has an Amazon marketplace store with 2,661 SKUs made up of high-volume MAP brands meant to help maintain margins throughout the supply chain.
An appointment-scheduling feature, coming soon on the website, will allow Parts Via network dealers to promote available installation times.
The new loyalty program employs a tiered approach with benefits growing along with participation and engagement. Examples of benefits include dealer web locator placement and positioning, Parts Via profit share, installation network inclusion, marketing support, BIG Show benefits, preferred product access, exclusive promotional opportunities, unique travel and event incentives, and Keystone services incentives.
Parts Via supplier participants include Warn, Hypertech, JW Speaker, Trail FX, Weather Guard, Borla, K&N, Westin, Blue Ox, Coleman-Mach and Pinnacle Appliances. Several other companies — including Iron Cross Automotive, EGR USA, Hellwig Products, Reflexxion Automotive, Paramount Automotive, Cargo Glide, JR Products and Magnaflow — plan to launch programs soon, according to Keystone.
Bestop Buys Bull Accessories/BullRing
Bestop Inc. has reached a deal to acquire Bull Accessories of Boerne, TX, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of patented BullRing-branded tie-down anchors and ratchet straps for light-duty pickup trucks.
Louisville, CO-based Bestop is a manufacturer of soft tops and fabric accessories for Jeeps and UTV vehicles; the sole supplier of factory soft tops on all Jeep Wranglers since 1986; and a supplier of tonneaus, lock boxes, lighting and fabric caps to the pickup truck market.
“BullRing is an incredible niche accessory business that will fit perfectly into Bestop’s premium accessories portfolio,” said Bestop CEO John Larson. “The product and the company carry an impeccable reputation, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help build the brand.”
Bestop is a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, a private investment firm that manages over $2 billion of committed capital. BullRing represents the fifth add-on acquisition for Bestop and Kinderhook’s 68th automotive-related transaction. Among Bestop’s other acquisitions are Baja Designs in 2016, Tuffy Security Products in 2016 and PRP Seats in 2018.
Financial terms of the Bull Accessories deal were not disclosed.
Upon acquisition, BullRing’s operations will be overseen by PRP Seat’s CEO, Aaron Wedeking. PRP Seats is the manufacturer of SpeedStrap weavable recovery straps, plus premium tie-downs and accessories for Jeeps, trucks and UTVs.
Truck Hero Hires Operations EVP
Truck Hero Inc. has named Bill Bowling as its executive vice president of operations, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Kelly Kneifl. Bowling has oversight and responsibility for the truck bed cover brand companies, with a focus on teambuilding, optimizing cost structure and deploying lean concepts. He brings 20 years of automotive industry experience, most recently with Tenneco as regional director of operations for Tenneco Clean Air North America, overseeing seven plants and over 3,000 employees at peak production.
Ann Arbor, MI-based Truck Hero specializes in hard and soft truck bed covers, truck caps, bed liners, floor liners, steps, suspension kits, Jeep parts, and off-road accessories. Its brands include Advantage, A.R.E., BAK, BedRug, Extang, Husky Liners, N-FAB, Omix-ADA, Retrax, Rugged Liner, Rugged Ridge, Superlift, Truxedo, UnderCover and the online retailer RealTruck.
RideTech Adds Production Manager
RideTech has named Chuck Whitney as its production manager, responsible for overseeing all manufacturing and order-fulfillment operations at its Jasper, IN factory. Whitney brings a background in aerospace and racing to RideTech. He has spent that last 11 years producing AS9100 parts for such manufacturers as Boeing, Airbus, Honeywell and Raytheon. His racing career includes crew chief and operations manager roles on several Dirt Modified and Sprint Car race teams.
Association Heads To Address Data Access At Vision
MEMA president and CEO Bill Long and Auto Care Association president and CEO Bill Hanvey will address the upcoming AASA Vision Conference on the topic of freedom of choice and access to data. Their discussion will address the current legal landscape, what the associations are doing, and strategies designed to preserve motorists’ freedom of choice for vehicle maintenance and repairs and with what components he or she chooses. The association leaders will be joined by Sarah Bruno of Arent Fox.
“We will share the results of research conducted by Arent Fox, MEMA’s legal counsel for more than 30 years, assessing the current legal framework relative to vehicle software, data ownership and privacy, and fair competition to gain a better understanding of potential barriers and/or helpful precedent toward solidifying freedom of choice and data access,” Long said. “Similarly, we are delighted to combine forces with the Auto Care Association and be joined by Bill Hanvey, who will share developments in the Massachusetts ‘Right-to-Repair’ legislation and our shared view of the secure vehicle interface solution.”
“The Auto Care Association believes car owners should have the right to access and control their own vehicle data, and we’re fighting to put car data back where it belongs: in the hands of car owners,” Hanvey said. “This opportunity to join with AASA in an open discussion of motorists’ freedom of choice and access to data will be critical in educating and moving the industry forward on these important issues.”
The AASA Vision Conference opens Tuesday, April 2 with a networking reception at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. The conference convenes the following morning at The Henry (also in Dearborn) with sessions examining such topics as …
• “The ‘New Retail’ Future of the Aftermarket (And How to Win).”
• “The Great Tariff Debate.”
• “How the Aftermarket Will Unfold in 2019-’20.”
• “Repairing High-Tech Vehicles.”
The conference will close with an AASA member-only segment that will feature Mark Finestone, executive vice president of merchandising for AutoZone Inc., as the “Customer Spotlight” speaker and a presentation by Adam Goetsch, director of automotive for Amazon.
For more information about the Vision Conference, visit aasavision.org.
AIA Canada Adds Industry Vets To Senior Leadership
AIA Canada has announced the addition of Linda Donnini as vice president of member relations. Donnini comes to the association with over 15 years of automotive aftermarket experience, including time as the vice president of national business solutions (marketing) for Uni-Select Inc. and director of marketing for NAPA Auto Parts in Canada.
Sean Corcelli also has joined AIA Canada as executive director for the Alberta division. Corcelli is an aftermarket veteran who has worked for Acklands Ltd./Acklands-Grainger and Uni-Select. He spent 15 years with Uni-Select, retiring in 2017 as regional vice president for the Prairies division. Corcelli also has been a member of AIA Canada throughout his career, serving on the board of directors from 2000-‘03 and as national chairman of the board in 2002.
In related news, AIA Canada has appointed Caroline Lacasse as director of the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF). Lacasse has been involved in the automotive industry for more than 20 years, with a focus on training and organizational development. She has worked as a collision repair technician and teacher, an I-CAR instructor, university lecturer, and as a training coordinator for CSMO-Auto in Quebec. Lacasse is currently chair of the Quebec I-CAR committee.
Meritor Appoints New Finance Chief, Senior VP Gets Additional Role
Meritor Inc. has appointed Carl Anderson, group vice president – finance, to be its senior vice president and CFO, effective immediately. The move follows Kevin Nowlan’s resignation as senior vice president and president of the Trailer & Components unit and CFO “to accept a chief financial officer position with another company to be announced in the near future,” according to Meritor.
Meanwhile, Joe Plomin has been appointed senior vice president and president – Aftermarket & Industrial and Trailer, and will assume expanded responsibility for the Trailer & Components businesses.
EnPro Unveils CEO Succession Plan
EnPro Industries, parent company to Stemco (among others), has announced that President and CEO Steve Macadam will retire from these roles on July 29. The board of directors has appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Marvin Riley to succeed Macadam as president and CEO at that time. Macadam will then serve as vice chairman — to facilitate the leadership transition and to assist Riley — until the end of February 2020, at which time Macadam intends to resign from the board.
Grote Names National Fleet Sales Manager
Grote Industries (Madison, IN) has hired John May as its national fleet sales manager, responsible for handling sales and customer contacts for the company’s fleet accounts, as well as new business opportunities. May brings over 30 years of maintenance experience in the trucking and vocational agriculture industry, most recently as the Southeast wheel end manager for Stemco Industries, working with fleets, technicians, distributors, and trade schools in wheel end maintenance and training.
Battery Biz is looking for a National Sales Manager to join our growing team! Battery-Biz (the Biz) is an employee-owned company with headquarters located in Camarillo, California. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
We are currently seeking an exceptional Business Development Executive to play an integral role in improving the market position and achieving financial growth for the Auto Care Association. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Fenix Parts Sells Canadian Ops. To Former Owner
Goldy Metals Inc. has acquired Fenix Parts’ Canadian subsidiaries and their operations — consisting of recycling and reselling OEM automotive products — for an undisclosed price. Fenix retains its existing business in the United States. The Canadian operations in Ontario will continue under Goldy’s ownership and will operate as Standard Auto Wreckers.
Standard Auto Wreckers has roots in Ontario, particularly in Toronto, where the business was started by CEO Ken Gold’s uncle in the 1960s. Ken Gold took over the business in 1979 and was joined by his son, David Gold, over 25 years ago. When Goldy Metals sold the business to Fenix in 2015, David Gold remained as president of the Canadian operations. Now that Goldy has reacquired Standard Auto Wreckers from Fenix, David Gold will continue to lead the business.
Fenix is a recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products. Its primary business is the recovery and resale of OEM parts, components, and systems reclaimed from damaged, totaled, or low-value vehicles. Fenix has locations throughout the eastern United States.
People Watching 3/14/19
• Former Exide Technologies and Michelin executive Stan Chandgie is now vice president of consumer sales at Yokohama Tire. He replaces Larry Kull, who was named vice president of sales and business operations. Chandgie comes to Yokohama from Exide, where he was vice president of sales and business transformation.
• Steve Marek has joined Redline Detection (Orange, CA) as regional OEM account manager. He comes to Redline with 19 years of experience at Midtronics, where he led OEM sales.
• Belton, MO-based Safe Fleet has named Mike Schulte as its new president. Safe Fleet is a supplier of fleet safety products including 360-degree cameras, center divide systems, step systems, and backup cameras to the truck and trailer industry. Schulte has held executive leadership roles with General Motors and Danaher. He most recently was group president for the mechanical products and solutions division of Atkore International.
• On Oct 1, 2019, Marc McGrath will become CEO for the Americas region at Schaeffler AG, replacing Bruce Warmbold, who will retire at year’s end, according to the company.
News Briefs 3/14/19
• Turn 14 Distribution (Horsham, PA) has announced the addition of Rampage Products, Stampede Automotive Accessories and CSF Performance to its line card.
• Bodyguard Bumpers has announced a strategic distribution partnership with Keystone Automotive Operations.
• Color Compass Corp. — a large paint, body and equipment distributor in western Canada with a 14-location branch network — has acquired WD Co-Auto’s PB&E division. Based in Edmonton, the PB&E division serves independent and member-dealer collision centers throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. WD Co-Auto also has selected Color Compass as its preferred and exclusive supplier of body shop supplies.
• Putco, the DesMoines, IA-based LED lighting and truck accessories company, has added a new sales territory in the central United States.
• Line-X reports that its franchises, corporate employees and customers raised over $100,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the second consecutive year in 2018.
• Hot Shot’s Secret is broadening its Adrenaline Racing product line to include transmission fluids and gear oils. The company launched Adrenaline Racing motor oil last season.
• Eibach is expanding its partnership with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series beginning in 2019. The company is now title sponsor of the series’ “Rookie of the Year” chase.
• Federated Auto Parts member S&W Supply of Hays, KS is celebrating its 85th anniversary.
• Inland Truck Parts & Service of Overland Park, KS is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/14/19
• More than 70 suppliers that exhibited at this year’s Keystone Automotive Operations’ Big Show were not at the 2018 event, according to show planners. The event also featured a new products showcase with over 180 new items on display, and 36 companies exhibited new point-of-purchase tools. The show took place March 8-9 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX.
• Registration is now open for the Auto Care Association’s Spring Leadership Days taking place May 8-10 in Bonita Springs, FL.
• Icahn Automotive Group CEO Dan Ninivaggi will keynote CAWA’s annual dinner gala in Las Vegas the night before the AAPEX and SEMA shows.
• The Automotive Communications Council (ACC) will host a Go Local networking event at 5:00 pm on Monday, April 8 at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio in conjunction with the ACC Annual Conference.
• Registration is now open for ReMaTec 2019, which is taking place June 23-25 in Amsterdam. Around 300 exhibitors are expected to take part in the trade event.