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Joel Ayres retires as executive director of AACF

Ayres played a pivotal role in shaping AACF into a dynamic force within the automotive aftermarket industry

Sacramento, Calif.—After more than nine years of dedicated service as the first-ever appointed Executive Director of the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF), Joel Ayres recently announced his retirement, leaving behind an industry-wide legacy of innovation, expansion, and philanthropy.

During his tenure with the foundation, Ayres played a pivotal role in shaping AACF into a dynamic force within the automotive aftermarket industry. Under his leadership, new initiatives like the Awareness Partner Program experienced unprecedented growth, with partner companies doubling in number during his time. His strategic vision and relentless dedication propelled the foundation forward, transforming it from “the best kept secret in the industry” to a well-known, thriving charitable organization.

Ayres brought a wealth of experience to his role, having spent the majority of his career in the automotive aftermarket. His diverse background included roles such as Sales Manager, General Manager, National Marketing Director, and VP Sales and Marketing across various manufacturing companies. His expertise, network of colleagues and friends, and general industry insight were instrumental in driving the AACF’s success.

Beyond his contributions to the AACF, Ayres made significant impacts within the automotive community at large. He served on the SEMA Board of Directors for many years and was the visionary behind SEMA Cares, overseeing that organization’s charitable initiatives. Additionally, he chaired the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Committee, further solidifying his commitment to supporting the next generation of industry leaders.

Ayres’s passion for charitable work extended beyond the automotive realm, as evidenced by his involvement with organizations such as the Sacramento Heart Gallery, Big Brothers of Northeastern Indiana, Adam Petty Victory Junction Camp, Child Help Village, Newcomers High School, and Camp Ukandu. His selfless dedication earned him numerous accolades, including the JBPCO Chairman’s Award, Northwood University Leadership Award, LTAA Chairman’s Award, SBN Athena Award, PRO Jim Borré Lifetime Achievement Award, SEMA Hall of Fame induction, SEMA Person of the Year recognition, Heart Gallery Dedicated Service Award, and most recently, induction into the TORA Hall of Fame.

Upon announcing his retirement, Ayres remarked, “I was honored to have been chosen as the first Executive Director of AACF. I was blessed with a fantastic Board of Trustees to work with these past 9 plus years. I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish, and I love the mission of the Foundation. Outside of the limelight, we help many individuals and families through kindness and support. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve and help my brothers and sisters in the Automotive Aftermarket.”

Current AACF President Jon Owens added, “The Foundation is in a great place, as solid and as capable of helping as we’ve ever been in our 65 years of service. Joel played a major role in lifting us to this place and on behalf of our Board, we wish him nothing but joy, relaxation and time to spend with his loving family in his retirement years.”

As Ayres bids farewell to his role at the AACF, his impact will continue to resonate throughout the industry and beyond. His unwavering commitment to philanthropy and tireless pursuit of excellence have left an indelible mark on all those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him.
Please join us in congratulating Joel Ayres on his remarkable career and wishing him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.

For more information or to get involved, contact Misty Walker at

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