Kristine “Kris” Hankey of Advance Auto Parts is the 2017 Retail Counter Professional of the Year, sponsored by WIX Filters. Since 1986, Counterman magazine, a Babcox Media publication, has honored an outstanding aftermarket parts professional who displays excellence in all they do.
Hankey joined the Advance Auto Parts team in Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2011, and uses her more than 20 years of automotive industry experience to serve her customers each and every day. As the lead Commercial Parts Pro at her Advance store, Hankey is responsible for knowing her customers’ business inside and out and anticipating their needs. At Advance Auto Parts, Hankey is consistently recognized as a top performer with the Elite A-Team award. Hankey is being recognized as the first Retail Counter Professional of the Year, sponsored by WIX Filters. Hankey received the highly acclaimed Retail Counter Professional of the Year award during Babcox’s Night of Excellence Award Reception held during the 2017 AAPEX Show in Las Vegas.
Hankey is the first female recipient of the Counter Professional of the Year award in more than 20 years, and the first Advance Auto Parts team member to receive the award from Counterman in the 32-year history of the awards program.
Counterman Publisher Scott Shriber honored Hankey for her exemplary work ethic, commitment to customer service, pursuit of aftermarket industry knowledge and team participation, and her efforts to support philanthropic causes in the local community.
“Kris Hankey’s passion for caring for her customers embodies our mission at Advance. She knows her customers’ business inside and out and her knowledge of the industry and ability to anticipate professional customers’ needs is extraordinary. Kris is a huge inspiration to the entire Advance team,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO of Advance. “Kris’s colleagues will tell you she is the ‘go-to’ parts pro in the region. As a result of Kris’s relentless focus on delivering for her customers, she is a role model for everyone at Advance. We could not be more proud to have Kris so deservedly recognized by her peers as the 2017 Counter Professional of the Year.”
Hankey has been around cars her entire life. She got her start working on her own cars alongside her brothers while growing up, and worked for a towing company before moving into a parts role. Today, she trusts the labor on her personal vehicle to some of her customers, but maintains the skillset and knowledge that allow her to understand a technician’s needs. She has continuously kept her P2 ASE certification current, and regularly attends technical training classes offered by Carquest Technical Institute alongside her customers. Access to quality training, recruiting more people to careers in the aftermarket and career-path development are key areas of focus for Advance Auto Parts, and one reason the company is actively participating in the TechForce Foundation’s FutureTech Success initiative.
2017 marks the 32nd year that the Counter Professional of the Year awards have been bestowed by Counterman. As the first female in more than 20 years to receive the honor, Hankey acknowledged that part of her role as a leader in the aftermarket is to help break down barriers for females that work in a male-dominated field.
“Kris certainly has the respect of her fellow team members, who are quick to note her success is evident in how she lives Advance’s mission everyday – Passion for Customers … Passion for Yes!,” said Mike Creedon, Advance’s North Division president. “As we work to establish a more diverse and inclusive aftermarket workforce, having exceptional leaders like Kris gives our company a competitive advantage.”
Hankey makes a point to get to know her customers, their businesses and their families – all of the details that she needs to truly care for her customers each and every day. Her customers will tell you that they all have Hankey’s personal cell phone number, and that in a pinch she is the first person they call or text with a parts or information need. One example of Hankey’s relentless pursuit of providing great service: She has a set of keys to the Advance store, and has been known to come in when the store is closed to search for a part so she can make sure the customer gets what they need as quickly as possible.
Her Advance team members recognize Hankey’s expertise too. Within the Greater York District (which includes as many as 15 Advance stores), she is known as the go-to parts pro. If another team member at a different store doesn’t know the answer to a customer’s question, you can bet they are calling Hankey and she will have or track down the answer.
The relationships she has built with the OE dealerships in the area are so strong, that they will send Hankey bulletins when information on a certain car or part are out, and she is also an avid reader of aftermarket publications (including Counterman) and manufacturer newsletters as sources for growing her knowledge base.