2016 has certainly been a surprising and interesting year for most Americans. Challenges and hurdles await us as we forge new relationships to better deal with a changing and often frightening world. With perseverance and commitment, we will surely make our America a better place for all.
It is in that spirit of American determination that we look forward to 2017 and our hope for a successful and compassionate path for the Foundation. We could not be more proud of the fact that we awarded over $400,000 in scholarship grants last year. We touched the lives of so many young people in a positive way. Veterans, disabled warriors, high achievers, late starters (with less than 2.5 GPA), women, men and other deserving students across America from diverse backgrounds and schools benefitted from the generosity of YOUR Foundation.
Our accomplished goals were much broader and loftier this year due to, in large part, the union of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF). The collective vision of Mort Schwartz, Peter Komafel and Denny Welvaert facilitated a myriad of assets being transferred to UAF. We now have a cogent data program to assist us in facilitating scholarship awards. We have funds committed by GAAS to help defray software demands for modernization including several websites and internet portals. But more than all of the financial bounty from such a union, allowing us to advance our commitment to scholarships and fund the developmental costs for educational efforts throughout the aftermarket, the ability to garner the leadership support of such notable industry icons serves to strengthen the Foundation’s vision and dedication for the benefit of future generations. The new UAF, formed from the union with GAAS, provides the entire aftermarket with the promise of hope and support for the newest members of the industry we love. What could be better?
So we look to the future for the funding of more scholarships and the support for more education. While we mourn the tragic passing of our own Ed Rammel, chairman of the UAF Education Committee, his company, Dayco Products (already a Lifetime Trustee), has committed another $100,000 to the UAF in his name. Much of this generous contribution will go to the general fund for investments that will ensure future earnings for scholarship disbursement and a sizeable portion will be allocated immediately to scholarships in Ed’s name. This tragedy serves to illustrate how surviving loved ones and admiring co-workers can pay tribute to a fallen family member or professional compatriot by making a contribution of any size to the Foundation in their memory. All of us who sincerely care for the future of the aftermarket can help attract the brightest, best and most devout to our industry with support for the UAF. As we look to the coming year with new promise, let us look forward with hope and optimism as our many projects are planned to advance participation in our industry by tomorrow’s leaders.
Please search the future, search your heart and search your personal commitment to our great industry and find one more means of giving. The future depends upon you.
Tim Lee, MAAP
Chairman, University of the Aftermarket Foundation