AARO AGM highlighted the significant progress made over the last 12 months and exciting initiatives on the horizon.
On March 29, the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) hosted its 2022 annual general meeting. Although presented in virtual format, the meeting did cover some important developments regarding the association as well as upcoming events and announcements.
Going forward, the AARO Executive will continue with Eric Mileham as Board Chair, Bruce Eccles as Vice-Chair, Jamie Holmes as Secretary/Treasurer, and Rudy Graf as Past Chair.
Directors will include Mike Adema, Rick Callaghan, Emily Chung, John Cochrane, Darryl Croft, Tamara Ghosn, Steve Gushie, and Mark Lemay, with Diane Freeman in the role of Executive Director.
AARO Board Chair Eric Mileham, kicked things off, discussing the many hours of technical training that have been partially paid for by the COJGB funding program managed by AARO. This initiative, which resulted from the 2021 AGM, provides both technicians and front office/counter staff with the ability to get the training they need with government funding assistance.
Mileham also noted that other initiatives have included the formation of several committees to help the association move forward with some of its key objectives. “We also changed AARO’s mission statement to better reflect more modern goals,” stated Mileham.
That mission statement is:
We are an action-oriented not-for-profit association passionate about uniting the independent automotive aftermarket to address industry challenges. We are a solutions-based organization, resolving current and emerging issues affecting our profession. We are the resource for industry information and training, consumer education, and your representation in government relations.
AARO’s vision statement has also been updated to reflect changing times and is now:
The leading advocate for independent automotive service professionals.
AARO’s Executive Director, Diane Freeman, said that as part of the association’s initiative to provide valuable information, training, and programs—through AARO’s partnership with Tire Discounter Group—association members have purchased more than $3 million worth of tires over the last two years. Additionally, through partnerships with other organizations including CARQUEST and WORLDPAC, AARO continues to add value to its members.
Other developments include the launch of a new website (AARO.ca) later this spring, as well as a range of upcoming events, including Fleet Day (June 16) as well as a classic car show in the summer, plus AARO’s symposium, trade show, and Lindertech Technical Training event taking place from September 21-24.
Additionally, Freeman noted that AARO continues to apply for funding to bring quality technician and apprentice training to its members at a nominal cost. “Our focus this year has been on hybrid and electric vehicles,” explained Freeman, noting that current industry predictions show that by 2025, one in three vehicles sold in Canada will be electric. By preparing technicians now for this potential surge, AARO’s members and the independent service repair sector can be well-positioned to deal with the demand for servicing and maintaining these types of vehicles.
Freeman also stressed the importance of growing and expanding AARO’s membership base so it can continue to be a leading light in representing the interests of independent automotive service providers, while at the same time, helping secure the future of the aftermarket industry.