2016 Auto Care Women of the Year awards were presented Tuesday, Nov. 1, by Women in Auto Care, formerly the Car Care Council Women’s Board (WB), at a press conference at The Venetian during the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas.
Amy Bonder, vice president of sales and strategy at Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO), has been chosen as the 13th annual Auto Care Woman of the Year. Judith Zimmerman Walter, owner, Zimmerman’s Automotive, has been named 2016 Female Shop Owner of the Year, and Susan Ulrey, vice president, global customer business unit, ride performance, Tenneco Inc., was named Auto Care Woman of Excellence.
The Women of the Year awards are administered by the Women in Auto Care Member Development Committee. The Woman of the Year is chosen based on her significant leadership and contributions to the auto care community throughout her career. Female Shop Owner of the Year is given to an outstanding woman who has a proven record of excellence in the automotive service industry, and the Woman of Excellence is the Women in Auto Care member who has provided recent outstanding contributions to the auto care industry.
Auto Care Woman of the Year
As vice president of sales and strategy at Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) – which owns and operates 2,200 tire and automotive service centers nationwide under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works store brands – Amy Bonder helps guide the company’s overall sales strategy. A member of the BSRO leadership team, Bonder has been instrumental in the success of Vision 2020, BSRO’s long-term strategy to be ranked among the most admired customer service companies by the end of the decade. Driving the business-to-business arm of Vision 2020, Bonder has shifted the company’s approach to a strategic account management and value-selling focus, leading to increased customer satisfaction. Prior to working at BSRO, Bonder spent six years with Advance Auto Parts, starting as director of national accounts and holding numerous positions of increasing responsibility within the company, including vice president of sales and commercial value proposition.
Throughout Bonder’s career, she has been an advocate for women in the automotive industry. Mentoring is a focus for Bonder, as she supports the formal mentoring program of Women in Auto Care, as well as BSRO’s program. She also plays a key role in BSRO’s Women’s Business Council, which aims to engage and inspire women working at BSRO in store, field and corporate roles.
Female Shop Owner of the Year
Judith Walter’s 20,000-square-foot facility sports a 12-bay shop with seven ASE-trained and certified technicians, one service manager and two service advisors in Mechanicsburg, Pa. They also have a quick lube facility and a used car division that is responsible for half of their revenue. Walter oversees the thriving full service automotive business, now run with the help of her daughter.
Walter’s shop was one of 10 shops to make it on Motor Age’s 2014 “Top Shops List.” In 2011, Walter was awarded the “Les Ginanni Business and Community Connection Award” for continuously contributing to the West Shore Chamber of Commerce community through her business and personal efforts. Walter was also awarded one of the “Best 50 Women in Business – 2007” awards recognizing her vital impact in creating jobs and building strong community.
Auto Care Woman of Excellence
Susan Ulrey has worked in the auto care industry for more than 13 years, most recently as executive director, customer experience, for Tenneco’s North America Aftermarket business unit. Throughout this period, she has been a leading advocate not only of women serving at every level of the auto care industry, but also of the millions of female consumers who rely on the industry’s products and services. She spearheaded a series of women’s car care clinics aimed at helping consumers more confidently manage the vehicle maintenance and repair experience.
Ulrey is the former chairperson of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Technology Committee; member of the Auto Care Association Government Affairs Committee; longtime member of the Car Care Council Women’s Board; and in 2016 was a featured speaker at the Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) “Knowledge Exchange” Conference. She has received the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award and was co-recipient of the R.L. Polk Inventory Efficiency Award. She has earned the Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designation from the University of the Aftermarket.
Women in Auto Care is comprised of auto care professionals dedicated to providing opportunities, education and career leadership to women in the auto care industry through networking, mentoring, recruitment, recognition, industry advising and communication.