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CTI’s Anthony Williams, 37, dies unexpectedly and leaves behind young family and legacy

Team members share memories and experiences with Williams in tribute

Colorado Springs, Colo.—Anthony Williams, 37, of Colorado Springs, Colo., who was the Special Project Manager and Curriculum Developer at CARQUEST Technical Institute (CTI), unexpectedly died earlier this month. He is survived by his wife, Deb, and their three children. In his short time, Williams leaves a legacy for those who knew him, as a teacher and a friend, with a lasting and indelible mark on their careers and lives.

Team members and close friends from Advance Auto Parts, WORLDPAC and CTI met with Aftermarket Matters last week to share their experiences with Williams. Below are a few memories from Chris Chesney, Randy Briggs, Luke Murray and Susan Trevaskis in tribute to Williams. For more, click here for the audio of the conversation with Aftermarket Matters.

Chris Chesney, vice president of Training & Organizational Development for Repairify, and formerly senior director, Customer Training for Advance Auto Parts – CARQUEST Technical Institute (CTI):

Chesney first met Williams when Williams was 32 and a Colorado high school teacher with an idea for a six-year charter high school with a focus on technology, which would eventually take shape as the Automotive Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) in Colorado Springs.

“The passion he had for that project just flowed out of him with every person that he met,” Chesney said. “I’ve never met one person who didn’t fall in love with that kid when they first met him — he cared so much about you and what you did to help the industry that you became instant friends. While we didn’t get the funding for the school, Anthony spread his ideas and passion to the industry and its leaders. Everyone that he crossed paths with recognized that his ideas were different and that the industry needed to change — he greatly impacted CTI and me in my new role. I can guarantee you that I’m implementing the lessons that I learned from Anthony Williams in my new job. I wouldn’t be doing them if he hadn’t been here.

“He became my brother, my son and everything in between.”

Randy Briggs, Research and Development Center Manager for CTI:

Briggs said the first time he met Williams was at a training event in Denver. “He immediately made an impression on me — he was so gregarious and passionate about the high school students he was teaching at the time. When the situation changed with the school and Anthony came on as a special projects manager, one of the first conversations we had was when he told me we weren’t developing our training curriculum in the right way, which had been our method for 20 years. I was taken aback a little bit,” Briggs chuckled, “but the more I thought about it, I started to embrace his ideas and realized that he was absolutely right on many levels. I don’t think I’ve met anybody so absolutely dedicated to the ideas that he had revolving around education — and still willing to listen to other people and incorporate their ideas in a very respectful way. If something needed to be done in his role, there was never any question about it. He got it done as close to perfection as it could get.”

Luke Murray, Trainer, Technical Training Program, WORLDPAC

“Young technicians are relatively easy to inject passion into, but when you talk to an adult with decades of being a technician they can be locked in their ways. It can be a hard nut to crack when it comes to training — it can be tough get them excited about the job they’ve already been doing for 20 years. But Anthony did that effortlessly. His energy brought new excitement, and anyone who had met Anthony for a few minutes or had known him for years will tell you the same thing: that he rejuvenated their own passion and desire for what this industry can be.

“Our conversations were always about new ideas, the future and our dreams. That’s what I’ll always remember about Anthony and he will live on in all of us.”

Susan Trevaskis, Director of Professional Marketing for Advance:

“I’ve never met anybody that brought the talent matched with the character that Anthony had — to any role. He was very passionate about making our Learning Management System better and changing the way we brought curriculum training to the marketplace. He touched everything and wanted to learn about everything to the point that he could do it better and faster than anyone. He cared about everyone he worked with and would help with anything — Anthony always told us that it made his day to solve a problem and make someone happy. It brought him so much joy and satisfaction to serve our customers and our team in order to drive our industry forward.

“It’s hard to describe the impact that Anthony had on me and the industry at large.”

A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Williams’ family with financial burdens and to raise funds toward automotive education scholarships in his name. For those interested in donating, please click here.

Special thanks to Carm Capriotto for editing and producing the interviews.

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