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Southern California Service Center Owner Named NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year

ATLANTA, Jan. 2 -- Jim Piraino achieved the personal and company goal of having his Camarillo Car Care Center recognized by customers, vendors and employees as a premier automotive service facility when he was named the NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year for 2002.

The owner of the Camarillo, California, service and repair shop, Piraino was selected for the prestigious industry honor for demonstrating superior technical skills and business practices, showing a commitment to customer service and training, supporting the community in which his business operates, and demonstrating outstanding service to the automotive repair and maintenance industry.

Presented annually by NAPA AUTO PARTS and the ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), the Technician of the Year award is determined by a judging panel of former winners, automotive trade media, and the president of the ASE. Piraino had been a finalist for the award in each of the last five years.

``It is a pleasure to honor Jim Piraino with this year's award and to recognize the customer service philosophy he and his Camarillo Car Care team embody,'' said Steve Handschuh, president of NAPA. ``Putting customers first by investing in top-flight people and first-class training is something all of us at NAPA believe in and are proud to celebrate.''

In more than 15 years as an automotive technician and service center owner and operator, Piraino has demonstrated the same commitment to education and training for himself and his employees as he has to customer service. A member of the NAPA AutoCare program, he employs six ASE-Certified Master Technicians.

``In our business plan, we set the goal of being recognized as the premier service facility in our community,'' said Piraino. ``Being recognized as the best in the nation was beyond my wildest dreams. It's a tremendous honor and something we will take a great deal of pride in as we represent NAPA and ASE in 2002.''

Piraino will receive more than $30,000 in prizes in recognition of his accomplishment, including NAPA tools and equipment, additional fully paid training from the NAPA Institute of Automotive Technology, a NAPA TRACS computer system for his shop, and a commemorative plaque and ring.

ASE is a 29-year-old not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. The organization also communicates its message to consumers, the news media and other publics to promote informed decision making when seeking automotive repairs.