During the last 14 years that I’ve been writing about the automotive aftermarket, I’ve developed some pretty strong views on this industry. It’s just the nature of the job. Generally, I express most of these views right in here in the page of Counterman. Some of these views are popular, some aren’t. I can usually tell right away which views are the popular ones and which ones are less so. Over the years, I’ve found that Counterman readers are not a shy group and they let me know loud and clear what they think about my monthly columns and feature articles. It’s one of the hazards of the job, I guess.
One of the more popular views I hold with readers anyway is the importance and influence distribution professionals have in the market. Yes, technicians are important. But they only install what you sell to them; a strong distributor-installer relationship often dictates the brands that get sold. I can’t tell you how many distributors tell me that generally their customers, by and large, trust their jobbers to make branding decisions for them. That’s quite an influence in this very brand-sensitive market. A distributor can often make or break a service business since they offer the essential training, products and service to get the job done. That’s a lot of power.
Considering all the great work distribution professionals perform all around the market, it’s only natural that Counterman magazine honor the profession with an annual award. And for 21 years, we’ve been doing just that.
This all leads me to this year’s search for the Counter Professional of the Year award. We are especially honored to announce that this year’s award is presented by the Affinia Group and its Raybestos, Spicer and Wix brands.
Since 1987, Counterman has annually selected a distribution professional to receive the profession’s highest honor. Once selected, the winner and a guest fly out to Las Vegas for the annual Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), the world’s largest aftermarket trade show. The honoree is showered with accolades in front of the entire industry and gets to rub elbows with the top brass in the business. It’s quite an experience, as any of the past honorees can attest. It’s also terrific publicity for the winner’s store, warehouse and program group.
You can nominate yourself or a colleague for the Counter Professional of the Year award, presented by the Affinia Group online at counterman.com.
I should mention that, despite the name, the Counter Professional of the Year award is not restricted to just counter pros. Over the past 21 years, we’ve had store managers, warehouse managers, store owners and outside salesmen win the award too. The only caveats are that nominees should be experienced distribution professionals (no newbies, please) and that nominees must be ASE certified. If you’re not ASE certified, or if your certification has lapsed, you can register for ASE’s summer computer-based testing by calling 800-525-6929 between now and August 22. ASE’s computer-based testing is available at 200 test centers nationwide.
We look forward to hosting a reader in Las Vegas to receive this very prestigious award. The clock is ticking, however. Get your nominations in before the August 31 deadline!