By SEMA Editors
The Aftermarket Foundation’s Executive Committee has hired Joel Ayres as the its first-ever executive director. An industry veteran of more than 30 years, Ayres was most recently vice president of sales and marketing for TAKIT Inc. of Medford, Oregon.
In announcing the hiring of Ayres, Foundation Chairman Bob Hirsch commented, “The Foundation could not be more pleased than to have someone of Joel’s caliber lead us into the next phase of our journey providing care and financial assistance to industry people affected by hardship. The need for our services has never been greater, and this is the first time in our nearly 60-year history that we’ve had a full-time director solely dedicated to enabling us to help more people and drive more giving. This is an exciting time indeed.”
Until now, the Foundation has been led by a voluntary board of industry dignitary, with various leaders holding the chairman’s position throughout its history. Ayres’ hiring was the culmination of an exhaustive search to find a leader that possessed a broad-scale network of industry contacts and had the philanthropic experience necessary to manage the intensity of giving that the Foundation initiates and oversees.
“As soon as I became aware of this position, I felt it was my calling,” Ayres said. “All my life I’ve had a passion for the automotive aftermarket and for charitable efforts, and this was a chance to combine the two. I’m honored the Foundation chose me as their first, full-time executive director, and are entrusting me to lead our philanthropic efforts and expand our reach and help more people. The need is great.”
In addition to his prolific aftermarket career, which he began at an early age, Ayres’ work in charity is equally impressive. From co-founding the start of the Big Brothers chapter in Northeastern Indiana and being a Big Brothers volunteer, to being a volunteer at the Adam Petty Victory Junction camp, to co-founding and serving as the first chairman of SEMA Cares, Ayres has a long resume of charitable activism. Along the way, Ayres has also been named the SEMA Person of the Year, has been recognized by Trucking Times magazine for his significant contributions to the truck accessory market and was given an award by HeartGallery of Sacramento for his tireless work contributing to adoptions.
Ayres began his new role March 2.