Southern California People & Places - October 2015

Westin Automotive, in San Dimas, has named Bob West president and CEO. West has been with the company for 18 years, and held several key positions, including executive vice president for the past three years. West replaces David Sharp, who has retired after leading the company for 36 years.

Elite, in Rancho Santa Fe, announced that Jim Butitta, a past owner of six successful shops, has joined the company as a business development coach. He will draw on his 33 years of experience to provide one-on-one business-building guidance to current shop owners throughout the U.S. “Jim attributes much of his success to his business philosophy, taught to him by his father, which includes honesty, integrity, great customer service, and running the cleanest, best-maintained shops in the country. He fits in perfectly with our culture at Elite,” Bob Cooper, president of Elite, said.

Elite also announced that Mike Kost has joined the company as a business development coach, bringing 20 years of experience as a shop owner and ASE Master Technician to provide guidance to shop owners. “Mike actually started out as a client in Elite’s coaching program,” Cooper said. “I soon realized that because he was running such a remarkable business he would be more than qualified to help our other coaching clients build their businesses. Mike also has the ethics we look for in all of our coaches, so we couldn’t be happier to have him join the Elite family.” 

Greg Hewgill has joined Lucas Oil Products, in Corona, as technical director. “Greg has a wealth of experience in the science of oil products technology with such companies as Unocal and Wynn’s,” Tom Fredrickson, COO of Lucas Oil, said. “We look forward to him playing a key part in the development of Lucas Oil products as we continue to expand into new markets around the globe.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB), elected officials, and industry leaders celebrated the issuance of the 2,000th award under CARB’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) — a $23,000 voucher to Redwood Products, of Chino, a small business that invested in a clean, low-carbon hybrid delivery truck. Since its launch in 2010, the voucher program has provided more than $63 million to help California fleets statewide purchase more than 430 zero-emission trucks and buses and 1,800 hybrid trucks and buses – and additional funding is on the way, CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey said. “Thanks to California Climate Investments, which support programs like HVIP, our communities are getting an infusion of resources that help businesses buy low-carbon vehicles, support economic growth, and help clean the air – all of which will pay dividends for generations to come.”

VJ Sabanaygam, owner of VJ’s Auto Service, in Arcadia, and an ASCCA member, has been appointed to the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (AAPA) Service Center Advisory Council, comprising 10 of North America’s top-tier shop owners who advise and counsel the Alliance on business matters critical to shop owners. The group also provides guidance to review and develop new programs related to Certified Service Centers, as well as direction to the AAPA sales and marketing committee and headquarters staff. 

CAWA Board Chairman Ward Myers of WORLDPAC has appointed Herb Lieberman of LKQ Corp. to CAWA’s board of directors. “LKQ has been a long-time member and supporter of CAWA and we are pleased that Mr. Lieberman as their representative will be involved in the association’s leadership,” Myers said.

Envision Solar International, in San Diego, and ChargePoint, in Campbell, the world’s largest EV charging network, announced a new partnership agreement that will enable them to offer ChargePoint chargers on Envision Solar’s solar-powered EV ARC charging stations in the U.S. and Canada. “ChargePoint is thrilled to be working with Envision Solar to bring this new product to our customers,” Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, said. “Envision Solar is helping ChargePoint and the rest of the industry continue the growth of electric vehicles.” Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Envision Solar, said, “The combination of the EV ARC and the ChargePoint network is very powerful. We see this as a great opportunity to expand both businesses.”

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has opened a 142,000-square-foot campus in Long Beach with the capacity to train up to 800 students a session in automotive technology, diesel technology, and collision repair and refinish technology in 11 to 18 months. The campus also will offer manufacturer-specific advanced training for Nissan automobiles, trucks, and SUVs, as well as a SMOG program, which trains students to take the California smog check inspector license exam. “Our employer and industry partners are telling us that they can’t get enough skilled technicians to meet demand,” Larry Hohl, UTI-Long Beach campus president, said. “This is especially true in Southern California, where the need for automotive, diesel, and collision repair technicians is particularly strong.”

Ricky Brouhard of Automotive Inventory, in Simi Valley, is one of three lucky parts professionals who received a $1,000 gift card as grand-prize winners of the Raybestos Spring Brake Giveaway promotion. All participants received a $50 gift card for every 25 sets of Element3 brake pads sold and became eligible for the grand-prize drawing. “We would like to thank everyone who participated in the promotion and congratulate our three grand-prize winners,” Kristin Grons, marketing manager for Brake Parts, said. “The promotion was a huge success. The number of entries that we received went well beyond our expectations.”

ASCCA Chapter 14 Inland Empire held its annual Shop Night on Aug. 18, at John Tarrant’s ToyoTech, in Upland. “We are truly excited to have hosted this year’s Shop Night in our newest member’s beautiful new shop,” Cindy Brown, Chapter 14 president and co-owner of Connie & Dick’s Service Center in Claremont, said. The event included free food from G/S Standard Catering, displays from nearly 20 vendors, and numerous door prizes ranging from gift cards to iPads, Xboxes, tools, and flat-screen TVs, provided by participating vendors. “We always have more prizes than people, and we had a lot of people,” Brown said. “And the vendor lineup was amazing.”

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.