Auto Parts Central, an 11-branch auto parts wholesaling operation headquartered in Thunder Bay, Ont., has been named the 2008 Jobber News Jobber of the Year. Formally named the E.J. and A.E. Wadham Memorial Award in memory of the founders of Jobber News 75 years ago, the “Jobber of the Year Award” is a lifetime achievement award that recognizes those auto parts wholesalers who epitomize the values held by the aftermarket in Canada. Throughout the years, each recipient has demonstrated the highest level of achievement in business, been key participants in the industry, and showed commitment to the type of community involvement that has become an integral part of this industry’s role within the Canadian social fabric. Wayne Maunula, owner of the operation, says that credit for the award should be strongly directed at the team of professionals who work every day in the business. “I run this a little different from many traditional businesses,” says Maunula, adding that with an industrial supply business under the Central Canada Industries parent as well as the Auto Parts Central business, much of the success has to be credited to the staff. “Our staff is really the people who make the business work. I have only been in the automotive business for 15 years, and never worked on the counter or as a driver or in sales.” And while he soft pedals the impact his leadership has had on the organization–he lists a long line of valued employees that he declares are among the best in the business (the business is also home to the first Jobber News Counterperson of the Year recipient, Rob Grabowski, who was named to the honour in 2006)–he does admit that there may be some leadership at play. Today Auto Parts Central operates 11 branches in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Winnpeg, Brandon, and Melita as part of the Uni-Select and Bumper to Bumper distribution programs, with the furthest being an 11 hour drive from Thunder Bay. Maunula says that that fact makes having highly effective teams at each store necessary. “I think that goes back to having our managers deal with their local markets and their customers. And, if there is a positive impression of our business, it is because of their attitude and work. It’s not just Wayne in Thunder Bay.” A full profile of the Auto Parts Central operation will be featured in the August issue of Jobber News Magazine.