Babcox Award Event Celebrates Industry Excellence
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Babcox Award Event Celebrates Industry Excellence

Annual Night of Excellence honors recipients of three major awards at AAPEX Show.

AMN/Counterman, Babcox Media and Wix Filters introduced Rocky Gragg, of Parts Authority in Norcross, GA, as the 2021 Counter Professional of the Year during the 2021 Night of Excellence, the annual industry party held during the AAPEX Show in Las Vegas. This year’s event was held in Joe’s Garage on the show floor at the Sands Expo Tuesday, November 2.

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WIX Filters co-sponsors the national award with AMN/Counterman. Gragg, a senior market specialist at Parts Authority, has been a go-to counterman in the Augusta and Atlanta areas for more than 40 years.

Josh Cable, editor of Counterman, presented the award to Gragg. “The thing I’ve always tried to do is treat people just the way I want to be treated,” Gragg says of his approach to customer service. “Working on cars is hard enough as it is, and from doing it a lot myself, I know all the trials and tribulations they go through. I just want to get people the right stuff, the first time.”

Rocky Gragg, 2021 Counter Professional of the Year

The Counter Professional of the Year award annually recognizes an automotive aftermarket parts professional who exceeds expectations, continually pursues advanced training, is a supreme parts professional and is an ambassador for the aftermarket.

“WIX Filters is proud to partner with Babcox Media to recognize exceptional service behind the counter,” said Alison Grabowski, senior marketing manager for WIX Filters. “Mr. Gragg is a role model in this industry, committed to serving his customers and providing elite service, serving as an example to others for more than four decades.”

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2021 Top Shop Winners Presented

In addition, Burt Brothers Tire & Service, with 15 locations throughout the greater Salt Lake City area, was presented as the winner of the 2021 Tire Review Top Shop Award, presented by Coats.

The winner was announced during Tire Review‘s Top Shop Event in Nashville, TN, earlier this year. Co-owners Jake and Jason Burt accepted the award on behalf of the dealership’s five-man ownership team, which also includes Jake and Jason’s brother, Jeremy, and their cousins, Cory and Brandon Burt.

Burt Brothers and Tire Review Staff celebrate at the Night of Excellence.

“The work never stops, but to be recognized for our constant efforts to our customers and employees is truly honorable,” Jake said. “This has been in the making for years to be a Top Shop, and to be able to share it with our employees, we are so proud. We will ride this high for many years down the road and strive to take it to the next level in the future.”

Burt Brothers, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was chosen by an independent panel of judges from among dozens of entries. The judges commended the dealership on its stellar customer service, digital-focused convenience features, creative marketing campaigns and the heart it has for giving back to its community.

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Madeleine Winer, editor of Tire Review, made the presentation.

School of the Year Recognized

In addition to recognizing the current generation of automotive excellence, the next generation was celebrated as well. Doug Kaufman, editor of Tomorrow’s Technician, presented Jack Stow, instructor at CTEC Automotive of North Kansas City Schools, Kansas City, MO, with the 2020 School of the Year award. The school is the 13th recipient of the annual program, naming it the best technical training school in the country. WIX Filters and O’Reilly Auto Parts are sponsors of the national award in conjunction with Tomorrow’s Technician, a Babcox Media property dedicated to automotive students.

Jack Stow, of North Kansas City Schools, gives all the credit for his program being named School of the Year to his administrators, his students and their parents.

“North Kansas City Schools would like to thank everyone at WIX Filters, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Tomorrow’s Technician magazine,” said Jack Stow, CTEC Automotive instructor. “Being nominated for School of the Year and representing the Midwest in this contest since 2018 has opened doors and provided countless opportunities for our automotive students. We’re very proud of our students and our automotive technology program. We also want to thank the other outstanding programs across the country that participate in this annual contest as we have admired their efforts for many years. To be considered their peer is an accomplishment unto itself.”

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