12 young auto professionals receive Next Step scholarships

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The Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) and the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) have announced the 2015 Auto Care Association Next Step program’s scholarship recipients.

Twelve young industry professionals will receive scholarships of $1,100 to attend the Auto Care Association Spring Leadership Days, scheduled for May 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Ariz.  

The 2015 recipients are: 

  • Thurston Adams, Heri Automotive Inc.

  • Michael Atkins, NAPA Auto Parts/Genuine Parts

  • Sean Ayala, W M Automotive Warehouse Inc.

  • Carolyn Barquist, The Parts House

  • Sophia Coll, Universal Air Conditioner

  • Dustin Ryan, Crump Arnold Oil Company

  • Alex DeYoung, KYB

  • Ted Hess, H.G. Makelim Co.

  • Meagan Jensen, ZF Services LLC

  • Jesse Kaplan, Gem Auto Parts/Neptune Warehouse

  • Tunc Kip, Temel Gaskets USA

  • Brian Wheeler, Dayco

The Next Step Program offers future leaders in the auto care industry opportunities to experience, up close, how the association and various aspects of the industry work. The program, formerly known as AWDA’s Next Step Program, previously provided scholarships for distributors only. With YANG’s participation this year, the revamped Next Step Program opened its doors to young professionals performing any job function in the industry. 

“We are excited to host these high-quality young professionals at this year’s Spring Leadership Days where they will have the opportunity to rub elbows with more than 450 volunteer industry leaders during committee meetings and valuable networking events,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “The Next Step Program is one of the many ways we, as an association, are supporting continued professional development in the auto care industry.” 

The scholarship recipients were chosen by a committee of AWDA and YANG leaders.

For more information, visit

The Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) is a movement providing auto care professionals under the age of 40 the opportunity to network with industry peers, enhance knowledge and improve leadership capabilities. YANG was formed with a desire to help young professionals establish a circle of peers to grow with alongside their careers. Participants are future executive level staffers of the auto care industry that see the value in establishing connections with other young professionals that will one day be business owners and key decision makers.   

AWDA represents more than 600 of North America’s top distributors and manufacturers of motor vehicle parts and supplies. The 67-year old organization is a key segment of the Auto Care Association. Visit

Based in Bethesda, Md., the Auto Care Association has more than 3,000 member companies that represent some 150,000 independent automotive businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials and supplies, and perform vehicle service and repair. Visit


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