Perhaps the most common characteristic shared by our Counter Professional of the Year honorees is a passion for learning. The guys and gals who tend to rise to the top of this profession are the ones with an unquenchable thirst for training and education.
Ironically, to the outside observer, these same counter professionals are the ones who probably seem like they need it the least. With decades of experience under their belt, they should be the ones imparting their wisdom on others in the organization, right? Many of them do, of course. But in the ever-changing world of the automotive aftermarket, they know how important it is to stay sharp.
2017 Counter Pro of the Year Thomas Brissett summarized the point quite eloquently when he asserted that “this career path is an everyday learning experience.” Brissett’s employer, NAPA Auto Parts, is known for its robust training programs, and Brissett has taken full advantage of everything NAPA has to offer.
“Training is priceless,” Brissett said in 2017. “This industry is ever-changing, evolving and growing. As parts professionals, we need to stay on top of these changes. Training – (whether) online, in the classroom, NAPA or ASE – is a must to being a successful parts professional. The more you learn, absorb and retain, the stronger you will be.”
Jim Davison, the 2018 Counter Pro of the Year, stays on top of the latest vehicle technology by taking online courses and attending technical clinics offered by his employer. In addition, he maintains his ASE P2 Parts Specialist certification.
Tom Dayton, the 2009 Counter Pro of the Year and a regular contributor to Counterman, remembers the days when training consisted of correspondence courses and a few live events hosted by vendors throughout the year.
Clearly, the internet has been a game-changer for professional development. As Dayton says in his article on page 40: “A wide array of content is available to anyone with an internet connection and the desire to learn, and most of it is 100% free!” Parts distributors, program groups and manufacturers have created thousands of hours of training sessions, all accessible with a few clicks of the mouse.
In his essay submitted for the Counter Pro of the Year award in 2009, Dayton explained that he is “constantly ‘in training’” as he discovers new sources of information and knowledge. “I look at it as an investment in my career,” he wrote in the essay. Knowing Tom, his mindset probably hasn’t changed since 2009. What has changed, though, is the explosion of on-demand learning opportunities available via the internet. It’s never been easier to expand your knowledge base.
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