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FullSpeed Automotive Acquired by CenterOak Partners
Grease Monkey International, LLC, one of the nation’s largest independent franchisors of automotive quick lube centers, was recently acquired by CenterOak Partners LLC, a Dallas-based private equity firm with a focus on making control-oriented investments in middle market companies.
FullSpeed Automotive’s brands include Grease Monkey, SpeeDee, LubePro’s and Monkey Shine carwash. The retail operations division also operates Havoline xpress lube locations in addition to Grease Monkey and SpeeDee centers.
“FullSpeed Automotive has grown tremendously in the last five years under the leadership of president and CEO John Adams, and I am very proud of the team’s accomplishments,” said Chester Stokes, outgoing Chairman of the Board, and, formerly, the primary shareholder of the company. “The company has proven that it is ready for even greater growth with the successful acquisition of SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service this past February.”
“We are very excited about the growth potential in the automotive service industry and see an attractive opportunity for future consolidation,” said Randall Fojtasek, managing partner of CenterOak. “Acquiring a company like FullSpeed Automotive — already performing above industry growth rates with its well-known brands — provides the ideal investment platform to accelerate both organic growth and footprint growth through acquisitions.”
The current FullSpeed Automotive management team will continue to serve under the leadership of president and CEO John Adams.
“The company has accomplished great things through smart investments, open collaboration, excellent execution and unrelenting commitment, yet there is so much more we can achieve with this formula for success,” Adams said. “We look forward to partnering with CenterOak, which has the resources and expertise necessary for the next chapter of unprecedented growth.”
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Fast Change Lube & Oil Presents Thousands to Send Care Packages to Deployed Soldiers
Fast Change Lube & Oil recently presented $11,000 to Military Missions, raised through its Annual Fast Change Operation Solider Care program, at Military Missions’ headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.
Military Missions, Inc. is a non-profit charity organization made up of volunteers who support and honor deployed U.S. military personnel by sending care packages as an expression of appreciation and gratitude to the men and women who are providing safety for all of us.
All 20 Fast Change locations participated in “Fast Change Operation Solider Care.” WEMM Radio in Huntington, West Virginia, and Fast Change Lube and Oil teamed up in the effort to support our troops. Fast Change customers donated care items and gave monetary donations. With the help of the Fast Change team and loyal customers, Fast Change doubled last year’s donation of $5,000. One hundred percent of the funds to Military Missions will go to sending care packages to deployed soldiers.
Fast Change Lube & Oil president, Kevin Davis, said, “It is a great honor and blessing for us to sponsor the Fast Change Operation Soldier Care to provide care packages through Military Missions to the great men and women serving our country! I appreciate all that helped to make this such a successful event. It was through the efforts of our Fast Change team, our customers and WEMM radio that we were able to make this presentation to Military Missions.”
U.S. Veteran and longtime volunteer, Fred Doster, said Military Missions, Inc. sent more than 7,000 care packages to active duty military members last year, and he expected that number to rise this year. Doster recalled being deployed overseas and not receiving anything quite like what Military Missions sends its troops.
“We at Military Missions are just a bunch of volunteers that gather stuff all year long to send soldiers who are deployed a care package. What we want to do is just make sure they know we, American citizens, support them back home. Because that’s what it is all about,” Doster said.
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Woman’s Car Stolen While Getting Oil Change
Vicky Meredith took her car to a Northridge, California, shop for more than a decade to get her oil changed. But on November 3, she noticed the service was taking a while, CBS Los Angeles reported.
“About an hour had passed and I asked, where’s my car?” Meredith told CBS Los Angeles.
When she checked in with the owner, they realized her car was gone. According to CBS Los Angeles, they looked at security video and saw a man casually walk up to it and drive off. Another angle of security cameras showed the suspected thief walking down the alley beforehand.
Steve Sebouh Donoyan, the shop owner, told CBS Los Angeles the keys had been left inside the car, usual protocol when employees have to constantly move vehicles. Donoyan also said in 15 years in business, he’s never had a car stolen, but now makes sure no keys are ever left inside the vehicles.
Meredith told CBS Los Angeles that she will keep coming back to the shop for oil changes but will just do things differently.
The woman’s car was found in Harbor City, California, according to CBS Los Angeles. But, as of press time, the suspected thief had not been found.
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Jiffy Lube to Be Presenting Sponsor of Pennzoil 400
At the 2017 SEMA Show, Pennzoil announced that Jiffy Lube will be the presenting sponsor of the first-ever Pennzoil 400 race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) in 2018. The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube will race on March 4, 2018, at LVMS as the anchor of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series triple-header weekend.
“The Pennzoil 400 is a tremendous opportunity for the Jiffy Lube brand to further leverage Shell’s rich motorsports history,” said Steve Ledbetter, president, Jiffy Lube International. “It’s exciting to see two industry-leading brands in the automotive aftermarket business, Jiffy Lube and Pennzoil, come together for this exhilarating event to deliver race fans an action-packed weekend, as well as further showcase our vast array of products and services between us.”
The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube is an expanded relationship with Speedway Motors Incorporated and its motorsports properties; in addition to key B2B elements, the new title race and Jiffy Lube’s presenting sponsorship offer the brands exclusive, one-of-a-kind experiences to extend to their customers.
“It feels like a milestone moment to see Pennzoil and Jiffy Lube, two iconic brands, come together for one thrilling weekend of racing,” said Colin Abraham, president of Shell Lubricants Americas. “In its first year, the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube will promise race fans an adrenaline-inducing track experience.”
Las Vegas is a valued market for Pennzoil with significant brand activations around NASCAR, NHRA and the SEMA Show in recent years. The race consistently has had one of the highest TV ratings on the circuit and has traditionally enjoyed sell-out crowds in attendance.
“We’re pleased to welcome Pennzoil and Jiffy Lube, two respected automotive brands, to fabulous Las Vegas for our spring NASCAR weekend,” said Chris Powell, president, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “Pennzoil has a rich history in NASCAR, showcasing its faith in the future of our industry and sport. We appreciate Pennzoil bringing in Jiffy Lube as presenting sponsor for its first Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”
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Oilstop Steps Up With North Bay Fire Relief
The six massive wildfires that swept through California’s North Bay region last fall caused more the $3.3 billion in damages, while 43 people lost their lives. After 23 days the fires were contained, but the impact to Sonoma County will be lasting. This was the most destructive firestorm in California history, affecting more than 200,000 acres and impacting more than 8,900 structures.
Residents and local businesses alike now face the painful task of rebuilding, but Oilstop announced that it will take a key role in the region’s recovery efforts. The company announced it is asking customers at all of its locations nationwide for a $1 donation, which will be matched dollar for dollar with all funds being donated to Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief.
“In spite of the catastrophic devastation the fires caused, the response to it by local organizations and people was nothing short of a miracle,” said Larry Dahl, president of Oilstop. “So much love was poured out on people during that time, it truly helped define Sonoma County.”
Oilstop also announced that it would work to take care of its customers and employees, many of whom were unable to travel during the fires. In fact, at the height of the fires, Oilstop’s shops in Sonoma County were closed from three to six days. The company told NOLN that all affected staff were paid during the closures and it is providing financial assistance to those staff who find themselves in extreme hardship.
In addition, all six Sonoma County Oilstop locations offered customers who may have been affected by the fires a complimentary cabin air filter at the time of an oil change. This program, which ran from November 1 to 15, was a way to help customers deal with filters that may have been affected by particulate matter or smoke. In total, the company gave away and installed 2,118 cabin air filters, which were provided by Service Champ and S&E Distributing.
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Scotti Lee Establishes Scholarship Fund
Dr. R. Scotti Lee has generously established an endowed scholarship at Delaware Technical Community College in memory of his late wife, Marsha A. Lee. This scholarship has been established by Lee to support scholarships for students at Delaware Tech, where he serves on the Development Council and as a community advisor for the 1 Million Cups program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs.
The Marsha A. Lee Memorial Scholarship Endowment funds scholarships for students in the Business Department at the George Campus, which is located in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. The scholarship targets deserving students who meet the established criteria and demonstrate financial need. Other individuals are welcome to support this scholarship endeavor.
This scholarship is a part of the Delaware Tech Educational Foundation, which strives to assist students who seek to improve their lives through education and training. All gifts made to the Marsha A. Lee Scholarship Endowment are tax-deductible.
For information about giving to this scholarship, please contact Tom Lemon, director of Development, at Delaware Tech at 302.454.3990, firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Lemon, Delaware Technical Community College, 400 Stanton-Christiana Road, Newark, DE 19713. Lemon would be happy to be of help in assisting donors interested in supporting this scholarship.
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TechForce Report Reveals the Severity of the Vehicle Tech Shortage
TechForce Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on championing and aiding aspiring vehicle technicians, has released a new report, “Transportation Technician New Entrant Demand,” that reveals the severity of the vehicle technician shortage.
Based on an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) data, TechForce found that the estimated demand for “new entrant” vehicle technicians is much higher than previously reported. For the period between 2016 and 2026, that demand is more than triple the prior BLS estimates for the period between 2014 and 2024. “New entrant” technicians are those needed to fill the growth in new positions in the occupation as well as replace those who leave the occupation. They are distinguished from experienced technicians who may move between employers but don’t add to the overall trained workforce in the occupation.
The report reveals that the newly projected BLS average annual new entrant demand for 75,900 auto technicians for the 2016-2026 period is far greater than the previous BLS projected demand of 23,720 technicians for the 2014-2024 period. Moreover, by extrapolating data from the economy and vehicles in use, TechForce has been able to provide annual projections that are much more useful for industry planning than a 10-year average, which masks the cyclicality of individual years. As an example, in the case of auto technicians, the highest demand in the next five years is 92,071 in 2018, while the lowest is 65,020 in 2021.
Greg Settle, one of the co-authors of the report and TechForce director of National Initiatives, said, “BLS had underestimated the replacement component of demand —replacing existing technicians who have retired, been promoted or decided to find a new career. That methodological problem has been rectified with the new projections just issued by the BLS for the 2016-2026 period.”
Doug Young, the other co-author of the report and managing director of his own strategy consulting company, Wilcap L.L.C, said, “The TechForce report is the first to provide annual historical and projected demand that also utilizes the new BLS replacement rate. The great benefit is that the numbers now correspond to actual industry experience and explain why the shortage occurred and why it has persisted.”
What has exacerbated the technician shortage to the point of the perfect storm are essentially three things, according to Settle.
“We’re caught in the middle of a strong growing economy, a catch-up demand for technicians created by the Great Recession of 2008 and the increasing complexity of vehicles,” Settle said.
As to what can be done to alleviate the shortage, Young said, “We have adequate training facilities for prospective technicians. Our concentration has to be on getting young people interested in this vocation by changing the image of the grease-monkey mechanic that students and their parents, teachers and counselors may have.”
Jennifer Maher, CEO and executive director of TechForce, added, “In order to solve the tech shortage, the industry needs to pool its resources and create and disseminate consistent public messaging highlighting the many and varied opportunities of a tech career. Right now, the industry is suffering from inadequate, fragmented financing for the cause. It’s not enough for us to talk among ourselves, we have to pull together as an industry to first, resolve it, and then to stay ahead of it so we never wind up in this position again.”
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Rick Breen’s Donates Almost $3,000 to Head Start Center
Back in October, a fire broke out and destroyed the Paul E. Slaton Head Start in Ruston, Louisiana. Rick Breen’s Rapid Lube donated $10 from every oil change at its Ruston location from Monday, October 30, through Saturday, November 4, to benefit relief efforts for the head start center.
Rick Breen’s raised $2,750 during the fundraiser.
“The Head Start Center meant a lot to people in Ruston, and the children displaced by the fire need the support of Lincoln Parish to transition back into the classroom. Our goal was to raise enough money to help the community with the resources these children need. We are extremely proud of the show of support by our Ruston customers,” Matt Talbert, general manager of Rick Breen’s, told www.myarklamiss.com.
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Western Automotive Ventures Expands
Big O Tires recently recognized the expansion of the brand in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri in partnership with Mark Rhee and Western Automotive Ventures. Rhee, an existing franchisee of the Big O Tires brand with 12 locations in Nevada, now owns and operates 56 locations.
“We’re excited about our expansion and the opportunity to partner with Mark and his team again to bring the team you trust to Minnesota and to serve even more customers in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri,” said John Kairys, vice president and general manager of Big O Tires. “Mark is an exceptional businessman and industry leader, and we’re fortunate to expand the brand with him.”
The locations were formerly NTB Tire & Service Center locations.
“This opportunity was a unique one for us in that we had an existing franchisee, who has experienced much success with the Big O brand, interested in growing his portfolio,” said Brant Wilson, senior vice president of Franchise Operations for TBC Corporation.
“We are super excited about our expansion with Big O Tires,” said Mark Rhee, president, Western Automotive Ventures. “The opportunity to grow our respective companies through this partnership was one that just felt right in all aspects and all of our company family team members and I are looking forward to bringing the Western Automotive Ventures mark of excellence to the people of Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.”
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Former Lube Manager Charged with Burglarizing Ex-employer
An ex-manager at Fast Track Oil Change in Brookfield, Wisconsin, has been accused of burglarizing his former employer, reported the Journal Sentinel.
Jyorel Ware, 25, was charged with two counts of burglary and a count of theft on Monday, November 20, according to the Journal Sentinel.
According to the criminal complaint, an officer observed a red Chevy Impala exit the parking lot at Fast Track Oil Change. The officer was aware of a burglary that occurred at Fast Track back in early November, so he pursued the red Impala, performing a traffic stop and identifying the driver as Ware — the lone occupant of the vehicle.
According to the Journal Sentinel article, the complaint said Ware initially stated he had not been to Fast Track, but later stated he was wanted in Brookfield and stated he burglarized Fast Track a few weeks ago. Back at Fast Track, officers noticed someone had broken into the south side of the business. A window was smashed in and an additional door leading to an office inside of the building was open. Surveillance video showed someone later identified as Ware entering the business.
Here is how the attempted burglary on November 19 happened, according to the Journal Sentinel: Ware was in the area and pulled to the rear of the building where he kicked the glass, breaking the window. He then crawled through the hole he created and went straight to the safe located under the cash register. He entered the code to get into the safe but it did not work. He then exited the same way he had entered.
As for the burglary on November 5, as reported by the Journal Sentinel, Ware said he had also kicked the glass to get in. In that case, he entered the code to the safe and removed approximately $46 and exited the business.
According to the criminal complaint and the Journal Sentinel, Ware, who had worked as a manager, had been fired in early November due to stealing from the bank deposits. From October 14-28, Ware allegedly took $1,070,37 from the night deposits, the complaint said. Ware told officers he did not know the dollar amounts taken. He just indicated he had taken the cash.
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BSRO Raises $3.8 Million for Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) recently announced it has surpassed its annual fundraising goal for Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) with an unprecedented $1.4 million year-to-date through its cause-marketing partnership, “Driving Great Futures.” In total, BSRO has donated $3.8 million as part of its three-year partnership, helping Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide a safe, productive place for kids and teens during critical out-of-school hours. The majority of the funds were raised with the help of customers who donated by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar for BGCA. There was also additional support from key vendor partners including Interstate Batteries, Shell and ITW/QMI.
“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this promotion, especially our loyal customers for their generous support and our store teammates for leading the charge,” said Joe Venezia, president, BSRO. “A high-quality club experience, combined with regular attendance, drives positive youth outcomes such as graduating on time, volunteering in the community, being physically active and abstaining from risky behaviors. Through Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we can truly help to drive great futures in the local neighborhoods where we live, work and do business.”
“The ‘Driving Great Futures’ partnership with BSRO is so valuable to Boys & Girls Clubs of America because the funds raised truly impact our clubs and the lives of the children and teens we serve,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Clubs of America. “We appreciate all of the work Bridgestone Retail Operations has done to contribute to children and teens across the country.”
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Maryland Technician Wins Petty’s Garage Custom-Built Ford Mustang in Mahle Promotion
Tracy Weiland, a technician at The Shop European Auto Clinic in Rockville, Maryland, won the grand prize in the Mahle “Drive With the Original” promotion. The custom-built Petty’s Garage Ford Mustang was awarded on the first day of the Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas.
“I’ve never been to Las Vegas, and I’ve never won anything in my life,” said Weiland right after she won the Petty’s Garage Mahle Mustang. “I just can’t believe I won this incredible car. It’s going to take a few days to sink in. But I really would like to thank all of the folks at Mahle for this fantastic experience.”
“On behalf of all of us at Mahle Aftermarket, I would like to congratulate Tracy for being our ‘Drive With the Original Promotion’ grand prize winner,” said Jon Douglas, president, Mahle Aftermarket Inc. “I know she is going to give that Mustang the ‘tender love and care’ it so deserves. I had a chance to talk with her and the other finalists at the show, and we owe them all many thanks for supporting and representing our brand and our promotion with such enthusiasm. I also want to thank all of the promotion entrants for participating and placing their trust in Mahle Original gaskets.”
The four finalists were randomly selected from the nearly 10,000 entries submitted. The four finalists each received a trip to Las Vegas to participate in the special grand prize ceremony held at the Mahle Aftermarket booth on the opening day of AAPEX 2017.
Weiland is co-owner and manager of The Shop European Auto Clinic and specializes in classic Jaguars. The Mahle Mustang will sit next to her daily driver, a 400 horsepower, supercharged Jaguar XJ-R. Weiland said the first thing she is going to do is take the 1,000 horsepower Mahle Mustang to nearby Summit Point Raceway “to get one of the trainers there to teach me how to drive the car without hurting anything!”
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Petra Oil President Named Hispanic Male Entrepreneur of the Year
Arnold Gacita, president and CEO of Petra Oil Company, was recently named 2017 Hispanic Male Entrepreneur of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards gala November 18, 2017.
Gacita, who emigrated to the United States from Cuba with his family when he was seven months old, was chosen for his outstanding leadership capabilities and strong commitment to community service. The founder of Petra Oil, Gacita has grown the company to its position throughout the United States and in 28 countries in seven years’ time.
His business success is matched by his commitment to community service. For example, every year, the entire staff of Petra Oil takes a day off to give back to the community — 2017’s project was to feed the homeless. In addition, Gacita is a strong supporter of area schools and teachers, regularly hosting teacher appreciation days, providing meals for all the teachers and staff. He is also a mentor for Christian colleges, has sent trucks of food and supplies to help flood victims and is currently working on a project to build an orphanage in Brazil.
“I am truly honored to be the recipient of this award,” Gacita said. “The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an extremely important resource for Houston’s Hispanic business community, and I deeply appreciate being recognized by such an outstanding organization.”