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Career Resources For Veterans In The Automotive Aftermarket


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For U.S. Military Veterans returning to civilian life can be a major adjustment, fraught with challenges, including physical, psychological and financial burdens. Within the automotive aftermarket, many organizations recognize this and seek to provide support through various programs. Beyond this, there are a number of companies both within and outside the automotive aftermarket that recognize the unique and valuable skillsets that military veterans can offer in the civilian workforce thanks to their training, sense of loyalty and technical expertise, and seek to actively recruit these veterans for employment and franchise opportunities.

One such company is Pep Boys. In fact, the company was actually founded by World War I veterans looking to start the next chapter of their lives. They ended up creating a business that has lasted a century.

According to Pep Boys CEO Brian Kaner, “It’s important to us to continue to give generations of those who served the opportunity to write their own next chapter.” In addition to philanthropic initiatives, Pep Boys is a strategic partner of RecruitMilitary, the nation’s largest military-focused recruiting company. Pep Boys also supports a variety of internal workforce development initiatives, including “Race to 2026,” which recruits and supports the next generation of automotive technicians, including veterans, and is designed to help close America’s skills gap.

“Once a team member is part of our service network, they can take advantage of ongoing training, apprenticeship and career development programs,” said Kaner. “As our service network continues to grow, hiring is a critical need, and veterans, reservists and active-duty spouses are highly desirable candidates. We have a number of leaders who are overseeing some of our best-performing stores and regions, and leading initiatives such as our advanced diagnostic and electric vehicle work who served our country prior to joining Pep Boys.”

Kaner said those who serve bring a unique combination of both skills and values. “Depending on their role during their service, they bring applicable technical trade skills perhaps from working on military vehicles or with certain types of technology and systems. But, veterans and reservists also have a strong work ethic and outstanding integrity, and a shared commitment to a mission and accountability to each other, that comes from having served. These traits make them highly coveted and valued team members,” he noted.

FRANCHISING OPPORTUNITIES

Another area of significant opportunity within the automotive industry lies in the service and repair segment. A number of franchisors offer special incentive programs and resources specifically to support veterans.

One of those is Moran Family of Brands, one of the nation’s leading automotive repair franchises under the brands Milex Complete Auto Care and Mr. Transmission, which counts 14 United States veterans among its 120 total franchisees. Moran franchise owners have been enlisted in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines branches of the military, as well as the National Guard.

Moran is a longtime active member of VetFran, an initiative that grants a $5,000 franchise-fee discount, mentorship and training programs for any honorably discharged qualified veteran transitioning to civilian life.

Experience in the military has proven to be a great fit for franchise ownership. Members of the military exhibit strong leadership and motivational skills, something that is important for business owners. Like the military, franchise ownership involves following proven systems and defined procedures. This means a veteran can enter a completely new field and be likely to succeed by following the franchisor’s proven business model and completing the training program.

According to the International Franchise Association, although veterans make up only about 7% of the population, they account for 14% of all franchisees in the United States.

In addition to helping provide franchise ownership opportunities for veterans, Moran also is actively involved in attracting veteran employees as service technicians at its stores. The franchise has developed a recruiting process that works with local veteran affairs offices in search of workers with experience in the truck pool, heavy-equipment repairs and aircraft repairs. These veterans often make excellent automotive service techs.

As part of this process, Moran notifies veteran offices whenever a local shop is in need of adding a tech position at its location. Many of these veterans are younger and searching for opportunities shortly after returning from service. They often have the knowledge and technical skills for these service positions. The program has been mutually beneficial for both Moran’s individual shops and veterans looking to begin a successful career in auto repair.

Currently, about 25% of Moran’s franchisees are military veterans. The company estimates that about 40% or more of its technicians are veterans, reserves or active-duty personnel.

“We strive to keep people safe in their vehicles but, we understand that the military keeps us safe as a country. There’s no one we’d rather trust to employ in our shops than the one’s safeguarding our lives and our livelihood,” said Grant Maquet, Moran Family of Brands’ business development manager. “Veterans typically show the capacity for a strong work ethic, harness the ability to take any assigned task and hold the same core values that we do here at Moran Family of Brands.”

SUPPORT FOR SPOUSES

It is not only the veterans themselves who need support and resources when it comes to employment. Spouses of those in the military often need assistance as well. Currently, there are about 1 million military spouses in the global military community. It can be a challenge for military spouses to find and maintain employment with frequent permanent change-of-station moves.

In the collision repair segment, Maaco is one of 45 new partners to join the U.S. Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) this year, which currently includes 544 employers in all. MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers who commit to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses. Since its inception in 2011, MSEP employers have hired more than 200,000 military spouses.

The MSEP continues to be a key element of the Joining Forces initiative to increase economic opportunity and mobility for military families. “Maaco has a longstanding history of giving back to active, reserve military members and veterans, so we are proud to add another layer of support through this remarkable program,” said Chris Dawson, president, Maaco. “We have several franchisees and employees within our Maaco family who have served, so we know military spouses have a unique set of diverse skills that bring incredible value to every business, no matter the industry.”

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      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
      (In thousands)                   For the Three Months Ended     March 31,      2024   2023 Operating activities:             Net income   $ 547,238     $ 516,885   Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:             Depreciation and amortization of property, equipment and intangibles     109,648       93,747   Amortization of debt discount and issuance costs     1,593       1,215   Deferred income taxes     2,374       3,393   Share-based compensation programs     7,022       7,435   Other     2,997       29   Changes in operating assets and liabilities:             Accounts receivable     (36,954 )     (2,610 ) Inventory     (92,042 )     (179,481 ) Accounts payable     6,107       172,701   Income taxes payable     140,025       145,441   Other     16,207       (44,991 ) Net cash provided by operating activities     704,215       713,764                 Investing activities:             Purchases of property and equipment     (249,240 )     (223,268 ) Proceeds from sale of property and equipment     3,853       2,704   Other, including acquisitions, net of cash acquired     (155,366 )     (956 ) Net cash used in investing activities     (400,753 )     (221,520 )               Financing activities:             Proceeds from borrowings on revolving credit facility     30,000       1,216,000   Payments on revolving credit facility     —       (661,000 ) Net payments of commercial paper     (310,805 )     —   Repurchases of common stock     (270,019 )     (1,111,461 ) Net proceeds from issuance of common stock     57,815       15,146   Other     (569 )     (354 ) Net cash used in financing activities     (493,578 )     (541,669 )               Effect of exchange rate changes on cash     248       714   Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents     (189,868 )     (48,711 ) Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the period     279,132       108,583   Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period   $ 89,264     $ 59,872                 Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:             Income taxes paid   $ 9,798     $ 9,696   Interest paid, net of capitalized interest     34,671       26,531                      
      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      SELECTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
      (Unaudited)                     For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,  Adjusted Debt to EBITDAR:   2024   2023 (In thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio)             GAAP debt   $ 5,288,632   $ 4,927,678 Add: Letters of credit     137,848     116,688   Unamortized discount and debt issuance costs     28,368     27,322   Six-times rent expense     2,587,056     2,404,986 Adjusted debt   $ 8,041,904   $ 7,476,674               GAAP net income   $ 2,376,934   $ 2,207,655 Add: Interest expense     214,244     167,451   Provision for income taxes     650,786     635,159   Depreciation and amortization     424,962     368,757   Share-based compensation expense     27,098     27,360   Rent expense (i)     431,176     400,831 EBITDAR   $ 4,125,200   $ 3,807,213               Adjusted debt to EBITDAR     1.95     1.96    
      (i) The table below outlines the calculation of Rent expense and reconciles Rent expense to Total lease cost, per ASC 842, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, for the twelve months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 (in thousands):   
                          For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,     2024   2023 Total lease cost, per ASC 842   $ 510,208   $ 476,439 Less: Variable non-contract operating lease components, related to property taxes and insurance     79,032     75,608 Rent expense   $ 431,176   $ 400,831  
                            March 31,      2024   2023 Selected Balance Sheet Ratios:                 Inventory turnover (1)     1.7       1.7   Average inventory per store (in thousands) (2)   $ 773     $ 754   Accounts payable to inventory (3)     127.3 %     133.3 %  
                            For the Three Months Ended       March 31,        2024   2023 Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow (in thousands):             Net cash provided by operating activities   $ 704,215   $ 713,764 Less: Capital expenditures     249,240     223,268   Excess tax benefit from share-based compensation payments     16,120     4,378 Free cash flow   $ 438,855   $ 486,118  
                        For the Three Months Ended     March 31,         2024   2023 Revenue Disaggregation (in thousands):           Sales to do-it-yourself customers $ 2,001,986   $ 1,918,467 Sales to professional service provider customers     1,869,740     1,711,964 Other sales, sales adjustments, and sales from the acquired Vast Auto stores     104,514     77,433 Total sales   $ 3,976,240   $ 3,707,864  
                            For the Three Months Ended   For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,    March 31,         2024   2023      2024   2023 Store Count:                 Beginning domestic store count   6,095   5,929     5,986     5,811   New stores opened   36   59     146     179   Stores closed   —   (2 )   (1 )   (4 ) Ending domestic store count   6,131   5,986     6,131     5,986                     Beginning Mexico store count   62   42     43     27   New stores opened   1   1     20     16   Ending Mexico store count   63   43     63     43                     Beginning Canada store count   —   —     —     —   Stores acquired   23   —     23     —   Ending Canada store count   23   —     23     —                     Total ending store count   6,217   6,029     6,217     6,029    
                                    For the Three Months Ended   For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,    March 31,         2024   2023   2024   2023 Store and Team Member Information:                         Total employment     90,601     89,125             Square footage (in thousands) (4)     47,143     45,117             Sales per weighted-average square foot (4)(5)   $ 82.59   $ 81.09   $ 341.62   $ 328.29 Sales per weighted-average store (in thousands) (4)(6)   $ 634   $ 611   $ 2,601   $ 2,467  
      (1) Calculated as cost of goods sold for the last 12 months divided by average inventory. Average inventory is calculated as the average of inventory for the trailing four quarters used in determining the denominator. (2) Calculated as inventory divided by store count at the end of the reported period. (3) Calculated as accounts payable divided by inventory. (4) Represents O’Reilly’s U.S. and Puerto Rico operations only. (5) Calculated as sales less jobber sales, divided by weighted-average square footage. Weighted-average square footage is determined by weighting store square footage based on the approximate dates of store openings, acquisitions, expansions, or closures. (6) Calculated as sales less jobber sales, divided by weighted-average stores. Weighted-average stores is determined by weighting stores based on their approximate dates of openings, acquisitions, or closures.  
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