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AASA presents three awards for advocacy and diversity, equity and inclusion

Eric Sills of Standard Motor Products, Franchelle Thomas of NGK Spark Plugs, and MOTOR Information Systems receive the honors at AAPEX

Research Triangle Park, Md.—Eric Sills, president and chief executive officer at Standard Motor Products, Inc. (SMP), was awarded the 2022 AASA Member Advocacy Award, Nov. 2, at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas. 

“Eric has taken up the reins of representing the aftermarket during a very difficult time for our country and our industry,” said Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). “Whether discussing supply chain challenges on Capitol Hill or organizing his colleagues to support the REPAIR Act, Eric has focused on advocating for the aftermarket. It is truly an honor to work with Eric and to present this award to him.” 

Ann Wilson, MEMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, and Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of AASA, took the stage to officially name Sills as the 2022 AASA Advocacy Champion.  

AASA noted that Sills testified to Congress on behalf of the entire manufacturing community on supply chain challenges and investing to strengthen American manufacturing and competitiveness. Sills activated his SMP-employee base to reach out to their congresspeople in support of the REPAIR Act and to help ensure a competitive market and consumer choice on where and with what parts vehicles are repaired. Sills and his team work toward an outcome that is positive for manufacturers, channel partners, the aftermarket, and for consumers. As someone who is a fourth-generation leader in the aftermarket, he is a superior executive who not only focuses on his own organization’s success, but also considers the supplier community and our industry as a whole.  

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Sills. “The aftermarket is in my blood, and it is more important than ever that the industry fully participates in all aspects of the public policy process.” 

Ben Brucato took the stage to name Franchell as the 2022 AASA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Individual Award winner.  

Franchelle Thomas of NGK Spark Plugs (USA) Inc. receives AASA Individual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

Franchelle Thomas, director of culture, communication & people, NGK Spark Plugs (USA) Inc., was awarded the 2022 AASA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Individual Award. 

“We are proud to announce the annual AASA Individual DEI award, with the purpose of recognizing an influential leader in the automotive aftermarket that supports and represents the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Ben Brucato, vice president of engagement, AASA. “Franchelle embodies the spirit of this award, challenging our industry to be forward thinking and retaining and attracting talent from all backgrounds and walks of life. Her work and dedication to DE&I makes the industry stronger and more resilient. We applaud her efforts that affect real change.” 

As an alumnus of Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, Thomas holds degrees in both Philosophy and Business. In her career, she has held leadership roles in healthcare, education, and insurance, but found her love of all things in Human Resources. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources and a longtime member of the Society of Human Resources Management. She’s been invited to present HR topics to a variety of private and public sector employers, and her writing has been published in a series of HR publications such as HR Bulletin, HR Hero, and the Society of Human Resources. Thomas has acted as an advisor on employment issues with Michigan State University and several not-for-profit organizations.   

“I am honored to be selected to receive this award from AASA,” said Thomas.  “I believe at its core, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion creates a space for all to be successful. AASA has championed the Aftermarket industry’s success for many years. People, especially in our industry today, are an integral part of that success. I am delighted to stand alongside them in this endeavor.” 

Jeff Nosek, president of MOTOR Information Systems, was invited by Megan Gardner on stage to receive this award on behalf of the company.  

MOTOR Information Systems Receives AASA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Company Award

MOTOR Information Systems, a Hearst company, was awarded the 2022 AASA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Company Award.  

“MOTOR Information Systems has championed the spirit of DEI in their organization and community ensuring a brighter and more dynamic future for the aftermarket,” said Megan Gardner, senior director of sales and marketing with AASA. “MOTOR’s impressive commitment to DEI through every aspect of their organization is not only inspirational but is already creating real results that positively affect our industry and diversifies their workforce.” 

MOTOR Information Systems provides their employees with extensive programs, educational courses, and leadership in DEI and cultivates a workplace where diversity is welcomed, and employees are given opportunities to discuss inclusion openly. Their established DEI strategy is to not only to better represent the company’s inclusive values but also to challenge employees to further educate themselves and actively commit to collaboration and growth. To provide a platform of diverse voices, MOTOR invites industry-expert guest speakers to present at monthly, companywide meetings. 

MOTOR’s efforts to advance DEI in the automotive industry include sponsoring the MOTOR Career Advancement Scholarship for Women through the Women in Trucking Foundation, a nonprofit organization responsible for raising funds for educational scholarships and encouraging the employment of women in the trucking industry. MOTOR also recently partnered with The Michigan Council for Women in Technology Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting the work of females across technology fields. 

“MOTOR remains committed to supporting our industry, and that very much includes our commitment to creating equity in our workplace and communities,” said Jeff Nosek, president of MOTOR Information Systems. “By supporting a culture of diversity and inclusion at MOTOR, employees feel valued. We connect more naturally, collaborate more productively and — through life-long learning — MOTOR will continue to invest in people and cultivate a business of retention and growth.” 

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