Mauro Cifelli Named AWDA’s 2023 Outstanding Leader

Monday, October 30, 2023

Mauro Cifelli Named AWDA’s 2023 Outstanding Leader

The Aftermarket Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), a community of the Auto Care Association, presented its 2023 Outstanding Leadership Award to Mauro Cifelli, president and CEO of Vast-Auto Distribution based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The award was presented on Oct. 29 at AWDA’s 2023 Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Each year, AWDA bestows this prestigious award, formerly known as the “Leader of the Year,” on an aftermarket professional who has contributed to the industry in a unique and significant way. The award is named in honor of former AWDA President Jack Creamer. 

Presenting the award this year was 2004 recipient John Washbish, President and CEO, Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.

Mauro Cifelli has been a key figure in the Canadian aftermarket for the past quarter century, but in recent years he has taken on a significant leadership role within the U.S. as well.  Cifelli led AWDA through one of the most tumultuous global environments in recent history brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked to advance the Right to Repair, as well as pushed the growth of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc. within Canada.  

Vast-Auto Distribution’s eight distribution centers cover more than 450,000 square feet and employ more than 400 people.  The company continues to grow both organically and via acquisition, currently serving nearly 200 Auto Value and Confidence Plus Certified Service Centers.  

Cifelli joined Vast-Auto in 1994 and held a variety of positions there in information technology, sales, marketing, and customer service.  Cifelli led the company’s Sales & Marketing department and chaired the Alliance’s Sales & Marketing Committee before being selected to lead the company in 2018.  

Cifelli has served as the chairman of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada at both the Provincial and national levels.  In addition to previously serving as chairman of the board there, he has been a longtime member of the association and frequent speaker at the group’s events.  He has held a chair on the University of the Aftermarket Foundation’s Board of Trustees and currently serves as an elected board director and the treasurer of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.  He is also director/administrator for the Quebec Employers’ Center for Occupational Health and Safety.  He served on the AWDA board as a governor, secretary, and vice chair before being appointed chairman of the AWDA Board of Governors in 2018. Cifelli led AWDA through the uncertain early days of COVID and led the group in hosting its first ever virtual conference, which was well-received by attendees.

He also used his time leading AWDA to back the technician’s right to repair, a critical issue particularly in 2020, when Massachusetts voters decided whether to back the aftermarket stance in favor of it. He and the Executive Committee determined that the threat of losing access to the mechanical and repair information available today – as automakers move it to wireless platforms – would be a threat to the livelihood of its members’ 1,400 employees in Massachusetts as well as to the entire U.S. auto care industry.  Massachusetts citizens voted in favor of the Right to Repair by a 3-1 margin.

In early 2021, AIA Canada announced Cifelli as its Distinguished Service Award winner. The honor is the association’s highest award, presented in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding leadership given to the growth and development of Canada’s automotive aftermarket industry.

Additionally, Cifelli was the 2021 recipient of the AWDA Pursuit of Excellence award which recognizes the special achievements and high standards one sets as an example for others to follow regarding business, volunteerism, and advocacy efforts. Cifelli is involved in every corner of the aftermarket, and it shows.