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Northwood University Honors Seven Industry Leaders with Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Awards

October 6, 2016

Nov. 1 ceremony honors those dedicated to supporting and advancing education at all levels, inside and outside of the industry

Northwood University will recognize seven prominent supporters of educational initiatives and learning within the automotive aftermarket industry with its prestigious Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award.

Recipients will receive their honors during a ceremony on Nov. 1 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The event will be held during AAPEX 2016, in conjunction with the Automotive Aftermarket Professional/Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional graduation luncheon. These designations were developed in partnership with the Auto Care Association, AWDA, MEMA and Northwood University.

The Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award is given to industry leaders, throughout the country, who have made noteworthy contributions to education, on any level, inside or outside of the industry. Their names and notable activities have been recorded in the awards book that will be distributed throughout the industry.

“Recipients of this honor are people of stature, and the award is recognition of their substantial dedication over a number of years to the educational process and the field of automotive aftermarket,” notes Keith A. Pretty, Northwood University president and CEO. “Our honorees devote notable time and energy to education, making a worthwhile contribution within their industry but also outside of it.”

This year’s winners include:

  • joel-ayres-photoJoel Ayres, executive director, Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation, Sacramento, California. With over 35 years of experience in the aftermarket industry, Joel Ayres brings an extensive understanding and knowledge of the industry to his current position as executive director of one of the industry’s leading charitable foundations. He was recruited last year to become the organization’s first full-time director and lead the foundation’s activities, which a voluntary board of industry dignitaries previously managed.
  • brian-cohn-photoBrian S. Cohn, president, Multi Parts, Jupiter, Florida. Brian Cohn was practically born into the aftermarket auto parts industry.  At age five he began “working” at his father’s jobber store.  At age nine he attended his first industry trade show.  After graduation from Northwestern University he began his career with Spectrum International, working closely with the owner, his father, Barry Cohn. A self-described Chief Opportunity Officer, Brian is the president of Multi Parts a global company with locations in Florida, New York, Europe and China. Committed to advancing education in the industry, Cohn led Multi Parts in developing and implementing the SPARK Initiative, a multi-day industry immersion symposium conducted annually at the AAPEX Show. Cohn helped conceive the Spark Initiative to introduce the next generation of aftermarket professionals to the industry at its largest single event.
  • louwers-paulPaul M. Louwers, chief executive officer, Automotive Video Innovations, Inc., Fort Myers, Florida. Paul Louwers is the founder of the successful and highly regarded Automotive Video Innovations (AVI). Founded in 1994, the company’s concept to create and deliver powerful automotive educational training and web-based content was welcomed and well received by the aftermarket industry. AVI’s involvement extends support to several aftermarket manufacturers, including Bosch, Delphi and Denso, where it has provided more than 40 consecutive live-stream broadcasts from its in-house studios. The company also provides educational resources to The Group Training Academy, a part of Pronto and Federated Auto Parts, as well as training for Advanced Auto Parts and its e-learning program.
  • recchia-picture-jan-2016Mario B. Recchia, senior vice president – marketing, WORLDPAC, Dayton, New Jersey. Under Mario Recchia’s leadership, the WORLDPAC Training Institute assists customers in growing and increasing the profitability of their businesses through education. Classes are created explicitly for the independent shop and are designed and taught by experienced automotive professional instructors. The Institute aims to establish and maintain relationships with WORLDPAC customers that will, in turn, generate long-term, mutual sustainable value.
  • segal-david-photoDavid T. Segal, MAAP, president, Automotive Supply Associates, Inc., Sanel Auto Parts Company, Concord, New Hampshire. Under David Segal’s leadership, Sanel Auto Parts created an annual training program for automotive, heavy-duty vehicles, and paint and body segments with hands-on technical and business classes for external customers and internal company use. The company strategically located its satellite training centers in areas near its customer base, making it easier and more convenient for them to participate.
  • bobby-segalRobert M. Segal, MAAP, chief executive officer, Automotive Supply Associates and Sanel Auto Parts Company, Concord, New Hampshire. With a strong commitment to education, Robert Segal helped to create a company culture that encourages continuous learning for all of its personnel, including the sponsorship of ten of its team members to attend the University of the Aftermarket and AWDA University educational programs.
  • thorne-steveSteve Thorne, founder and chief executive officer, Eastern Warehouse Distributors, Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Steve Thorne understood the basics that to provide great service you need highly trained people, as well as the importance of creating a “partnership” in information and education with the customers. In the early years as a young company, educational opportunities for training staff and customers were fairly limited locally. Thorne contracted the “best of the best,” had them train the staff internally and created manufacturer-led clinics for customers on best repair practices. As his business grew, and in joining the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance in 1998, he was able to incorporate many more educational opportunities into the program.

For more information about the Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Awards or Northwood University, visit, or call 800.622.9000.

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