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The Aftermarket Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), a community of the Auto Care Association, presented its 2022 Pursuit of Excellence Award to Todd Leimenstoll, president and CEO of Auto-Wares Group of Companies. The award was presented by AWDA Officer Dan Hanson II at the association’s 2022 Annual Conference on October 30 in Las Vegas.
Established in 1983, the Pursuit of Excellence Award is presented exclusively to an AWDA member for special achievement and for the setting of high standards as an example for others to follow, in business and in volunteer or advocacy efforts.
Leimenstoll joined Auto-Wares in 1982, just six years after the company’s founding. Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Auto-Wares boasts roughly 300 corporate and independently owned stores and services nearly 700 Auto Value, Bumper to Bumper and Confidence Plus Certified Service Centers across five states.
As the president and CEO of one of the leading warehouse distributor companies in the Midwest, Leimenstoll has supported and promoted dozens of educational opportunities for thousands of aftermarket personnel in his nearly 40 years in the industry. His company’s crowning training achievement, the annual Tech Expo, caters to thousands of industry folks, but his commitment to education extends far beyond the popular expo event.
Within Auto-Wares, Leimenstoll has fostered a culture of learning. Employees are subject to frequent training course requirements with official assessments and measurable goals. Auto-Wares workers know how to move up the ladder and are given ample resources to get there, including internal and external courses, a variety of scholarship opportunities and plenty of involvement with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc.
Leimenstoll’s success can be measured by a few of his guiding principles:
• Always treat customers, employees, family and friends as you would want to be treated.
• “People do business with people” will always remain the foundation of Auto-Wares and the aftermarket.
• You can’t fake caring – it shows in all you do and will bond the trust of your team and customers.
• Make sure decisions are mutually beneficial to drive growth.
• Answers start in the streets, never quit asking and learning from customers and teams.
• Focus on providing teaching, training and “building the bench” with your team to create personal and professional growth opportunities.
• Commit to the training and education of the business owners and technicians we serve.
Leimenstoll is also active within the greater industry. He and Auto-Wares Group have hosted multiple YANG meet-ups to foster aftermarket development and growth. He supports the Auto Care Association’s Political Action Committee (ACPAC) and has been a loyal AWDA Conference and AAPEX attendee for many years. Leimenstoll recognizes the responsibility he holds overseeing such a substantial company, he understands that a commitment to education and training is key to both his success and the company, and he’s willing to back that commitment with the resources needed to get the job done.
John R. Washbish, president and CEO of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance said, “Todd brings an incredible amount of energy into any project he undertakes. At the same time, he is focused on always doing better; always improving the experience and always ‘coaching, guiding and advising’ his fellow employees and customers to accelerate their performance. He is passionate in his aftermarket “Pursuit of Excellence!”