VIPAR Heavy Duty kicks off IMPACT Conference with organizational update

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Updated Oct 17, 2023
VIPAR Heavy Duty leadership team discussion
Members of VIPAR Heavy Duty's leadership team speak Monday at the organization's general session during the 2023 IMPACT Conference in Marco Island, Fla.
VIPAR Heavy Duty

VIPAR Heavy Duty formally kicked off its 2023 IMPACT Conference in Marco Island, Fla., on Monday. 

VIPAR Heavy Duty Chairman and President of PBS Truck Parts Bill Nolan led off the general session, setting the tone with a summary of the substantial group growth, both in shareholders and financial performance, as well as the strategic addition of key supplier partners. He mentioned while the entire VIPAR Heavy Duty group is focused on growth and profitability, “all of our businesses are unique, but there’s one thing we have in common — our commitment to customer service.”

VIPAR Heavy Duty President and CEO Chris Baer addressed the audience with a look at the group’s past, present and future. Reviewing the last 20 years of VIPAR Heavy Duty initiatives, he highlighted successes such as the acquisition of Power Heavy Duty, expansion into Mexico and the creation of CoMan Centers, the company’s manufacturing division. 

Baer said the company is now focused on refining existing programs and services to “continue increasing True Group Value and making sure we are being as effective as possible for our distributors and suppliers.” Adding new buying programs, enhancing existing ones and bolstering and growing technology and training services are among the company’s ongoing priority projects.

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The morning meeting included a panel discussion with VIPAR Heavy Duty’s leadership team. The panel fielded questions ranging from eCommerce platforms to cybersecurity, and from new manufacturing technologies to succession planning.

Wendi Frederick, director of business resources for VIPAR Heavy Duty, said helping distributors with succession planning and ownership transitioning remains an important support area. “We've helped between 15 and 20 distributors through successful transitions,” Frederick said.

Succession planning was also the topic of a distributor panel with five current or former business owners sharing their stories and providing advice on how to do it successfully. While each panelist’s story was unique, the consensus was it’s never too early to start planning.

Closing out the session, Lisa Foshee, senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel with the Auto Care Association, provided an update on the right to repair. The REPAIR Act currently has 42 bi-partisan House co-sponsors and the association is working to get a bill introduced into the Senate. Noting the importance of the issue to the independent aftermarket, she encouraged all attendees to show their support through their local representatives.

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