Around the Industry

Sept. 1, 2018
From scholarships and giving back to an investigation and financing for AI, check out all of the latest stories from Around the Industry.

Lucas Oil Center in Evansville, Indiana, hosted a special Give Back Day to support the kids at Riley Hospital for Children on July 14.

Lucas oil Center gave back 20 percent of all car wash purchases at their eastside location all day on Saturday, July 14.

Riley Hospital for Children strives to provide a family-friendly environment where world-class healthcare for children is matched by genuine hospitality and helpfulness. Located in Indianapolis, Riley Hospital for Children, serves many children and families with several facilities throughout the state of Indiana, including Evansville.

“We are excited for the opportunity to support Riley Hospital for Children with this give back event,” said Bill Floyd, co-owner of Lucas Oil Center in Evansville. “So many families and young people in our area have been helped by the great people at Riley over the years. If we can help them in even the smallest way, we are thrilled to do it. Here at Lucas Oil Center, we like to think of ourselves as passionate people with smiling faces serving our community one car at a time.” Back to Top

Valvoline Awards Grassroots Racer $50,000 to Pursue Racing Career

Valvoline recently announced Wyatt Alexander of Ellsworth, Maine, as the grand prize winner of its Fast Track to Fame contest, which was launched nationwide in support of grassroots racing.

Valvoline announced the program in February, inviting amateur racers of all backgrounds and experience levels to participate in an effort to celebrate the passion and pursuit of excellence that drives grassroots culture. The contest operated in two rounds, with the second round controlled exclusively by public voting. Valvoline received over 800 driver entries and thousands of user votes were cast throughout the duration of the program.

Alexander is a third-generation mechanic and race car driver with aspirations of racing professionally. In the meantime, the 18 year old is enrolled full-time at UNC Charlotte studying mechanical engineering while he works part-time for two race teams.

“I’m living the dream, but I’m constantly on the go. It’s a balance of doing anything I can to be the next young gun, but also knowing that I need to focus on school,” Alexander said. “With this opportunity from Valvoline, I want to put a couple other big races on our schedule to get my name out there. It’s pretty simple: just do more racing.”

Valvoline has a rich history in professional racing dating back to its winning the first American auto race in 1895, to formulating the world’s first racing oil in 1965, to sponsoring legends like Mark Martin, Al Unser Jr., Joe Amato and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

“This program was an opportunity to show our continued support for motorsports and those who live the ‘Never Idle’ mantra that Valvoline is rooted in,” said Travis Montgomery, head of sports marketing and entertainment for Valvoline. “We were looking for someone with grit, passion and drive, and there is no doubt we found those qualities and more in Wyatt.”

In addition to the overall Fast Track to Fame winner, three runners-up — Morgan Ward of Watertown, South Dakota, Jonathan McKennedy of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and John Baker of French Lick, Indiana — will receive incremental prizes including cash and Valvoline product.

“We look forward to watching these young racers’ successes and will offer continued support as they continue to pursue their dreams in motorsports,” Montgomery said.

This opportunity is made possible by sponsors including Speedway Motors, One on One Brand, iRacing and TSMGI. Back to Top

Car Hits Oil Change Building reported an accident in Lima, Ohio, that happened June 22 at the Valvoline Quick Oil Change on Elida Road. According to officials at the scene, a Cadillac was traveling westbound on Elida Road when another vehicle caused the driver to lose control. The car traveled up and over the curb causing it to spin, striking the building and a flagpole with enough force to blow out the back window.

The driver and his passenger were transported to the hospital with what first responders told appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. Back to Top

University of the Aftermarket Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients

The University of the Aftermarket Foundation has awarded 80 students with scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year.

“We are very pleased that the University of the Aftermarket Foundation can help so many talented students that are pursuing a career in the automotive aftermarket,” said Pete Kornafel, MAAP, chairman, education and scholarship committee, University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF). “By helping them with scholarship funds toward their tuition, they can focus on achieving their academic goals and entering the workforce.”

Scholarships totaling $130,000 have been awarded to students working either to become a mechanical, collision or heavy-duty repair professional or who are pursuing a business or engineering degree that will lead to a career in the automotive aftermarket. The recipients attend or will attend a two-year vocational/technical college or a four-year college or university and will each receive a UAF scholarship worth $1,000 to $5,000 to advance their education.

The University of the Aftermarket Foundation also awards named scholarships on behalf of a variety of individuals and organizations. To learn more or apply for a scholarship, visit and: Back to Top

VIOC Supports Red Cross Flood Relief

The Red Cross and Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations around the state of Maryland teamed up to help support their neighbors in Ellicott City who were hard hit by flooding.

Customers donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at eight Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations in Maryland. Every customer who donated received a discount on future oil change services and a donation card to help build a visual “wall of generosity” at these service centers. The centers that participated in the relief fund were: Annapolis, Bowie, Brooklyn Park, Edgewater, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, Laurel and Middle River.

In addition, the Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchisee that operates these locations, Henley Enterprises, Inc., matched 50 percent of all customer donations up to $10,000.

“We want to give back to the community of Ellicott City,” said Don Smith, CEO of Henley Enterprises. “We appreciate our customers’ generosity in this time of need and want to show our support for the communities we serve.” Back to Top

BG Products at the White House for Made in America

BG Products, Inc., was selected to represent the state of Kansas at the Made in America Product Showcase hosted at the White House on July 23, 2018.

“We are humbled to be chosen for this prestigious honor,” said Darin Greseth, BG Products Inc., president and CEO. “I’m thankful for all the wonderful people who are part of BG, in Kansas and around the world. The best automotive fluids in the world are made in America by BG Products!”

A few of BG’s highest quality products and equipment were on display on the State Floor in the White House. BG Products Inc., representatives Tim Albritten and Shawn Farney presented President Donald J. Trump with a commemorative BG 44K can encased in a shadow box signed by employees in Wichita, Derby and El Dorado, Kansas.

“It was a privilege to represent BG Products and our distributors,” said Shawn Farney, general manager for Kansas BG. “I will never forget this lifetime opportunity.”

“BG is a homegrown company with deep roots in American soil,” said Tim Albritten, Sr., business development manager. “I’m proud to be part of a company that has been made in the U.S.A. for nearly 50 years.” Back to Top

Learn More, Earn More at AAPEX

Continuing education: Lawyers need it, doctors need it and — perhaps most of all — automotive professionals need it. Advances in the automotive aftermarket industry move fast, and to remain competitive, staying informed is critical.

That’s why AAPEX will be rolling out even more robust educational programs for 2018, with forward-thinking, innovation-focused areas like Let’s Tech, Mobility Garage and AAPEX Technology of Tomorrow supporting the industry-leading curriculum.

Like last year, AAPEXedu sessions will be offered and accredited by the University of the Aftermarket and applicable toward the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) and Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designations. Tracks include business management, heating/cooling, import/export, industry trends, paint and body and the Young Professionals Program, among others. In addition to new courses focused on honing business skills — such as The Four Cornerstones of Service Operations Success and Seven Steps to Winning a Customer and a Sale — is the timely offering, Why Should I Work for You? Experts will demonstrate what top shops are doing to recruit talent and achieve a competitive advantage.

The AAPEXedu Service Professionals Program will include a Service Professionals General Session — a town-hall-style program with new content featuring an industry panel comprised of a shop owner, a technician and an industry trainer. The Service Professionals General Session will return this year on Thursday, November 1, and is free to attend.

For more information on how AAPEX helps technicians stay ahead of the curve, details on event registration and more, visit: Back to Top

Celebrity Car Builder Delivers Lift Safety Tips

Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), the trade association dedicated to vehicle lift safety, recently launched a four-part video series featuring celebrity car builder/TV host Lou Santiago. Watch the first episode at:

In the series, Santiago gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the new LiftLab facility at ALI’s headquarters in Cortland, New York. Along the way, he shares lift safety tips and highlights a couple of cool vehicles in the facility: a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner and a 1946 Brockway heavy-duty truck.

“Lou’s been wrenching on cars and trucks since he was a kid,” said R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, ALI president. “He got his start through the New York State BOCES program for diesel mechanics, served his country as a Navy Seabee and has shown millions of people how to build and repair vehicles through his television shows. He’s a great guy to deliver the message that although everyone makes mistakes, it is important to focus on using and maintaining lifts properly to stay safe on the job.”

As Lou says in the first video, “It’s no secret that most of us do not sit around the shop and talk about lift safety. (But) at some time in your life, you have to make a commitment to being safe. I’m being serious here. I’ve pulled out transmissions in the middle of the desert in a slot ditch. It’s not the way to do it, but when things get rough, you gotta do what you gotta do. Nowadays, when you’re in your shop, you don’t have to rush. I understand time is money. But you can’t get the money if you’re in a hole.” Back to Top

Raising Funds for Breast Cancer Awareness

Beginning in March with the Strictly Diesel Desert Diesel Nationals at Wildhorse Pass Motorsport Park through the recent Thoroughbred Diesel Throwdown at Mountain Park Dragway, Amalee Mueller has taken the lead in sled pulling points for Pro Stock and Limited Pro Stock classes, as well as second place in points for the Super Diesel class of NHRDA’s Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Drag Racing series.

After her mother’s triumphant battle against breast cancer, Mueller decided to brand her Dodge Cummins powered truck Save The Racks to raise awareness and lend support for a continuing fight against breast cancer. Soon thereafter, Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret and the title sponsor of the NHRDA Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Drag Racing series, announced they would support her cause by donating funds for each pass made by Mueller in her Super Diesel race truck, as well as the family’s other Save The Racks branded Pro Stock race truck, currently driven by Larson Miller from Firepunk Diesel. All funds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Halfway through the season, over $4,000 had already been raised.

Kyle Fischer, Lubrication Specialties Inc. director of Marketing, said, “We have long been impressed with Amalee and her determination to win. When we heard of her plans to raise awareness for breast cancer, our company was committed to backing her. We announced the Save The Racks promotion that donates funds for every pass, as well as additional funds if the trucks make it to the finals of any racing class.”

With every pass made during the season by Amalee or made by the Save The Racks Pro Stock truck, Hot Shot’s Secret donates $50. Additionally, the company provides a $250 bonus for finishing runner-up and a $500 bonus for a class victory.

“Hot Shot’s Secret, as a brand, is growing very successfully, and we attribute much of it to our title sponsorship with NHRDA and the kinds of partnerships in the automotive industry we have established, like the one with Amalee Mueller,” Fischer said. “She is a fierce competitor both on the track and in her efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. It feels great to be in a position to help her cause.” Back to Top

Auto Care Association Testifies Before Department of Commerce on Section 232 Auto Investigation

On July 19, Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey testified before the Department of Commerce (Commerce) in Washington, D.C. on the Section 232 National Security Investigation of Imports of Automobiles and Automotive Parts. In Hanvey’s testimony, the Auto Care Association urged the Trump administration to consider the severity of unintended consequences that may ensue by imposing of tariffs on imported autos and auto parts, including the negative impact it may have on the U.S. economy and jobs, our global competitiveness and U.S. consumers and families.

“The auto industry has an international footprint and comprises integrated supply chains that are long and global,” Hanvey said. Hanvey also noted that imports, including raw materials and intermediate goods, allow our industry to remain competitive domestically and to export globally, while supporting a broad range of U.S. jobs.

“A recent economic study completed for the Auto Care Association found that a 25 percent tariff on imported auto parts could cause a reduction of 17,800 jobs in the auto parts manufacturing sector, resulting in $1.4 billion in lost wages,” Hanvey said. “The study further predicts that 6,800 jobs would be lost by vehicle repair shops and an additional 85,200 jobs would be lost in the auto care wholesale and retail segment due to unperformed maintenance.

“We support the Trump administration’s efforts to improve U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace, but strongly recommend that the administration refrain from trade restrictions that would undermine the auto industry. We urge the administration to seek solutions that protect U.S. investments, facilitate trade and create competitive value chains that benefit the global growth of our industry.”

In addition to Hanvey’s testimony, the Auto Care Association submitted comments to Commerce on June 29 regarding the Section 232 investigation as part of the public comment process. Back to Top

New York State Automotive Aftermarket Association Announces Scholarship Winners

The New York State Automotive Aftermarket Association (NYSAAA), in conjunction with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, has awarded three academic scholarships in honor of John J. Lorenzen and Debbie J. Tranello to New York residents who will be attending college in the fall.

Each of the following individuals have been awarded a $700 scholarship for their academic pursuits.

  • Cameron Sprague, Rochester, New York – Alfred State College
  • Edelyn Nunez Abreu of Bronx, New York – Delhi University
  • Dawson Mead of Lowville, New York – Jefferson Community College
“The University of the Aftermarket Foundation commends NYSAAA for awarding these scholarships to three outstanding and well-deserving students,” said Bob Egan, MAAP, chairman, University of the Aftermarket Foundation. “NYSAAA has a long history of providing industry educational opportunities in the state of New York and we are honored to be able to administer these scholarships on behalf of them.”

To learn about available scholarship opportunities or to support the mission of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, visit: Back to Top

AI Solution Provider Secures Series A Financing

Openbay, an online marketplace for automotive repair and services and a provider of SaaS based solutions for the automotive aftermarket industry, recently announced it closed an $8M Series A round of financing. Shell Ventures LLC led the round with participation from existing investor Stage 1 Ventures. The new round will be used to bring to market artificial intelligence (AI) enabled solutions for businesses that provide automotive repair services and to grow existing and new markets across all its offerings.

Openbay provides an online marketplace that empowers consumers to conveniently locate automotive service providers, compare price quotes for services and transact for automotive maintenance services.

“Openbay’s vision has not changed since its inception; fundamentally improve the experience for automotive repair and services for consumers, and the way that automotive care businesses acquire and service customers. Consumers expect their interactions across websites, social platforms, mobile and messaging apps to be engaging and interactive. This requires natural-language processing, machine learning and predictive analytics,” said Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay. “With fresh capital and depth of the resources our strategic and global investors bring to Openbay, the company is now well positioned to grow and expand its offering globally.” Back to Top

Pronto Awards Eight Auto Service Center Scholarships

National Pronto Association has awarded eight Auto Service Center scholarships, according to Bill Maggs, president and CEO of National Pronto Association.

The following students will receive scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year: Mariana Armstrong of Gainesville, Florida; Emily Blaettner of Boerne, Texas; Robert Blaettner of Boerne, Texas; Anna Christians of Sheldon, Iowa; Giovanni Colatruglio of Warren, New Jersey; Matthew Matuska of George, Iowa; Ashley Stamboulain of Robbinsville, New Jersey; and Jonah Stevenson of Huntsville, Alabama.

The annual Pronto scholarship program is funded by National Pronto Association and its warehouse distributor members and is administered by the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. Sons, daughters and employees of any active Pronto Auto Service Center currently purchasing from a Pronto member are eligible for consideration. Candidates must be attending a two or four-year accredited college, an ASE/NATEF certified post-secondary automotive/heavy duty/collision technician training program or any licensed and accredited vocational school.

“National Pronto Association is honored to award scholarships to these outstanding young men and women,” Maggs said. “These scholarships demonstrate our commitment to help provide educational opportunities to the next generation of our members’ employees and families.”

To apply for future scholarship opportunities, visit: Each application will be considered for every scholarship where the application meets the qualifications. Back to Top

Jiffy Lube Expands Footprint

Jiffy Lube continues its focus on expanding the brand’s footprint. With more than 2,081 franchise-owned service centers across North America, the automotive maintenance provider has opened 45 new Jiffy Lube service centers in the U.S. since January 2017, expanding into new markets and growing communities.

“Last year, we doubled the number of new Jiffy Lube service centers opened over the previous year and are purposely maintaining our aggressive growth strategy,” said Patrick Southwick, president of Jiffy Lube International, Inc. “Jiffy Lube is known for speed and convenience, and one important aspect of convenience is providing the right services in the right location. We are delivering exactly that as we methodically plan our growth.”

On average, Jiffy Lube has added between two and three franchisee-owned service centers per month since the beginning of 2017, with plans to increase year on year growth projections. The growth extends coast-to-coast, with the most recent service centers opening in Glenpool, Oklahoma; Odessa, Florida; Dallas, Oregon; Palmdale, California; Holly Springs, North Carolina; Alpharetta, Georgia and Tracy, California.

Chris Dykes, director of Network Development for Jiffy Lube International, Inc., added, “We offer several incentive programs and provide numerous resources to support new growth to help existing and prospective Jiffy Lube franchisees grow their business, whether the franchisee is looking to self-develop new locations, participate in a ‘turn key’ Build to Suit program, or anything in between.” Back to Top

Take 5 Oil Change Supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

For 12 years Take 5 Oil Change locations have raised more than $1.17 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit raising money and awareness for nearly 170 children’s hospitals. After raising $426,506 in 2017, Take 5 Oil Change set their sights higher.

“We know that this year our customers were enthusiastic about supporting such an incredible organization that dedicates an immense amount of time and resources to improving the lives and health of children,” said Gabe Mendoza, president of Take 5 Oil Change.

From May 25 to July 13, over 320 Take 5 Oil Change locations across the country raised more than $500,000 benefitting 35 hospitals across 20 states. Customers made donations from $1 to $5, proving a small act of kindness can make a big difference.

"Partnering with an organization that has been dedicated to helping children in each of the local communities it serves for 35 years is something that we take immense pride in," Mendoza said. "Knowing that our donations, including the funds raised through our customers, will be immediately invested back into our local children's hospitals to purchase life-saving medical equipment and care is why we continue to partner with this organization year after year."

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