Article > Opinion

There's More than Meets the Eye

By Jon S. Owens

Commitment, dedication, sincerity and integrity - those are the words that best describe this year's Counterperson of the Year.

Once again, it's time to honor our Counterperson of the Year. My how time flies! It seems like only yesterday I was writing about last year's winner, Chris Isted, a very deserving parts professional from an Illinois CARQUEST store. Now here we are in 2002 honoring Jerry Ives, another outstanding CARQUEST pro from the Syracuse, NY, area. Jerry is the assistant manager at the Mattydale, NY, CARQUEST.

There's a saying that goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." And I say that not just because Jerry and Chris both work in the CARQUEST system, but because there are other similarities between Jerry and Chris. If you look closely over the 19-year history of this award, there is a very definite common thread among all of our recipients, and I'd like to share some of those characteristics with you.

Jerry, like Chris, was nominated by his supervisor. He excels at customer service and is lauded by his customers and co-workers. He is often cited as the single most important reason why customers buy from his store. Jerry is an ASE Certified Parts Specialist (among many other honors) and a former mechanic who can, to this day, work on pretty much any vehicle on the road. To sum it up, he's more than qualified for this honor. But, that's just the beginning.

In an industry where image is key, Jerry exemplifies what it means to be an automotive aftermarket professional. Jerry is one of the few store personnel we know of who holds a master's degree. He attained his master's and bachelor's degrees from Syracuse University, attending classes in his limited free time while also working part time in the automotive aftermarket. That type of dedication to one's own personal growth and development speaks volumes about the type of professional one will be at work. Commitment, dedication, sincerity and integrity - you've heard these characteristics mentioned over and over. However, it's rare that you see them all come together in one complete package. And rarely do you see the type of impact they have on your business. But you can see all of this in Jerry Ives.

Here are some of the comments that impressed me the most when I was reading Jerry's letters of recommendation:

Experience: "The automotive industry continues to change," said Charlie Schirtz, one of Jerry's best customers. But, "Jerry has been through all those changes and continues to expand his knowledge in his field. This guy is the best."

Knowledge: "You don't have the kind of insight that Jerry has unless you've done the job yourself," said Mark Ellis, a longtime customer.

Jerry as a Team Player: "I feel very honored to represent an industry that I've been a part of for so many years. I am fortunate to work with such a great bunch of guys. We all work together as a team, and I have to give much of the credit to them."

Going the Extra Mile: "Jerry's commitment to education and his customers is the cornerstone to achieving the perfect balance in the automotive parts industry," said Richard Kent, the department chair of Automotive Technology and Alternative Fuels at Onondaga Community College.

Jerry, we at Counterman are proud to have you representing counter professionals everywhere. Congratulations! See you in Las Vegas!

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