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AAPEX slates scholarship drive for GAAS

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LAS VEGAS (July 29, 2014) — The backers of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) have postponed the 2015 event, but the organizers of the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) are planning an event at this year’s expo to raise funds for the GAAS’s scholarship fund.

AAPEX promoters Auto Care Association (ACA) and Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) plan to provide a “fund-raising platform for AAPEX to make a donation for scholarships” during the expo’s general session the morning of Nov. 5. The event will supplant temporarily fundraising efforts traditionally generated by the GAAS.

Funds raised will be donated to the University of the Aftermarket Foundation on behalf of the GAAS, according to the ACA and AASA.

The organizers of the GAAS did not disclose their reasons for postponing the 2015 event, which tentatively had been scheduled for May in Chicago. The GAAS has been held annually in that city since 1990.

In a blog posting on the ACA’s website, ACA President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz said the GAAS board’s decision to take a year off “to assess the needs of industry executives, evaluating the event’s purpose, format, location and duration is sound business practice. Whatever the outcome, the future of GAAS will be based on the facts.”

The AAPEX promoters said the new general session will replace two traditional events: the Town Hall breakfast, hosted by the ACA, and the Executive Breakfast hosted by the AASA—the light aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

AAPEX runs Nov. 4 through Nov. 6 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

Keynote speaker for the general session will be Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, and author of: Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy and What We Can Do About It.

“While the new general session is free of charge to all AAPEX attendees, we will offer special sponsorship opportunities such as VIP seating and a special breakfast with Steve Forbes and book signing to raise scholarship funds,” Ms. Schmatz said.

“Not only are we being sensitive to industry executives’ time constraints by creating a single event, we will be able to generate money for scholarships.”

The GAAS was founded on the premise of “bringing together the leaders of the industry for a world-class educational and networking event,” according to the event’s website.

This past year the GAAS awarded $288,000 in scholarships to 256 individuals.

The GAAS scholarship program is a joint professional education effort of the of the Alliance of State Automotive Aftermarket Associations (ASAAA); ACA; Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA); Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada; Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association (APRA); Automotive Service Association (ASA); Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA); Motorist Assurance Program (MAP); Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA); and Specialty Equipment Market Association; Tire Industry Association (TIA); and University of the Aftermarket.

For more information on the GAAS scholarship program, visit its website.

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