Every so often, we get a call from a reader who takes issue with the magazine's title. I got one last week from an unnamed woman who works at a national retailer. Most of these correspondences come from female counter professionals who rightly point out that there are many qualified, competent, professional women working the counter across the industry. From time to time, we've considered changing the magazine's name, but in the end, we always come to the same conclusion: The magazine's name has a 22-year history and too much brand recognition in the market. But whichever name you prefer: Counterman, Counterwoman, Counter Pro, they all describe a career that requires a skill set unlike most. To a professional customer, they are a vital part of his - or her - business. After all, a good counter pro can make or break a wholesale customer. They are the essential link to the technician, and without them, bays won't get turned and cars won't get fixed.
And so for the record: We do recognize that there are many, many successful women in distribution. In fact, this very magazine's Counter Professional of the Year designation was awarded to two women - Janet Sherman of Super Parts Automotive Warehouse in Ft. Meyers, FL in 1998 and Chris Isted of CARQUEST Auto Parts in Bloomfield, IL, in 2001.
This all leads me to this year's search for the Counter Professional of the Year award, presented by WIX Filters, which began last month. This year's program has some exciting additional news: WIX Filters is now the official sponsor.
Since 1987, Counterman has annually selected a distribution professional, regardless of gender, 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 group, warehouse or program group.
You can nominate yourself or a colleague for the Counter Professional of the Year award, presented by WIX Filters by completing the form by clicking the link here.
By the way, there are only two caveats to winning the award (and gender isn't one of them!). The first is that nominees should be experienced professionals (no newbies, please). The second is that nominees must be ASE certified. If you're not ASE certified, or if your certification has lapsed, you can register for ASE's July/August computer-based testing by calling 800-525-6929 between July 10th and August 15th.