Based on the title of this column, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume I’m referring to the holiday season, which is upon us again (somehow). Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems like each year flies by faster than the previous one.
While it’s true this is my favorite time of year, there’s another reason that I look forward to it. As a trade journalist covering the automotive aftermarket, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) is our Super Bowl, and it takes place in late October/early November every year in Las Vegas. What I enjoy most about AAPEX is it’s an occasion for the industry to step back and honor the people who make the aftermarket great. As examples, look no further than Pete Chapman, Joe Sharp and Thomas Chandler.
Over the years, have you worked with a counter person who always seems to make your life easier (and your day a little brighter)? For many shops in Northeast Ohio, Pete Chapman is that guy. He is the 2019 Counter Professional of the Year, presented by WIX Filters and Counterman magazine. I had the pleasure to introduce Pete at several awards ceremonies during AAPEX, and you can learn more about him on P. 34.
The 2019 WIX Driving Performance Award winner should be a familiar face. He is Joe Sharp, owner of Joe’s Garage in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and he was featured in the cover story for our May/June issue (if you lost your hard copy, you can find the digital edition on our website). Joe’s Garage has built its success on a mix of traditional values and attention to modern details. Learn more on P. 36.
Finally, if the aftermarket is to come up with a solution for the technician shortage, schools will have to be part of the equation. That’s why it’s important to recognize the high schools, vo-tech schools and community colleges that are making a difference. For over a decade, WIX Filters and Tomorrow’s Technician magazine have been doing just that through the annual School of the Year award.
The 2019 School of the Year is Laurens District 55 High School in Laurens, South Carolina. Thomas Chandler, automotive technology instructor, accepted the award on behalf of the school during the WIX Filters and Babcox Media Night of Excellence reception. WIX Filters and O’Reilly Auto Parts are sponsors of the national award in conjunction with Tomorrow’s Technician.
Having the opportunity to honor top shop owners, schools and counter professionals is why I consider this the most wonderful time of the year for the automotive aftermarket. I’d like to congratulate Pete Chapman, Joe Sharp and Laurens District 55 High School, and I’d like to wish all of you a blessed holiday season. (Note: Counterman and Tomorrow’s Technician are sister publications of Shop Owner, and all three are published by Babcox Media.)