Midwest People & Places - March 2019
Axle & Wheel Aligning Co. in Old Town Wichita, Kan., caught fire recently. Firefighters said no one was inside the building at the time and no one was injured. To gain access to the building, crews had to saw open a garage door. Firefighters say the bulk of the damage to the building is from smoke. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
The Oklahoma City branch of Jasper Engines & Transmissions took home the President’s Award for 2018 at the company’s annual sales banquet, Jan. 29. Recognized as Jasper’s top branch award, the President’s Award is based upon improvements in several sales categories. In addition, the Oklahoma City branch received an award for Most Improved Fuel and Air Sales in 2018, along with awards for Most Improved Sales Volume and a First Place award in Branch Customer Retention. Oklahoma City Manager Kevin Jones was named Manager of the Year for 2018, and earned second place in Sales Representative Customer Retention. Jones, and Oklahoma City Sales Representative Russell Gray were named Bronze Level sales recipients, achieving a company sales increase in 2018 over the previous year. Oklahoma City Sales Representative Ted Kuehn earned Second Place in Sales Veteran of the Year honors. Kuehn was also named a Silver Level sales recipient, achieving a company sales increase in 2018 over the previous two years.
Chinese manufacturer Zotye will be a part of Wichita’s Scholfield Honda when they are introduced into the U.S. in 2020. Zotye plans 19 stores and Scholfield will be among the first U.S. dealers to sell Chinese vehicles under a Chinese automaker brand name. The company plans to enter 80 top U.S. markets, with 300 to 325 sales points and sales of a Chinese-made crossover by the end of 2020.
Steve Hahn, of CARSTAR Metcalf, Kan., was named Region 6 Advisory Board Member of CARSTAR. Region 6 includes Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa. “We thank all of our advisory board members for their service and their dedication, benefitting the entire network of locally owned and operated franchise partners,” said Michael Macaluso, president of CARSTAR.
Baxter Auto Group of Omaha leadership surprised veteran employee with an exclusive Husker Game Day Experience this past Veterans Day. Baxter employee and veteran William Krasovec and a guest were allowed on field during a University of Nebraska football game and participated in the commemorative on-field coin toss.
Omaha’s Baxter Auto Group is building a new corporate headquarters northwest of 168th Street and West Dodge Road in Omaha, Neb., near three new dealership locations. The new four-story home base, scheduled to be finished later this year, will unify marketing, technology, human resources and other support team members who are currently working in multiple dealerships.
Metro Community College invested $32.5 million into a new building on its South Omaha campus for its auto technology and auto collision programs. Metro administrators said their auto programs, currently in the South Omaha campus’ Mahoney Building and the Applied Technology Center at 10407 State St., were running out of space. The proposed new facility would place the programs in one spot and give them more space. Completion is expected in late 2019.
Midwest Wheel President and CEO John Minor was honored as the 11th recipient of the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Industry Hall of Fame Award on Jan. 29, during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) in Las Vegas. “John has always been one of the most inspiring leaders I have encountered and a great friend for over 30 years,” said Tim Kraus, president and COO of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. “I was always fascinated with how his people all had the same values, enthusiasm and love for the industry as John has always projected.”
Trey Mytty, president and CEO of Truck Center Companies in Omaha, Neb., was named 2019 Truck Dealer of the Year. The national award, sponsored by ATD, Heavy Duty Trucking magazine and Procede Software, recognizes commercial-truck dealers who demonstrate a track record of success in dealership management, service to the industry and community impact.
Bruce Anderson, president of the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, was elected chairman of the Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE). The election was held at the ATAE winter meeting in San Francisco on Jan. 24, in conjunction with the NADA and American Truck Dealers (ATD) shows. Following a 20-year career in the private practice of law, Anderson joined the IADA staff as general counsel in 2006, holding that position until becoming president in 2011.
Clore Automotive has been named NAPA Tools & Equipment 2018 Supplier of the Year. Dave Nicki, NAPA vice president of tools & equipment, presented the award at the 2019 NAPA T&E National Sales Meeting, Mountain/Western Region. Kirk Clore, vice president, sales and marketing, accepted the award on behalf of Clore Automotive. The criteria considered for the award included sales growth, quality, delivery, promotional development and commercial support.
A Kansas City woman’s car was shredded after a repair shop closes without warning. Dozens of cars vanished from On Time Auto off 40 Highway in Kansas City. The business is now boarded up and its owners are nowhere to be found. Aline Rembert says her car was taken to Advantage Metals, a local scrap yard. For her inconvenience, Advantage Metals cut her a check to help cover the replacement costs of her car.
Wirtz Manufacturing, a global leader in equipment design, has made a strategic investment in ZAF Energy Systems Inc., a developer of next-generation battery technology. The investment will expand ZAF’s manufacturing capacity from hundreds of batteries per month to thousands of batteries per month at ZAF’s Joplin, Mo., facility.
The investment by Wirtz follows a $600,000 investment commitment ZAF received last year from Missouri’s Department of Economic Development Fund. Those investments are being used to hire employees, expand production and forge strategic partnerships.
An explosion at Extreme Body and Paint injured the business owner as he was preparing to plow after a snow storm. Chris Russell was taken to a local hospital with extensive burns. The explosion also caused severe damage to the garage.
Affinity Automotive Services, formerly After Hours Auto Repair, celebrated rebranding and a new name with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The owners, Mark and Summer Guerrero, invited customers and vendors to celebrate with refreshments and giveaways.
Topeka repair facility Frye’s Auto Repair celebrates 15 years at current location on Auburn Road. Frye’s Auto Repair has been in Topeka for a total of 36 years. Owners Tony and Christine Frye said, “We have been so incredibly blessed with fabulous employees helping to take care of multiple generations of customers & their vehicles.