TIA Honors VAA's Steve Akridge With Leadership Award

April 25, 2023

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) honored Steve Akridge, longtime executive director of the Virginia Automotive Association (VAA), at the VAA's recent convention in Williamsburg, Va.

The event took place April 21-22.

Akridge, who is retiring from his post, received TIA's Excellence in Association Leadership Award.

The VAA also honored Akridge by bringing in three speakers, who discussed his 33-year career as executive director during the event.

In addition, 13 past presidents of the VAA attended.

The convention also featured an opening keynote by Kelley Earnhardt Miller, daughter of late NASCAR racing legend and champion Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Miller spoke about her book, “Drive: Drive: 9 Lessons To Win In Business And In Life,” and the lessons she learned in helping her brother, Dale Jr, translate into automotive business ownership.

Key points highlighted by Miller were authenticity and approachability, knowing when to let go, firing a family member, pivoting, communication, aiming for win-win solutions and leading from the heart.

Hunt Demarest, managing partner at Paar, Melis & Associates, led a finance class following Miller’s keynote where he encouraged shop owners to make sound financial choices during this economic downturn. He also offered repair shop owners methods to leverage tax benefits to provide perks to their employees.

Dan Malloy, founder of Malloy Business Development, also shared stories of communication and commitment in business.

In addition to Akridge, the VAA honored the following people for their service to the association and contribution to the the industry:

  • Del. Kim Taylor for her service to the VAA board of directors and work on HB 1677, which ended unfair taxation on roadside service and diagnostic labor;
  • Jerry Tatum, a key member since 1976, was given the VAA Distinguished Member Award, the association's highest honor, and;
  • Chris Barnett,  past president of VAA and a board member for 25 years, for his work in guiding the VAA through the pandemic. He also was awarded the VAA's past president captain's chair.

 Bo Keeney was named the new VAA executive director and will succeed Akridge.  

The VAA event also included a large trade show and golf tournament.