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Outgoing ASE President/CEO Tom Zilke Thanks Industry for Support


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With a new year comes new leadership at ASE, and current President and CEO Tom Zilke is reaching out to the industry to thank its members for its support of the organization over the years.

In an open letter below, Zilke emphasized the organization’s achievements over his 16-year tenure and laid out his vision for ASE in the future.

In June, Zilke and Trish Serratore, senior vice president of communications,

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at the end of this year. Dave Johnson, who brings more than 30 years of automotive-industry experience to ASE, will succeed Zilke come Jan. 1.

Johnson also penned an open letter (see below) outlining his goals as he steps into the top spot at ASE. Johnson previously served as global director, service engineering operations at Ford Motor Co. where he led all vehicle repair support activities.

Open Letter from Tom Zilke

It has been an honor and privilege to have served as ASE president and CEO for the past 16 years. I joined ASE in 1991 and have enjoyed working on behalf of automotive service professionals and for the betterment of the transportation industry.

ASE has an incredible staff of 50 people that have an amazing passion and level of commitment. Together, we have transformed ASE in many ways, and I am very proud of our achievements, including the conversion to computer-based testing which opened testing opportunities throughout the year as well as the introduction of the ASE Renewal App that allows automobile technicians to recertify remotely. We have embraced newer vehicle technologies and most recently, ASE introduced testing and certifications for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Electric Vehicle Safety.

We have also aligned ASE, the ASE Education Foundation and ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC) to support the career cycle of technicians from initial education through lifelong learning. Through testing and certification, ASE encourages technician learning, which ultimately results in a better repair and driving experience for consumers. Technician improvement also makes technicians more productive and employers more profitable.

Going forward, I would like to see ASE continue its work to redefine the technician image and address the recruitment/retention challenges. Technician image and recruitment/retention are interrelated and changing perceptions will take time. ASE is the logical industry-wide organization to help address these challenges, primarily through the ASE Education Foundation that is working diligently on these initiatives.

I would also like to see ASE continue to add measurable value to industry organizations’ technician training programs and be nimble in adapting to a rapidly changing industry and its technologies. Finally, I would like to see ASE continue to provide an unsurpassed level of service to technicians and employers.

I want to thank everyone throughout the industry for their support of ASE over the years. I am excited about the future with Dave Johnson leading ASE. We share a passion for the ASE mission, and I am very confident that he will take ASE to new heights.

Open letter from Dave Johnson, president and CEO designate, ASE

I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Tim Zilke and take on the mantle of leadership of this important industry organization. I look forward to working with industry stakeholders as well as the outstanding ASE staff to serve the industry’s service professionals and motoring public. I know we have an exciting future ahead of us and I look forward to sharing the amazing mission of ASE.

I joined ASE with over 30 years of automotive industry experience, working previously as global director, service engineering operations at Ford Motor Company where I led all vehicle repair support activities. I am looking forward to using those experiences to take ASE to the next level of technician and consumer value.

I am confident that my experience has prepared me to help contribute to the ASE cause. I have been fortunate throughout my career to work closely with technicians, service business owners, parts suppliers, and most importantly, the customers they all support. I believe that my background and formal technical and business education have prepared me to work with this entire industry ‘ecosystem’ that is part of the ASE team’s mission to champion and support.

One of my first goals since joining ASE has been to learn all I can from Tim and the ASE team, while continuing to build upon the solid foundational elements that ASE is best known for. While I have thoughts and ideas about moving forward, I first need to learn from those on the ASE team who have been working in the trenches much longer than me. Just as importantly, I want to learn about what is on the minds of all various stakeholders to ensure that the ASE team is aligned with what the industry really needs.

I wanted to take on this new role because I could see from my time serving on the ASE board that there was so much good being accomplished and so many possibilities for the future. I am excited to bring my skills and experience to the table in a more significant way to help take ASE to the next level.

There are real challenges facing the transportation industry, from the need to attract and retain service professionals to complex vehicle designs and advanced technologies that demand more knowledge and ability than ever before. Having lived with these challenges firsthand and working within one company to address them, I view ASE as the place where the industry can come together to multiply our efforts, influence and accomplishments, and rise to meet these challenges. It is going to be an exciting and rewarding journey for all involved.

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