By Mark A. Phillips, editor, Counterman
MIDLAND, Mich. — The automotive aftermarket is big business, Northwood University President Keith Pretty commented during Thursday’s dedication of the Sloan Family Building for Aftermarket Studies. “In fact, it’s very big business,” he said, adding the industry’s annual revenues are approaching $300 billion. “This is bigger than the gross national product of many nations around the globe.”
And Northwood is an integral part of the equation to help keep the economic engine of the automotive aftermarket humming along, Pretty believes.
Thursday’s unveiling of the Sloan building in Midland, MI, comes just 14 months after ground was broken. “Today, we’re celebrating a dream that’s come true,” Pretty told the industry leaders and other guests seated just outside the building.
“We’re celebrating the partnership between Northwood University and this dynamic industry. We know we’re here today, thanks for the vision of the leaders of the aftermarket industry. These leaders and visionaries joined together to support Northwood University , our faculty, our administration and especially our students.”
The Sloan Family Building for Aftermarket Studies is named in honor of O. Temple Sloan, Jr., founder of General Parts International, Inc. (GPI) and CARQUEST, his brother, C. Hamilton Sloan, an early partner in GPI, and their family members.
Construction began in March 2007 on what is now a 25,500 square-foot state-of-the-art education center. “The building we stand before today provides a home for university-level training for automotive aftermarket programs,” Pretty said. “And it’s right here that future leaders of this very important industry are going to get their education so they can lead the industry through this significant change that we know is coming ahead.”
The Sloan family and the employees of GPI and CARQUEST are responsible for just more than half of the $6 million needed to construction the building, according to the university.
“Congratulations to Northwood University and President Pretty on a job well done,” said Temple Sloan III. “This is truly a tribute to Northwood University and it’s a tribute to the aftermarket industry to see so many fine suppliers and distributors come together for a worthy cause and support an institution that has provided so much to our industry. This is our way for our industry to say thank you to Northwood University.
Pretty thanked the Sloan family for their donation. “Thank you Temple ,” Pretty said. “Thanks to you and your parents and aunts and uncles and your entire family for your generosity and commitment to our students, faculty and this facility.”
Highlights of the building include:
*A 3,600 square-foot atrium that serves as a focal point of the facility and was designed for large group gatherings
*Four tiered classrooms with seating capacities of 60 students per classroom on both the lower and upper levels
*Three traditional classrooms that accommodate 40 students, each on both the lower and upper levels
*An alumni lounge with a fireplace and a comfortable setting for small meetings and entertaining
*Conference room with seating for 10
*Six faculty offices
*A faculty reception area
*A two-story graduate-school-style auditorium with seating for 150 and the latest technology is located on the lower level, with access from both levels
*Traditional student lounge on the second level
*Executive boardroom complete with multi-media and seating for 20
*Two executive offices and reception area on the upper level.