The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has best-in-class payload at 1,600 pounds.  (Photo by Jerold B. Smith )The reintroduced 2019 Chevrolet Blazer was a hit at the Portland Auto Show. .  (Photo by Jerold B. Smith )Torklift Central President Jack Kay and staff accept the Family Business of the Year Award from Seattle Business magazine.

Northwest People & Places - March 2019

People & Places          compiled by Jerold B. Smith



     The 47th annual Boise Roadster Show will be March 8-10, at Expo Idaho in Boise. The event is a 2019 Western Division Summit Car Show Series stop that also features an International Show Car Association (ISCA)-sanctioned competition. Top prize for the “Best of the Best” award is $2,000 cash, plus there will be the annual inductee for Master Builder award. The show draws vehicles from across the U.S. and Canada. For details, visit

     Meridian Automotive in Meridian was the winner of the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Northwest + Pacific Torch Award for Southern Idaho/Western Wyoming. A longtime BBB A+ rated business, Meridian was recognized for its outstanding business ethics.



     The Roseburg Benefit Indoor Classic Car Show takes place March 9-10, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Sponsored by Umpqua Flatheads Car Club and Stray Angels Car Club, the event proceeds benefit local charities. For details, visit, or call 541-643-8467.

     Sam Kamkar has been named executive director of human resources at Industrial Finishes & Systems Inc. Kamkar holds a BA in Management from Northwest Christian University, as well as graduating with management degrees at the Senior Management Institute for Police and the FBI National Academy school of management. Since 1958, Industrial has been one of the nation’s leading distributors of paint, equipment, and supplies for automotive, industrial, aerospace, and other industries. It has a nationwide network of 35 distribution centers.

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Sam Kamkar will lead human resources at the corporate headquarters of Industrial Finishes & Systems in Eugene.


     The 63rd annual Portland Roadster Show is set for March 15-17, at Portland Expo Center. Just under $20,000 in prize money is awarded each year. The event features cars trucks, motorcycles, racers, specialty vehicles, plus vintage memorabilia. There are also high school challenge awards for automotive students entering show vehicles. Sponsored by the Multnomah Hot Rod Council, founded in 1954 (several car clubs in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington), this is also a Summit Car Show Series and ISCA-sanctioned show. Visit

     The 55th Portland Swap Meet, the West Coast’s largest auto parts event, will be April 5-7, at the Portland Expo Center. Sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, the meet is presented by six Portland-area antique car clubs and features more than 3,500 vendor stalls, and attracts more than 35,000 attendees. It runs in conjunction with the nearby Portland International Raceway Auto Swap Meet, April 4-6. Visit for details.

     The Portland Auto Show, Jan. 24-27, drew record crowds to the Oregon Convention Center. One of the top shows in the West, the event featured 600 vehicles from 35 automakers. One of the most popular features at the show was the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator available at dealers in the second quarter of this year. “It’s 100 percent Jeep and 100 percent truck with its own unique frame,” said Scott Brown, FCA West Region media relations manager, during a press presentation. “It has best in class towing at 7,650 pounds, the top and doors come off, has a five-foot steel bed, and features blind spot monitoring, even for trailering.”


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Photo by Jerold B. Smith

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has best-in-class payload at 1,600 pounds.


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Photo by Jerold B. Smith

The reintroduced 2019 Chevrolet Blazer was a hit at the Portland Auto Show.


Jeff Middleton, owner of five CARSTAR collision repair shops in the Seattle area, has been named co-chair of the 2019 CARSTAR International Board. Representing Region 8 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Utah), he will meet with other board members from the U.S. and Canada throughout the year to review operations, explore growth opportunities, and provide guidance on key issues facing autobody shops. CARSTAR, North America's largest network of independently-owned collision shop, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

The annual 4x4 Off Road & Performance Swap Meet is March 10, at the Washington State Fair & Events Center in Puyallup. The event, sponsored by the Spanaway Moonshiners Jeep Club, has some 800 vendor booths and draws up to 10,000 attendees to the benefit meet. Moonshiners was established in 1971 and the proceeds from the meet support automotive scholarships and more than a dozen charitable organizations, including Mary Bridge Hospital Children’s Hospital, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and Tacoma Rescue Mission, among others. For meet details, visit  

Competition Specialties Inc. (CSI) stages its annual Mega Show, March 2-3, at its Auburn headquarters. The event features more than 130 manufacturers with more than 3,500 jobbers attending from Western states. CSI is the West’s largest wholesale distributor specializing in high performance parts and off-road accessories for cars, trucks, and SUVs. For details, visit

The Northwest Edition of Parts & People celebrates its 110th anniversary in March. Founded in Seattle in March 1909, the magazine operated for decades at Northwest Motor until 2001 when it merged with Automotive Counseling & Publishing Co., publisher of six Parts & People editions. It is the third oldest automotive trade publication in the U.S.

Torklift Central, in Kent, was recently honored by Seattle Business magazine with the Family Business of the Year Award. The award was accepted by Torklift President Jack Kay and staff at an awards banquet in Seattle. Torklift has been in downtown Kent since 1976 and serves wholesale and retail customers with trailer hitches and accessories, custom fabrication, racks and cargo equipment, 4x4 performance, and other services.

Bellingham’s Todd and Janel Black will celebrate their 25th anniversary in business, plus the grand re-opening of Unlimited Service-Downtown, March 16. The pair has operated the auto and fleet repair business since 1994 in the Bakerview district of Bellingham, and later purchased an existing repair facility in the downtown area, which was severely damaged in late June 2018 when a Smart Car battery caught fire inside the shop. Massive smoke damage cleanup, building renovation, and equipment replacement has been completed. The shop, which has operated with limited space since the fire, will have re-opening and St. Patrick’s Day celebration (and Todd Black’s 50th birthday) in March. For details on attending the event, call 360-734-4610.

The 70th annual Vehicle Maintenance Management Conference (VMMC) will be held at South Seattle College, March 26-28. More than 50 management and technical training classes will be offered to private and government fleet maintenance professionals from throughout the western U.S. and beyond. There will be WABO Welder and TIA certification classes, as well as indoor and outdoor trade shows, plus a new hands-on Tech Challenge. Keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies will be Tim Kelly, vice president of operations for Cummins. For compete conference details and registration, visit


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.