Bumper to Bumper recently hosted its 2016 Bridge to Excellence Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. More than 500 people were in attendance, including 392 employees representing 163 stores from Crow-Burlingame, Parts Warehouse Inc. and Replacement Parts Inc.; 160 vendors from more than 80 different companies; 27 independent jobbers; and six representatives from Car Dealer Parts.
As Elizabeth Estes, director of training at Replacement Parts Inc. and chairman of the Conference Committee, commented, “There is incredible value in bringing together our company employees, independent customers and channel partners in terms of training, personal development and making contacts in our industry. It’s equally important for us to perpetuate our company culture by reuniting old friends and welcoming new managers into our close-knit team.”
The conference opened with remarks by E. Fletcher Lord, chairman of the board of Replacement Parts Inc.: “The next 100 years are in your hands,” he said. “It is up to you to nurture the folks we have coming along. The next generation is being raised now. They are the ones who will carry us to new levels of success.”
During the event, participants had a chance to attend classes presented by in-house experts, as well as vendors such as Gates, Spectra Premium, Standard, Four Seasons, Shur Trak, Monroe, Dorman, Mobil 1, Philips, Duplicolor, Evercoat, Axalta, 3M, Armstrong and Forney.
A highlight of the event was the naming of the 2016 President’s Council. As Bill Schlatterer, president and CEO of Replacement Parts Inc., noted, “These winners come from small markets and big markets, metro and farm, from North to South and East to West … They took common tools and materials and used them in uncommon ways. They didn’t just travel the road; they built their own bridge to success.”
The conference ended with a gala dinner that included a presentation of vendor awards as well as vehicle giveaways, including a Chevrolet Silverado and a Ford Focus. Schlatterer closed by reminding his team that success has always depended on their ability to work together. “Three years from today, we will celebrate 100 years together, with the best still yet to come. Our tradition carries us forward with the younger generation and the older generation — the dark hairs and the grey hairs — working together, building the bridge to our next 100 years.”