The 2009 YEN Vanguard award was presented to Chris Thomson (right) in recognition of his actions, mentoring, vision and contributions to young executives within the automotive specialty-equipment industry. YEN Chairman Gregory Parker (left) and Chair-Elect Lee McGuire presented the award.
“This year’s YEN reception was one for the ages,” said Gregory Parker, YEN Chairman. “We were a little nervous about moving the reception to the Renaissance hotel after having it at the Hilton for so many years previously. Looking back on it now, we had absolutely nothing to worry about. Our members came out in huge numbers to show their support for YEN. The networking opportunities for our members were fabulous, and I think our event has found a new home for the foreseeable future.”
A highlight of the reception, held Tuesday, November 3, was the presentation of the two YEN awards, the Vanguard and the Young Executive of the Year. Nominees are selected and voted on by the YEN general membership.
The YEN Vanguard award is presented to an individual, business, organization or sanctioning body that has influenced the professional growth and the cultivation of talent for young executives through actions, mentoring, visions and contributions for the past, present and future. This year, the Vanguard was given to Chris Thomson of Airaid Filters.
“The Vanguard Award is a great honor because it is from the movers and shakers of our industry, the Young Executives Network,” said Thomson. “The list of previous honorees is comprised of many of the people who mentored me along the way, and it is awesome to be recognized along with them. Time spent with YEN and its membership gives me a clear view of the issues and needs facing the youth of our industry.”
The Young Executive of the Year award is presented to an individual who has had a positive impact on the industry. The recipient of the award must be a member of YEN and have demonstrated exceptional service, integrity, professional growth and business ethics throughout the last 12 months. The 2009 Young Executive of the Year award was given to Lee McGuire of Skyjacker Suspensions.
“It was a huge surprise and such a great honor to win Young Executive of the Year,” McGuire said. “All of the nominees were so deserving, and I was proud to be included with them. To win was more than I could imagine, and I am so grateful for being chosen.”
In addition to the reception, YEN Select Committee members gathered for their annual Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting. The group discussed ways to reach out to current and potential YEN members and to provide essential tools to assist individuals as they further their careers in the aftermarket industry.
“Last year was our first-ever LRP,” said Parker. “We learned a lot about how to effectively plan for the future during that meeting. This year, however, we decided to add an education element to the event. We all learned more about our strengths and weaknesses as communicators and how we can more effectively work together as a team. We also planned our upcoming year’s programs. I want to thank all of our volunteer Select Committee members for taking time out of their busy SEMA Show week schedule to attend the event.”
Lee McGuire (left), YEN chair-elect, was honored with the YEN Young Executive of the Year award for 2009. Laurel Dasher, former YEN chairman, presented the plaque at the YEN reception, held in conjunction with the 2009 SEMA Show.