More than 2,400 manufacturers and suppliers flocked to Las Vegas this year for the 2015 AAPEX Show. But before the attention turned to new products and new technologies, the event organizers took a moment to honor an industry legend.
During the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) Opening General Session, SMP Chairman and CEO Larry Sills was presented with its most prestigious honor, the Jack Creamer Leader of the Year Award. Renamed this year in honor of the late Jack Creamer, the award is presented annually to an aftermarket professional whose industry contributions are as unique as they are significant. Last year’s honoree, Joe Pomaranski, Tenneco’s Vice President and General Manager, North America Aftermarket, presented the award to Larry.
Larry was recognized for his commitment to the future and his closeness with employees. Regarding the latter, Larry makes a yearly voyage to each of SMP’s 20 locations—including those in Europe and Asia—to speak with every employee on every shift, in an effort to stay close to what’s happening at the company and in the industry.
In addition to the prestigious award, Larry received high praise from several industry executives:
The award is a fitting cap to a remarkable career that has spanned nearly three decades. Last week, Sills announced that he would retire as SMP’s Chairman and CEO in the spring and become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. His son and SMP President, Eric Sills, who joined him at the awards ceremony podium, will replace him as CEO.