Art Fisher Award for Excellence in Education

Art Fisher Award for Excellence in Education

This annual award, presented in memory of former AWDA Chairman Art Fisher, recognizes a company or individual for their leadership and commitment to education and training, either within their own organization or throughout the industry. Winners will be drawn from traditional industry participants including jobbers, distributors, repair shops or manufacturers. Funds from the Art Fisher Scholarship program shall be presented in the name of the award winner(s) to two undergraduate students enrolled in the automotive aftermarket management program at Northwood University, Midland, MI. Award winners need not be AWDA members.


Bobby Bassett
Bobby Bassett, retired National Training Manager, Gates Corp.

The Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), a community of the Auto Care Association, presented the 2020 Excellence in Education Award, in Honor of Art Fisher, to Bobby Bassett, recently retired from his position as National Training Manager, North America for the Gates Corp. The award was announced on November 16 during AWDA's 2020 Virtual Annual Conference by Sue Godschalk, President, Federated Auto Parts Distributors.

AWDA’s Excellence in Education Award is presented annually to an aftermarket company or individual that demonstrates outstanding commitment to education and training, either within their organization or throughout the industry. Given in memory of former AWDA Chairman Art Fisher, the award grants scholarships in the name of the award winner to two students enrolled in the automotive aftermarket management program at Northwood University.

Bobby Bassett began his career in the motor vehicle aftermarket in 1978, and for 22 years was in charge of customer training in both the automotive and heavy-duty markets. In his capacity as National Training Manager, Bassett was the administrator of Gates' "Tools for Schools" and Performance Center eLearning platforms. He was a skilled and relentless educator and a familiar figure to countless aftermarket professionals including technicians and High School/Community College automotive programs and customers.

Dave Miller, Gates Corp. said, "Bobby has done a great job of drawing in all parts of the industry, not only warehouses, jobbers and installers, but also institutions with teachers and students."

Added Norman Scott, Pittsburgh State University, "Bobby Bassett changed the automotive industry and the way we look at belts, accessories and tensioners. Because of him, we now know the proper procedures for servicing these items."

Bassett has always believed volunteer involvement is a key to the health of the motor vehicle aftermarket. He currently serves as Chair of the ASE Board of Directors and is a past member of the Technical Committee of SkillsUSA Automotive Service Technology. Bassett was a member of the TMC SuperTech Technical committee, Past-Chair of the Automotive Training Managers Council; Past-Chair, NACAT Foundation; and Past Co-Chair, Auto Care Association Education Committee.

In addition to AWDA's Excellence in Education Award, Bassett's other industry awards include: Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education - 2014 and Northwood University's Auto Aftermarket Management Education Award - 2013.

Mike Mohler, Automotive Parts and Services Group, stated, "We as an industry will be enjoying the fruits of Bobby Bassett's labor and the seeds that he has sewn for generations to come."

Previous Award Recipients
  • 2019 The Group Training Academy
  • 2018 Standard Motor Products
  • 2017 NAPA/Genuine Parts
  • 2016 Cliff Hovis
  • 2015 Tim Sturdevant
  • 2014 David Wesselman
  • 2013 James A. Tennant, AAP
  • 2012 Pete Kornafel
  • 2011 Steve Hoellein
  • 2010 John N. Castle
  • 2009 Federal-Mogul Corp. Technical Education Center
  • 2008 David Caracci
  • 2007 Fred Bunting
  • 2006 KYB America
  • 2005 Larry Sills
  • 2004 Richard Beirne and Ron Levene
  • 2003 MEMA
  • 2002 Art Fisher
  • 2001 Ted Wise, AAP
  • 2000 Chuck Udell, AAP
  • 1999 Marc Gelfand, AAP
  • 1998 Raymond Walker, AAP
  • 1997 Louis A. Zuanich, AAP
  • 1996 Tim Lee, AAP
  • 1995 Annie Kornafel, AAP
  • 1994 Bill Kuykendall, MAAP
  • 1993 Gary Kremer, AAP
  • 1993 Clay Buzzard, AAP
  • 1992 Aaron Berkowitz
  • 1991 N. Arthur Epstein, AAP*
  • 1990 Kenneth D. Walker, AAP
  • 1989 Robert H. Raff, MAAP
  • 1988 Jay L. Love
  • 1987 Raymond P. Peck
  • 1986 Larry Anton
  • 1985 Donald E. Edelmann
  • 1984 C. Hamilton Sloan
  • 1983 James L. Fine
  • 1982 Frederic S. Kotcher
  • 1981 Peter R. Kornafel, MAAP
  • 1980 Robert L. Sirotek, AAP
  • 1979 Emil G. Stanley*
  • 1978 Richard B. Black
  • 1977 O. Temple Sloan
  • 1976 Charles N. Gaskill, AAP*
  • 1975 Mort Schwartz, AAP
  • 1974 Dunbar Abston Jr.
  • 1973 Martin G. Brown
  • 1972 Sam Nakis
  • 1971 Herbert Lipton
  • 1970 R. Jack Alexander Jr.
  • 1969 S.G. Puryear
  • 1968 Frank Norfleet
  • 1967 Harry D. Rothman*
  • 1966 Ran P. Hall

The AWDA Memorial Scholarship Award was preceded by the Ernest A. Tapp Memorial Award. The recipients of this award are:

  • 1965 John M. Yantis
  • 1964 Bernard Bock
  • 1963 Paul Livoni
  • 1962 A.P. Walter
  • 1961 Jack F. Whitaker
  • 1960 Thomas S. Perry, AAP