Paul McCarthy, president and COO, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Leadership Award in Honor of Jack Creamer by the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA). AASA is the automotive aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). The award, presented during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 16, 2020, is perceived as the automotive aftermarket industry’s highest honor. Given annually to professionals who exhibit outstanding leadership in advancing the aftermarket, this year’s award was also presented to Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. McCarthy and Hanvey were recognized for their collective leadership and collaboration on behalf of all aftermarket stakeholders.

Auto Care Association President Bill Hanvey, left, and AASA President Paul McCarthy at a post-fireside chat media briefing Tuesday, the first day of AAPEX 2019. Photo by Mark Phillips/Aftermarket Intel

“I am humbled to have been selected to receive the Outstanding Leadership Award and thank AWDA for this incredible honor,” McCarthy said. “This year has been unprecedented in ways new to all of us. I know this award was given to represent something larger than me. This is about us working together for the future of our industry. I am proud and pleased to receive this award with my good friend, Bill Hanvey. Bill and I are representatives of an industry that continues to show resiliency, an innovative spirit, and a commitment to hard work and concern for our customers, employees, and each other. I am honored both by AWDA’s recognition and to be able to serve our industry.”

AASA and Auto Care have a long history of partnership on behalf of the automotive aftermarket, and in 2020, McCarthy and Hanvey demonstrated unmatched collaboration. Together, they worked to lead the aftermarket through the COVID-19 crisis. They started by making sure policy makers and others recognized the automotive aftermarket as an essential industry, and they made the difficult but right decision to put people and safety first and move AAPEX to a virtual platform in 2020. Additionally, both focused on protecting the future of the aftermarket by securing access to appropriate vehicle data and retaining consumer choice. The recent Right to Repair win in Massachusetts and the upcoming REPAIR bill that will be put before Congress are indicative of their leadership.

Bill Hanvey, left, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association and Paul McCarthy, president of AASA, address Group membership conference attendees. Photo by Mark Phillips/Aftermarket Intel.

“I am extremely proud of Paul and Bill for their leadership and what they can accomplish through continued cooperation and collaboration,” said MEMA President and CEO Bill Long. “The automotive aftermarket is a significant contributor to the entire vehicle supplier industry, and the work Paul and Bill have done to advance the interests of the aftermarket has been significant and meaningful. In particular, I applaud Paul, who serves as one of the aftermarket industry’s top thought-leaders and strategists, for his ability to provide a path forward for vehicle parts manufacturers. His hard work and dedication show every day, and we congratulate him for this award.”

“The past year has witnessed unprecedented challenges for the motor vehicle aftermarket and its two major trade associations,” said Larry Northup, executive director, AWDA. “Hanvey and McCarthy were forced to deal with multiple threats to the viability of their industry and respective associations. The impacts of the successful battle for the Right-to-Repair in Massachusetts, the devastation of COVID-19, the cancellation AAPEX and conversion of most other events to un-tested virtual formats were far-reaching and unprecedented.

“This a great year to recognize the leadership provided by our associations in tackling industry challenges together and working together for the benefit of all,” said Larry Pavey, CEO, Automotive Parts and Services Group and 2016 winner.

The annual Outstanding Leadership Award in Honor of Jack Creamer recognizes an individual, employed in the aftermarket, who over the past several years, has made a unique and monumental contribution to the industry and/or AWDA. The accomplishment that warrants this award must go well above and beyond any routine or day-to-day activity and shall be reflective of a commitment to the industry that few individuals can match. The award is named in honor of the late Jack Creamer, former president of AWDA. Creamer, who received the award in 2000, began his aftermarket career in 1963 as a salesman for Wheels Inc., an automotive and marine parts distributor. He eventually worked his way to company president. While serving AWDA, Creamer was responsible for the development and execution of an extensive industry education program. In 1995, he was named president of AWDA. Over the course of his storied career, Creamer made significant contributions to the automotive aftermarket. He continues to be regarded as an icon in the industry.

This year’s other award recipients are:

Pursuit of Excellence Award: The Merrill Company/Arnold Motor Supply

Established in 1983, the Pursuit of Excellence Award is presented exclusively to AWDA member organizations or their employees for special achievement in areas of business management, marketing advocacy or service.

The Merrill Company and its parent, Arnold Motor Supply, got its start in Spencer, Iowa in 1927. Since then, the company has grown to include 700 associates, serving 118 company and independent auto parts stores and more than 518 dedicated Certified Service Centers across five states. The Merrill Company and Arnold Motor Supply currently operate four distribution centers; 20 machine shops, 3 stand-alone paint, body and equipment locations; one auto re-finish solutions and industrial paint solutions warehouse.

Excellence in Education Award, in Honor of Art Fisher: Bobby Bassett, retired, national training manager, North America, Gates Corp.

AWDA’s Excellence in Education Award is presented to an aftermarket company or individual that demonstrates outstanding commitment to education and training, either within their organization or throughout the industry. Given in memory of former AWDA Chairman Art Fisher, the award grants scholarships in the name of the award winner to two students enrolled in the automotive aftermarket management program at Northwood University.

Bobby Bassett began his career in the motor vehicle aftermarket in 1978 and for 22 years oversaw customer training in both the automotive and heavy-duty markets. In his capacity as national training manager, Bassett was the administrator of Gates’ “Tools for Schools” and Performance Center eLearning platforms. Bassett was a skilled and relentless educator and a familiar figure to countless aftermarket professionals including technicians and high school/community college automotive programs and customers.

Lifetime Achievement Award in Honor of Martin Fromm: E. Fletcher Lord, Jr., AAP, chairman, Replacement Parts, Inc.

AWDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have, over the course of many years, distinguished themselves through their unselfish commitment to, and high level of performance within, the motor vehicle aftermarket industry. The award is named in honor of former AWDA President, Martin Fromm.

Crow-Burlingame Co. was founded in 1919 by his maternal grandfather, William Robert Crow. After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Lord began a lifetime career at the company. Fletcher is currently Chairman of Replacement Parts, Inc., the holding company of Crow-Burlingame Company and Parts Warehouse, Inc.  

During the course of his distinguished industry career, Fletcher Lord Jr. has served as Chairman of the Board for the Distributors Institute, the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, the ACDelco Dedicated Distribution Group Steering Committee and the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association.

To learn more about the AWDA Industry Awards and to view previous winners, visit


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