LAS VEGAS – AAPEX 2023 has name Roy Foster of Roy Foster's Automotive in Reno, Nev., as its Shop Owner of the Year, while also awarding Service Advisor of the Year to Greg Damon, general manager, Sparks Tire & Auto in St. Charles, Mo., and Technician of the Year to Michael Miller, master technician at CarMax West Sahara, Las Vegas.
The annual Service and Repair Awards, given during the AAPEX show currently underway this week in Las Vegas, recognize essential services provided by shop owners, service advisors and technicians to keep the motoring public on the road.
Roy Foster's Automotive was founded and named for Foster's father 75 years ago and the younger Foster has led the business since 1994 and continues to build on his father's legacy.
He is an advocate of apprentice programs, judges SkillsUSA competitions and speaks on Autovitals Digital Shop Talk Radio and Remarkable Results Radio Podcast. He coaches youth baseball teams and sponsors the Reno American Little League, Procter Hug High School baseball and Robert McQueen High School baseball.
At the local women's shelter, Foster has teamed up with his local parts suppliers to donate parts, while he provides the labor to keep residents' cars running. Through the Repair Shop for Tomorrow Brakes for Kids program, Foster has helped raise roughly $100,000 in two years for St. Jude Children's Hospital – with nearly $10,000 of that coming from Roy Foster's Automotive.
"Being named AAPEX Shop Owner of the Year is extremely humbling. Having grown up in my father's auto repair shop, I have been committed to the automotive aftermarket all my life, and I'm grateful for the amazing opportunities it continues to provide to grow and give back," Foster said.
"One of the best ways I've been able to do that is through the NAPA Apprentice Program, which benefits the newly trained technicians, the shop owners and the entire industry. It's an honor to further serve the automotive aftermarket as an ambassador for AAPEX and the remarkable support it provides to all of us throughout the industry."
Damon has been in a service advisor role for 25 years and holds nine ASE certifications, plus the ASE C1 Service Consultant certification. He completes 80 hours of training annually and is known for his dedication and determination to help people, according to his company, which added that within the shop, he excels at building relationships and communicating with customers. In the community, he is a youth football coach, assists in organizations at the local schools and hosts the KMOX Auto Show, a national radio show with millions of listeners.
He also started a YouTube series through the shop called, "Tales from the Auto Shop," covering topics going on around the business.
"With so many talented service writers and advisors across the country, it is truly an honor to win this award and represent all others. However, I don't do this alone and am incredibly grateful and proud of the team I work with daily and the support from our owners," said Damon.
Miller's interest in auto repair started in childhood while hanging around his father's shop after school. He has 30 years of experience and is an ASE Master Automotive Technician with L1 certification. Throughout his career, he has held more than 50 ASE certifications.
He is an ASE/AAIA World Class Technician, which includes his name being perpetually inscribed in the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich.
He is a subject matter expert for ASE, helping write test questions for the A1, A6, A8, L1 and L3 tests. He also helped develop the A9 test and the current online ASE recertification AAP. He is a beta tester for Chrysler's wiTECH2 software for the aftermarket, providing feedback on the functionality of the scan tool, which is currently used as the OE tool for Chrysler (Stellantis) vehicles. He spends hundreds of hours each year attending training events and participating in webinars.
"This is a very surreal moment. To be awarded the AAPEX Technician of the Year is extremely humbling since so many of its members have been the ones who have continually inspired and motivated my career," said Miller.
"Each year at the AAPEX trade show, I am amazed and influenced by the vast amount of knowledge and talent of both the individuals who attend and the ones who represent the exhibitors at the show. To receive an award from this preeminent organization is a tremendous honor for which I am immensely grateful."
Nominees for the AAPEX Service and Repair Awards were judged by an independent panel of shop owners and industry leaders. Nominees were evaluated based on their commitment to training and ASE certification; local, community, charitable and industry involvement; diagnostic, teamwork and mentoring skills; and personal and professional qualities.