Lifetime Achievement Award








03/13/18 - The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) has announced the selection of Fred Bunting, Chairman of Auto-Wares Group of Companies located in Grand Rapids, Michigan as recipient of its 2018 MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Created in 2010, the MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to honor the excellence of individuals in the automotive aftermarket industry who have made significant impacts in the industry and/or the association. Qualifying criteria for consideration includes recipient must have/had an extensive career in the industry, contributed significantly to the automotive aftermarket industry in Michigan, and made accomplishments within their local community.

Lifetime Love. Fred Bunting is a 3rd generation auto parts person and some say he came out of a muffler box. He started working in the family automotive aftermarket business at age 14. He had every job in the family warehouse: as a sweeper, stock boy, unload and load trucks, hi-lo driver, order picker, parts counter, buyer, order taker, truck driver, and saleman. The family business was sold in 1967 while he was in College.

In 1976 he started his own aftermarket company Auto-Wares Group of Companies headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He started, built, and today owns 14 major automotive aftermarket companies and 180+ retail/wholesale auto parts stores in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illnois and Wisconsin. Auto-Wares services daily 500+ auto parts stores. Auto-Wares has 300+ Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper stores, 700+ Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Certified Service Centers. Auto-Wares employs 2,100+ top notch service oriented professional people and over the years created jobs for 10,000+ people who have worked for Auto-Wares.

Fred has put an over whelming effort into training, sponsoring Tech Expos training for 20 years has resulted in filling 50,000 tech training seats. Organizing local regional training events in 5 states has resulted in 6,000+ more training seats filled. He has won national award Head of the Class for training his own employees. Fred's other awards include: Northwood Automotive Aftermarket Education, Auto Value Man of the Year, Art Fisher Scholarship (technician training), Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education, MAAP (Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional), Jack Creamer AWDA Automotive Aftermarket Leader of the Year 2016. He is also involved and supports multiple charities to help others in our community and world.

He has been in Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper national program group for 40 years, and has been on their board of directors for 34 years. He has served on the AWDA board of Governors and a member of AWDA for 40+ years. He has been a proud member of his state jobber association MAPA for 40+ years. Fred has always made independent jobbers success his primary focus. He has helped many independent jobbers get into, stay, and get out of this great business. His personal philosophy has been to treat customers, employees and vendors all like friends. Stay aggressive and build for the long term. He has always enjoyed a strong personal relationship with his customers and employees. He spends a lot of time every year visiting and meeting with jobbers and technicians. He has always believed it happens on the streets and it is very important to stay street smart! Fred has a total passion for the automotive aftermarket business!

The MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Fred Bunting during MAPA Industry Day 2018 being held on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan.






SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 



         jerrybiggershonored2     jerrybiggershonored3 

Top right photo: Jerry Biggers (R) accepts award honoring him as MAPA's 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from MAPA's 2017 Chairman Gary Deuling (L) during MAPA Industry Day held September 13, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan.  Left photo: L-R, Gayle Biggers, MAPA's 2017 Chairman Gary Deuling, Jerry Biggers.  Right photo: Gayle and Jerry Biggers.  


The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) honored Jerry Biggers, retired from Genuine Parts Company (GPC) / NAPA as recipient of its 2017 MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award during MAPA Industry Day held on September 13, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan.


About Jerry: 

Jerry started working for GPC in 1969 as a part-time employee while completing his bachelor's degree in marketing from Virginia Tech. When he left to return to school, the general manager called Jerry into his office and asked him to come back and see him when he finished school. Upon graduation, Jerry did just that and in 1972 he joined the management trainee program. After successfully completing the program in 1974, he accepted his first management role as jobber sales and service manager, and in 1978 he was promoted to operations manager.


There were numerous promotions for Jerry in the years that followed: In 1979, he was named operations manager at NAPA Denver, 1981 director of operations at HQ, 1982 assistant to GPC chairman and CEO, 1983 assistant to division vice president at newly-formed Midwest Division, 1985 general manager at NAPA Stevens Point, 1987 general manager at new Columbia DC, followed by two more promotions as general manager in Richmond in 1992 and Grand Rapids in 1998. In 2007, he returned to HQ as vice president of operations. After deciding to go back to the field, Jerry returned to the general manager position at NAPA Grand Rapids in 2012. When an opportunity opened back up at NAPA Richmond in 2015, he jumped at the chance to return to Richmond to take over as general manager.


Jerry's unparalleled performance and exemplary dedication over the years has contributed to GPC's success. Jerry retired in October 2016, and now he and his wife Gayle look forward to the next phase of their lives and a well-earned retirement. Congratulations Jerry!


Created in 2010, the MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to honor the excellence of individuals in the automotive aftermarket industry who have made significant impacts in the industry and/or the association to qualify for consideration of MAPA's Lifetime Achievement Award. The recipient must have/had an extensive career in the industry, contributed significantly to the automotive aftermarket industry in Michigan, and made accomplishments within his or her local community. Congratulations Jerry!

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Biggers Family Portrait - 2017 Gayle & Jerry-2016 NAPA Five Star Meeting Jerry, Gayle & Grandchildren - 2017






 Edwin G. Thirlby          



SEPTEMBER 14, 2016





Eddie Thirlby, Jr. accepts the MAPA Lifetime Service Award from presenter Tim Mulcaster, for his father Edwin G. Thirlby, Sr. who was unable to be on hand for the honors. Tim Mulcaster honored Edwin Thirlby, Sr. during a presentation at MAPA Industry Day held Wednesday, September 14, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. 

June 13, 2016.  The Michigan Automotive Parts Association is pleased to announce the selection of Edwin G. Thirlby, Sr., founder of Thirlby Automotive in Traverse City, Michigan as recipient of its 2016 MAPA Lifetime Service Award.


Thirlby Automotive was born out of the trunk of a car loaded with car polish. In 1956 at age 17, Edwin G. Thirlby (company founder) drove around the area giving demonstrations and taking orders for car polish at the local gas stations. After graduating high school, he married Beverly in 1958 and added other related products to his inventory and expanded his sales route to include a 70 mile radius of Traverse City. In 1959 his sales grew and became a full time job. He and Beverly bought a small house in Traverse City, the garage was used as a "warehouse" storing automotive related items. In 1963 their first "real" store opened and Thirlby Automotive was born. During the next 32 years five branch store locations were added throughout Northern Michigan. Ed's son Eddie, and daughter Julie Strait opened four additional locations as they took over total control of the operations in 1995. Ed has since retired, however he remains an "administrative consultant" to the company when needed.


Today, Thirlby Automotive's nine locations represent one of the largest independently owned groups of jobber stores in the state of Michigan. In this age of "big box stores" and huge corporate discount chain stores, Thirlby Automotive is proud to remain a locally owned and family operated company. Through hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, the company continues to grow and remains committed to excellence while serving the communities of Northern Michigan.


The award will be presented during MAPA Industry Day 2016 being held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan by Tim Mulcaster of Auto-Wares Group of Companies.


Created in 2010, the MAPA Lifetime Service Award is presented to an individual by the association. It is designed to honor the excellence of individuals in the industry who have made significant impacts in the industry and/or the association. Qualifying criteria for consideration of MAPA's Lifetime Service Award is recipient must be a Michigan based company, have or have had an extensive career in the automotive aftermarket industry, contributed significantly to the automotive aftermarket industry, and to his/her local community.

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ROY ROSQUIN  -  MAPA Lifetime Service Award

September 16, 2015

(Posthumous Award)






Above: Marshall Rosquin, Dorothy Rosquin and Ken Wendling as Ken presented Roy Rosquin's 2015 MAPA Lifetime Service Award to Dorothy and Marshall during MAPA Industry Day held on September 16, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan.


MAPA's 2015 Lifetime Service Award recipient, Roy Rosquin was honored (Posthumous award) for his involvement in Michigan's automotive aftermarket for over 50 years. Roy and his wife Dorothy opened Marlette Auto Parts, Inc. in 1960. Accepting the award presented by Ken Wendling were Roy's son, Marshall Rosquin and Roy's wife, Dorothy Rosquin.


Ken Wendling shared special stories and memories while honoring his friend and mentor Roy Rosquin. Ken's inspirational and touching memories showed everyone in attendance Roy's committment to his business, his friends, family, customers, employees and to the industry.


Created in 2010, the MAPA Lifetime Service Award is to honor the excellence of individuals in the industry who have made a significant impact in the industry.







Lansing, Michigan - June 10, 2015

The Michigan Automotive Parts Association is proud to announce the selection of Roy Rosquin (Posthumous Award), former owner of Marlette Auto Parts, Inc., Marlette, Michigan as recipient of its 2015 MAPA Lifetime Service Award.


Shared thoughts and memories of Roy provided to MAPA by Ken Wendling;

Roy was a very humble man and public recognition wasn't what made him tick. He would much rather be told "thank you" in private, or be given a firm handshake than any type of public acknowledgement. Roy did not measure people in terms of their financial status but rather he measured their value in terms of their word. He had several guiding principles in life, but he felt strongly on doing what he said he would do and expecting the same from others.


Roy, and wife Dorothy, opened Marlette Auto Parts in 1960. Marlette was a small farming community that had no parts store. That was his motivation for entering the automotive aftermarket and opening a business in a town that certainly needed it. During the ten years prior, Roy worked as a sailor on freighters on the Great Lakes, also known as a merchant marine, providing his country with the needed iron ore from the Upper Peninsula to ports in Detroit, Indiana and Ohio.


The site of the parts store was an old dairy creamery in Marlette. It was a small building at the very start but as the business grew so did the building and the number of employees. In the early 1970's a specific addition quadrupled the store's square footage. Besides having more room for product expansion, room was added for a large machine shop that included a much needed crankshaft grinder, which was used to meet the needs of the automotive and agricultural customers.  As the business grew Roy's agricultural customers asked if along with the machine shop service he would consider getting involved in hydraulic hose building and increase his bearing and belt offering which would help them fix equipment in the fields. Large inventories of many different Ag product lines were added and eventually Roy added bulk oil and antifreeze.


When the Schwann Food Company opened a depot in Marlette, Roy 'volunteered' his sons to be on call during the night, in case the fleet maintenance team needed parts. He told his sons that it was important that the Schwann trucks be "ready to roll in the morning" and that getting up in the middle of the night to chase parts would do them good and build strong character. Presumably there was a direct relationship between Roy getting a good night's sleep and his sons' character development.


Roy had many different type customers some rich; some poor, some that needed a hand when times were tough and Roy gave everyone an equal chance. Deals were between the buyer and Roy. If a deal went sour, Roy would say nothing to the person's friends or family Roy felt it was a life lession learned by both. Many folks got back and forth to work on parts Roy sold that took months and sometimes years to get paid for. If a person could only afford $5.00 a week so be it. Roy never looked at helping a man as a handout, helping a man keep his vehicle or equipment running so that person could feed his family was all Roy needed. With Roy it was always about healthy and happy families.


Roy worked hard, but certainly enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed business relationships and social relationships. He enjoyed a good game of golf and making all the waitresses laugh at his normal lunch spot. Leaving behind scratched off losing instant lottery tickets as a tip was something all the waitresses enjoyed. They knew if they were left an old lottery ticket the tip that was coming their way in the next day or so would be more than generous. It was Roy's quiet way of giving to those that needed it. 


Roy wanted each of his children to have a college degree and that goal was kept. He also wanted his children to go into the world with conviction, kindness and having their word valued and that goal has also been met and kept. And his employee's were like family. Knowing what was going on in the 70's and knowing social security may not be enough income for his employees when they reached retirement age Roy added a pension plan to the many benefits his employees enjoyed. A rare benefit for an employee at a small retail store in a small rural town.


As for giving back to the community, Roy, in silent service, helped civic, church and school groups by donating money, door prizes, and his time but always asked to be kept out of public recognition. Roy served as mentor to many young men and women teaching them about credit, financing, how to deal with happy and sometimes not so happy customers and how to work through any situation. Roy always took time to teach the rookie as well as the veteran employee.


On a personal note Roy was one of the greatest mentors I had as a young man starting out my career as a factory representative. After working a few days on store updates, installer calls and throwing in some product and technical training Roy would always set with me and discuss the events of the week and what he felt went well and what I could work on for improvement to make the next set of calls even better. I credit Roy for helping me become a better rep on every call and guiding me along to the position I hold today with Standard Motor Products.


Roy's wife Dorothy lives in Marlette and his son Dave works for Dana and his son Marshall works for Ford and both have stellar careers. The store is now owned by Auto-Wares but I'm guessing if you gathered up all the residents in Marlette and asked them to tell you their favorite Roy story they wouldn't be able to stop at just one. Roy and Dorothy touched almost every life and every heart in the small town of Marlette.  For all of the reasons listed above and the many, many more I didn't type this is why I've nominated Roy Rosquin for this prestigious award.


Ken Wendling will be presenting Roy's wife Dorothy and sons Dave and Marshall with the 2015 MAPA Lifetime Service Award during MAPA Industry Day 2015 being held on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan as we all honor the wonderful man so many knew and loved, Roy Rosquin.





barryhillBarry Hill
MAPA Lifetime Service Award
September 10, 2014



Honoring Barry’s Involvement in Michigan’s Automotive Aftermarket for Over 55 Years.

Thank You Barry!


Barry Hill

2014 MAPA Lifetime Service Award

(Presented by 2014 MAPA Chairman, Mike Tabaka - September 10, 2014)



Created in 2010, the MAPA Lifetime Service Award is to honor the excellence of individuals in the industry who have made a significant impact in the industry. This year we are proud to present MAPA’s Lifetime Service Award to Barry Hill, Vice-President of Auto-Wares Group of Companies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 


We would like to share with you a little about Barry Hill …


Barry was born in Jackson, Michigan in 1945.


He started working at the age of 13 while going to school at his Father’s & Uncle’s businesses called Tri-State Automotive Warehouse & Hill Piston which began the 3rd generation of Hills in the Automotive Aftermarket. Tri-State & Hill Piston consisted of 1 Warehouse, 13 Stores and a Data Center. 


Upon Graduation from High School, Barry continued his education at Western Michigan University where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business.  While attending College, Barry was also the President of Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity.


Upon Graduation in 1968 - being the son of WWII fighter pilot Bill Hill, Barry enlisted in the Armed Forces and was admitted to Officer Candidate Training School.  Upon completing his training he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army during the height of the Vietnam War.  When asked where he would like to serve he volunteered for Vietnam as an Artillery Forward Observer. He had the responsibility for spotting the enemy and directing offensive fire toward them, calling for more support when his company was under fire and most importantly in those pre-GPS days, making sure the company knew where it was. While serving our country Barry was awarded 2 Bronze Stars.


Upon discharge from the Army in 1971, he returned home to operate one of the family businesses.  He ran the computer center, which did all the processing for the Hill's 13 jobbing stores and warehouse.


Tri-State Automotive Warehouse & Hill Piston was Auto-Wares very 1st Acquisition in 1981.  The data center was merged into the early years of their IT department and when that transition took place, Barry became a WD Salesman for Auto-Wares.  

Sales worked out great for Barry - his business tripled and he became the first recipient of the Salesman of the Year award.  In 1991 he became General Manager & Sales Manager of Coldwater, in 1997 General Operations Manager of Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, Livonia, South Bend and later Madison, Chicago and Gaylord.  In 1997 he became a stockholder, and in 2003 he was named President of Auto-Wares.


Barry has donated his spare time to several organizations including: APW Steering Committee, he served as Chairman of the City of Hillsdale Economic Development Commission, President of the Up North Club, Past President of the Optimist Club of Hillsdale, Past President of the Hillsdale County Community Foundation and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Barry also established the WR Hill Memorial Scholarship for Auto-Wares employees.


Barry’s personal interests include most anything outside, Hunting, Boating, Fishing and Biking.


Barry has set an example for us all to follow both personally and professionally. Everyone who has had the privilege of knowing Barry also knows the warm individual and caring person he is.


Barry currently lives in Hillsdale, has been married for 24 years to his wife Karen; has 2 step children, 4 daughters, and 8 Grand Children.


MAPA would like to thank Barry for his hard work, dedication, and support of our industry – he has represented us all well!


Congratulations Barry, for 55 Years in the Automotive Aftermarket as for receiving the 2014 MAPA Lifetime Service Award.






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