John Bartlett Awarded 2013 Pursuit of Excellence Honors from AWDA
St. Cloud, Minn. — November 4, 2013 — On Nov. 3, John Bartlett Jr., Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc. (APH), was honored with the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association’s (AWDA) 2013 Pursuit of Excellence Award. Established in 1983, this award is given annually to an AWDA member in recognition of excellence in business performance and the setting of high standards as an example for others to follow.
The ceremony was made even more meaningful because John Bartlett’s son and APH president, Corey Bartlett, presented the award to his father.
John Bartlett is CEO of the 93-year-old, family- and employee-owned warehouse distribution company, based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Originally founded as National Bushing and Parts Company, APH has grown to more than 110 locations. Bartlett’s career with the company began in high school when he “…worked at the parts store counter, swept floors — whatever part-time things high school kids do.” Bartlett joined the company full-time in 1971 after graduating from Bemidji State University with a degree in business and economics.
He was thrust into the company’s top leadership position in 1975 when his father Jack, the company president, died unexpectedly. “I was only semi-groomed for the job,” Bartlett recalled. “I suppose we both assumed we had another 10 years to work together. I had a lot to learn and it took time to acquire those competencies. I suppose the transition I didn’t have with my father has had an impact on the transition we have had with Corey.”
Those who have had the opportunity to work with or for John Bartlett immediately appreciate his modesty, his principled leadership and his aura of calm competence. It is these characteristics that have led various organizations to seek him out for leadership positions. Over the years, Bartlett has served on the boards of AWDA and Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. He is currently chairman of the Alliance board. Bartlett also helps direct the efforts of WACOSA, an organization that provides training and work opportunities for people with disabilities throughout central Minnesota.
A significant criterion for AWDA’s Pursuit of Excellence Award is the setting of high standards as an example for others to follow. John Bartlett’s standards are apparent in his advice to would-be entrepreneurs: “Be as concerned about the people you’ve chosen to work with you, as you are about your customers. If employees aren’t happy, customers aren’t happy.” According to his son, Corey, that is a standard everyone should follow.