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.
Bunting is a third generation auto parts professional 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 salesman. 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. He has started, built and today owns 14 major automotive aftermarket companies and more than 180 retail/wholesale auto parts stores in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. Auto-Wares services 500-plus auto parts stores daily. The company has more than 300 Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper stores, and 700-plus Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Certified Service Centers. Auto-Wares currently employs more than 2,100 top notch service oriented professionals and over the years has created jobs for more than 10,000 people.
Bunting has put an overwhelming effort into training, sponsoring Tech Expo training for 20 years, which has resulted in filling 50,000 tech training seats. Organizing local regional training events in five states as resulted in 6,000-plus more training seats filled. He has won the national accolade Head of the Class award for training his own employees. Bunting’s other awards include: Northwood Automotive Aftermarket Education, Auto Value Man of the Year, Art Fisher Scholarship (technician training), Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education award, MAAP (Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional), Jack Creamer AWDA Automotive Aftermarket Leader of the Year award in 2016. He also is involved and supports multiple charities to help others in the community and world.
He has been in the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper national program group for 40 years, and has been on its board of directors for 34 years. He has served on the AWDA board of governors and has been a member of AWDA for 40-plus years as well. He has been a proud member of his state jobber association MAPA for 40-plus years. Bunting 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. Bunting has a total passion for the automotive aftermarket business.
The MAPA Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Bunting during MAPA Industry Day 2018 on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint, Michigan.
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; 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.