Article > Current Events

And the Counter Professional of the Year Is...

By Mark Phillips

Dan Backus, owner of the JS Auto Supply, a Parts Plus store in Jamestown, N.Y., describes the moment he read Thomas Dayton’s resumé for a counter professional position.
Mark Phillips
Dan Backus, owner of the JS Auto Supply, a Parts Plus store in Jamestown, N.Y., describes the moment he read Thomas Dayton’s resumé for a counter professional position. “He was head and shoulders above everyone else,” Backus said.

And once on the job, Backus’s gut feeling about Dayton’s dedication to the job was confirmed.

Customers seek him out for his knowledge and ability to find what they need, when they need it. “He digs deeper than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Backus said. “He’s exceptional and people depend on him like crazy. He takes over the office when I’m not here and I don’t have to worry about a thing,” Backus said.

Job dedication, attention to detail and thirst for more knowledge were among the qualities that made Thomas stand out and ultimately receive Counterman’s Counter Professional of the Year for 2009.

Thomas and his wife will be traveling to Las Vegas in early November to the AAPEX show to receive his award during the AWDA recognition luncheon.

Thomas shows he’s dedicated to learning more about his profession. He is ASE certified and holds an AIA import parts specialist Master’s Level certificate. This fall, he enrolled in Alfred State College’s Automotive Parts Technology degree program, for which he commits about 20 hours per week of study. He makes plenty of time to read industry publications and Web sites and says he makes the most of interactions with customers and sales reps to more fully understand industry trends.

He also participates in as many online training courses as he can find. In addition, each year he attends at least three manufacturer’s technical training seminars. “I am constantly ‘in-training’, as I discover new sources of information and knowledge. I look at it as an investment in my career,” he wrote for his essay submitted for the award.

Thomas’s store resides in Jamestown, a city of about 30,000 people, which surrounded by smaller rural villages and towns. Employed by the store are four full-time counterpeople, an outside salesman and nine part-time drivers. The store serves customers in an approximate 30-mile radius, and the mix of commercial vs. retail clients is about 80-20.

We applaud Thomas Dayton for his hard work and dedication to our industry.

To those not chosen for this year’s Counter Professional of the Year award, keep up the good work and try again for it next year. We received many very worthy entries and it’s never easy to pick one out from the crowd. In the December issue, you’ll get a chance to review the four finalists for this year’s coveted award. We appreciate the time everyone took to send in an entry and hope you immediately begin submitting for next year. We now take entries year-round at
  Previous Comments
avatar   Larry Ruffo   star   11/13/2009   10:19 AM

Hi,From Toronto Canada here and since we are both in the same line of work,myself for 26yrs,I just wanted to say congratulations and keep up the good work.It was very refreshing to read your story,you never can stop learning in our trade.Once again congratulations,you sound very deserving of this award!!!!

avatar   Larry Sales   star   10/14/2009   10:35 PM

Jesse We have never met your husband but are really happy for you and what a great award to win. Hope all is well with you. Have a great time in Vegas and say "HI" to all Larry & Donna Mae

avatar   Vi Davidson   star   10/13/2009   5:10 PM

As a professional people person (pastor) I know first hand how well Tom works with people! Great choice! Tom is deserving of the award!

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