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AASA Presents New Annual Advocacy And DEI Awards At AAPEX


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Delphi Technologies, a brand of BorgWarner Inc., received the 2021 AASA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Award on Nov. 3 at AAPEX in Las Vegas. 

“Delphi Technologies has a long history of walking the walk,” said Megan Gardner, director of membership and engagement with AASA. “They continuously set the bar high for their organization and in doing so, challenge others to follow suit in the honorable fight for DEI and a healthy company culture.”

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Anita Barlow of Delphi Technologies (left) and Megan Gardner of AASA

BorgWarner provides its employees with extensive programs and leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion and cultivates a workplace where diversity is welcomed, and employees are given opportunities to discuss inclusion openly. The company created regional DEI councils that review policies and procedures to ensure they are serving the needs of the employee base and implemented a global company ratio compensation analysis to take a stand against unconscious bias.

To take it a step further, BorgWarner also has specific trainings to help its workforce understand unconscious bias and how to overcome it. It’s clear that DEI is core to the company’s success, employee retention and culture.

“When we’re in an environment where everyone can be true to themselves, happiness and productivity come naturally,” said Anita Barlow, managing director, Remanufacturing, North America with Delphi Technologies. “This is critical in building high-performing teams, not just from a business perspective, but also a human one. When we feel like we can be ourselves, we feel a sense of inclusion and belongingness. This helps us from a company point of view to improve retention, productivity, and bottom-line profitability.” 

Barlow was invited by Gardner on stage to receive the award on behalf of Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, and then participated in a quick Q&A on the company’s councils, implementation of DEI, and the strong reputation Delphi Technologies has earned by simply doing the right thing.

Daniel Tristan Receives DEI Individual Award

Daniel Tristan, director of International for Spectronics, received the 2021 AASA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Individual Award.

“AASA is proud to announce a new annual award, with the purpose of recognizing an influential leader in the automotive aftermarket that supports and represents the core values of diversity, equity & inclusion,” said Ben Brucato, senior director for AASA. “AASA is dedicated to challenging our industry to be forward thinking and retaining and attracting talent from all backgrounds and walks of life. We know it will make our industry stronger and more resilient.”

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Daniel Tristan of Spectronics (left) and Ben Brucato of AASA

Tristan’s parents immigrated from Mexico in the 1960s, where his father started a service station in Texas and where Daniel started his automotive career as a small child. It was then that Tristan’s passion for hard work, leadership and DEI began to blossom.

Tristan is one of the youngest members of AASA’s board of governors and also is the incoming chairman of the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC). His roles in leadership allow him to be a huge advocate for minorities in the automotive aftermarket, where he helps recruit and retain talent from all backgrounds.

“As a Mexican American who started my career patching tires and doing oil changes, it is a privilege to be part of an industry that has given so much to me and my family,” said Tristan.

Ben Brucato took the stage following the announcement of the AASA Advocacy Champion, to officially name Tristan as the first ever AASA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion. 

Bruce Ronning Receives Member Advocacy Award

Bruce Ronning, senior vice president, Global Sales and Commercial Operations at DRiV, received the 2021 AASA Member Advocacy Award.

“This award is to recognize one of our members who has gone above and beyond and who has been a proud representative of our industry,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of AASA. “Bruce has made the needs and values of the aftermarket heard and understood by key external audiences and has stood up for the future of the aftermarket.”

Ronning has contributed in several important ways over the past 20 months to justify this honor. He has acted as a vocal representative for aftermarket manufacturers in discussions with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce about supply chain and workforce challenges. He has provided valuable feedback on trade issues, dating back to the USMCA agreement and its favorable terms for the aftermarket, and then used his platform on the AASA board to encourage the concept of ports open 24/7.

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Bruce Ronning of DriV (second from left) received the 2021 AASA Member Advocacy Award.

Most importantly, he and his company were not afraid to speak up on the importance of Right to Repair and maintaining a competitive market for consumer choice on where, and with what parts, vehicles are serviced. 

“I am humbled and grateful to be recognized by AASA with this award, as we at DRiV are always glad to work with Paul and the AASA/MEMA teams to do what we can to promote and ensure the future of our industry,” said Ronning. “I look forward to continuing our relationship and plan to do my part to ensure that the needs and issues affecting the aftermarket are taken seriously.”

Catherine Boland, MEMA’s vice president of government affairs, Leigh Merino, MEMA’s vice president of legislative affairs, and McCarthytook the stage to officially name Ronning as the first-ever AASA Advocacy Champion. 

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