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Sheldon and Bueschel Named Counter Professional of the Year Finalists

St. Cloud, Minn. – January 6, 2012 – Rhinelander Auto Value parts store manager, Mike Sheldon, and Eagle River Auto Value parts store manager, Skip Bueschel, were named 2011 Counter Professional of the Year finalists by Counterman magazine.

Each year, the staff of Counterman magazine identifies those who are worthy of recognition. For 2011, Todd Carpenter, manager of an auto parts store in Idaho, was chosen as recipient of the Counter Professional of the Year award, sponsored by Affinia, WIX and Raybestos brake and chassis.

Mike Sheldon began his aftermarket parts career more than 23 years ago, as a driver right out of high school. He takes pride in concentrating on customer service and customer relations.

When asked his opinion on the three biggest issues facing the automotive aftermarket, Sheldon cites the business management acumen of smaller shop owners. “Too often our customers are excellent mechanics, but fall behind when it comes to growing their business,” he said. “I would like to see our industry spend as much time training our customers on business management skills as we do training them on the latest vehicle technologies.”

He also said he believes the aftermarket needs to do a better job of disseminating new vehicle technology information to all.

Lastly, he believes the public still maintains a negative view of technicians. “We, the industry as a whole, need to work harder to promote the professionalism of our mechanics and the fairness of their business practices,” he wrote. “Today, many of our technicians are college educated with certifications on many different makes. However, the public still has a negative perception of mechanics and sometimes a lack of trust in their ethics.”

Skip Bueschel began his career in the automotive aftermarket more than 33 years ago when he began turning wrenches right out of high school. “In 1986, I was recruited to join the parts business. Since then, I have worked my tail off locating parts for my customers,” he wrote. “I often tell them there isn’t anything that can’t be found or made to get the job done.”

In 2005, Bueschel was selected by Automotive Parts Headquarters as store manager of the year. “My favorite part about being a manager is setting and reaching goals,” he wrote. “With the right mindset anyone can accomplish anything.”

Bueschel feels the biggest issues facing the industry are technician training, parts proliferation and alternative fuel vehicles. “As vehicles become more complicated, we need to do a better job of educating our No. 1 customers – automotive technicians,” he wrote. “If they are unable to work on a repair, we are unable to sell them the parts for that repair, leading to more business for the OEs.”

“Parts proliferation continues to be a hot subject throughout the aftermarket. Once upon a time, one part would fit multiple models. Now, you are lucky if that same part fits multiple years,” he wrote. “Lastly, alternative fuel vehicles are the wave of the future. The aftermarket needs to be at the forefront of this cutting-edge technology. Training classes and webinars are great, but we need to do more to be proactive and gain more hands-on experience with this drastic change in the market.”

(Mike Sheldon)


(Skip Bueschel)