Matthias Kopecky, of SSF Imported Auto Parts, is 2017 CAWA Board Secretary-Elect. Westin Automotive’s Junior Calvert (c.) receives the AAM Group’s Excellence in Manpower Award from AAM’s David Ayers (l.) and Samuel Kieffer.Kate Hicks is now ASCCA creative writer and publications manager.

Southern California People & Places - August 2016

Matthias Kopecky, of SSF Imported Auto Parts, CAWA secretary-elect for 2017, joins other officers of the CAWA Board of Directors, including Chair-Elect Michael Antonelli of Vantage Marketing Global; Vice Chair-Elect Jack Gosnell of Next Level Parts; Treasurer-Elect Dan Hanson Jr. of Hanson Distributing Co.; and Immediate Past Chair-Elect Greg Livingston of All Trade Tools, who will be installed at the association’s annual dinner meeting in Las Vegas on Oct. 30, the Sunday night before the AAPEX/SEMA shows. Information on the event will be sent out in September. For immediate information, contact CAWA President and CEO Rodney Pierini at 800-332-2292, ext. 1, or

The AAM Group, which includes 24 member companies operating 35 distribution centers throughout North America, presented awards to eight manufacturing partners at its recent Annual Membership Meeting in St. Louis. Westin Automotive in San Dimas received the Excellence in Manpower award for fielding the most robust outside sales presence, including actively maintaining strong relationships with retailers and warehouses.

The Automotive Services Council Educational Foundation (ASCEF) announced that its Cars 4 Careers Project, which helps fund scholarships for students pursuing a career in the automotive industry, has raised a record amount of money through the first half of 2016, noting a total of $9,600 raised in just the first half of March. “Our Cars 4 Careers Project has enjoyed overwhelming success, thanks in large part to all of the auto shop owners across California who have opened their doors to serve as vehicle donation centers, and the individuals who donate their cars,” ASCEF Chair Mary Kemnitz said. “They are a wonderful example to the young men and women who will serve as the future of the automotive industry.” For information on the Cars 4 Careers Project, visit

The Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) announced that Kate Hicks has joined the association’s growing communications team as the new creative writer and publications manager, replacing Matthew Peralta, who was recently promoted to deputy executive director.I am thrilled to welcome Kate as the newest addition to the communications team,” ASCCA Executive Director Gloria Peterson said. “She brings to the association exceptional writing skills that will continue to enhance ASCCA’s message to colleagues in the automotive industry, the public, and policymakers.”

Innova Electronics Corp., in Irvine, has acquired Aftermarket Telematics Technologies, a provider of Web-based automotive telematics software and services for the aftermarket. “By completing this acquisition, we are able to offer a full suite of telematics solutions for automotive aftermarket parts and service providers so they can build stronger customer relationships through connected-car technologies,” Innova CEO Ieon Chen said. “Bringing in ATT’s Vehimatics connected-car technology allows Innova to round out its telematics portfolio and provide comprehensive business intelligence, remote diagnostics, and parts and vehicle management technology to our aftermarket customers,” Mike Fitzgerald, executive vice president and general manager of Innova fleet services, said. Aftermarket Telematics Technologies’ CEO Jim Dykstra will join Innova management.

In one of the largest such operations in Fresno history, detectives from the California Department of Insurance fanned out across the Valley and Southland areas to arrest more than two dozen people on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud for allegedly staging auto collisions to scam more than four insurance companies out of tens of thousands of dollars. “California is ground zero for auto insurance fraud,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “Insurance fraud costs insurers billions every year and those costs are all passed along to consumers through higher insurance premiums. Bottom line — everyone pays for insurance fraud.”

Bestop has acquired Baja Designs of San Marcos, recognized as “The Scientists of Lighting” for more than 20 years. “Baja Designs engineers elite-level products that are a perfect match with Bestop’s ultra-premium Jeep soft tops and accessories,” John Larson, Bestop CEO, said. “We believe that now is the right time to join forces with Bestop because there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move even faster toward our shared long-term visions,” Alan Roach, founder of Baja Designs, said.

Wyatt Jones, of Clovis, who is studying mechanical engineering at San Diego State University, has received a $2,000 scholarship to further his education through the Breslow Foundation, which honors the late Barry Breslow, one of the original owners of Auto Specialty Inc. and a former chairman of the AIA, now a segment within the Auto Care Association. “Our family is pleased to honor Barry’s memory by supporting the educational goals of future aftermarket leaders,” Wendy Breslow, widow of Barry Breslow, said. “By aiding these students, we are ensuring that Barry’s legacy will live on.”



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.