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2009 Counter Professional of the Year Finalist: Lawrence Hyde

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It’s always a difficult task to choose a single recipient for the Counter Professional of the Year award. The staff of Counterman magazine sifted through piles of entries and identified several people who are worthy of recognition. After narrowing all the entries down to five finalists, Thomas Dayton, of J S Auto Supply, Jamestown, N.Y., was chosen as the recipient. Here is a look at those who made it to the final round.

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Lawrence Hyde
Murray O’Reilly Auto Parts
Flint, Mich.

Hyde has been an aftermarket automotive parts professional since 1972. In his essay to the judges, he wrote about the troubling lack of information coming from auto manufacturers.

“Service bulletins are issued to dealer’s service departments when a problem is discovered. These bulletins should be made available to us so that we are aware when customers come in complaining of problems they are encountering with their out-of-warranty vehicle.”

CUSTOMERS FOLLOW HIM
Hyde is dedicated to the best customer service he can provide and customers have followed him from store to store as he has changed positions.

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He’s known to always have a note in his pocket, reminding himself to track down one more source for a particular part.

He’s also known to work on his day off, stay late and come in early. In 2009, he received about 150 hours of in-store training. His store is 60 percent retail, 40 percent commercial and has 12 employees.

TRAINING IS PARAMOUNT
“In this fast-paced and ever-changing environment, training is always an issue,” Hyde said.

“Counter professionals always have something new to learn, be it parts-related or electronic data retrieval. Magazines, emails and Web sites run by suppliers and manufacturers are all available, but there never seems to be enough time for us to access all that we need to know.”

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Hyde understands full well the need to continually train and continue his in-house education. “Nowadays, cars don’t even need to change the oil as often as they used to. Car makes and models change all the time … So every day, an opportunity presents itself to learn something new.”

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