As the sole shareholder and President of Lordco Auto Parts, Ed Coates has been the key figure behind a succession of creative and successful expansions that have made the 90-plus store Lordco chain a force in the automotive aftermarket in Western Canada. Coates’ leadership and innovative business thinking make him an ideal recipient for this award. The award will be presented during the 2011 AIA Aftermarket Conference for Executives being held April 20 at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, Ont.. Under Coates’ leadership, Lordco has become the largest privately held independent auto parts distributor in Canada. He has been intimately involved in the day to day operations of the company for the past 37 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Although he has been an integral part of the company’s success every step of the way, he is very quick to give credit to his large team of committed Lordco staffers, many of whom have been with the company almost since the beginning. His positive attitude permeates throughout his organization. With very real career path programs and incentives to reward staff, a number of employees have been able to change positions and fulfill their career paths within Lordco. This is due to the fact that everything, from marketing to maintenance, from store construction to machining, travel to trade shows, is handled in-house. A long list of incentives is part of Coates philosophy to empower staff to make decisions. Always adaptive and forward thinking, he ensures that Lordco is able to adapt quickly to challenges and opportunities. He and his wife Marlyn have four children working in the business, and extended family that reaches to every corner of the company. But he also considers family to include the many long time employees. Ed Coates has been a supporter of many industry and community projects over the years. His personal support for a number of causes reflects the corporate values that Lordco has become well-known for throughout the industry. The AIA Distinguished Service Award is presented in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding leadership given to the growth and development of Canada’s automotive aftermarket industry. It is the highest award presented by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada to an outstanding individual within the Association membership. Criteria for the award include outstanding leadership, community service, and personal contribution to the growth and progress of the aftermarket industry.