I am honored to serve as the chairman of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. Following in the footsteps of so many tremendous leaders and working with an outstanding Board of Trustees, my hope is to contribute to the remarkable progress the foundation has made to date.
The automotive aftermarket is a very large and significant industry at $380 billion in the U.S. alone. Employing 4.6 million people at over 550,000 businesses, the aftermarket is larger in size than the federal government, architecture, entertainment, sports, media and legal industries. The University of the Aftermarket Foundation plays an important role in this dynamic industry by funding scholarships and educational grants that attract talented individuals and aid them so they can maximize their career potential in the aftermarket.
The challenge we face, both as an industry and a nation, is the cost of post-secondary education and the overwhelming amount of outstanding student debt. Three-quarters of all college graduates have taken on significant debt to advance their education. In fact, student loan debt has reached $1.3 trillion dollars and is ranked second in the consumer debt category behind mortgage debt, exceeding credit card debt and auto loans. This makes the mission of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation even more critical.
Since its inception in 1986, the University of the Aftermarket Foundation has awarded millions of dollars of scholarships. In 2017 alone, 344 scholarships were awarded totaling $481,350. While the foundation has realized consistent growth, it has experienced even greater progress with the formation of committees to address marketing, scholarships, grants and contributions.
Each committee is made up of industry leaders volunteering their time as stewards of the foundation. The committees have established focused goals and are working to leverage technology to attract more qualified scholarships candidates, process and review scholarship and grant applications, and facilitate the contributions process.
As you review this brochure and the lists of donors within, including the honor roll of frequent donors, new donors and AWDA Challenge participants, please keep in mind that these are the organizations and individuals who make the foundation’s work possible. Without them, and the industry leaders who volunteer their time to serve on the Board of Trustees, the foundation’s corpus would not have grown two-fold in recent years. We can’t thank them enough.
I ask you to reflect on your own career and what this industry has meant to you, and please consider a contribution to the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. With your help, we can pave the way for the future and leave an indelible mark on the leaders of tomorrow.
Bob Egan, MAAP
Chairman, University of the Aftermarket Foundation