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Major Staff Changes at ASE


ASE President and CEO Tim Zilke and Senior Vice President of Communications Trish Serratore have announced their plans to retire on Dec. 31, 2023.

Zilke joined the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in 1991 and was promoted to president and CEO in 2008. Serratore joined ASE in 1988 and was promoted to senior vice president of communications in 2008. She served six years as president of the ASE Education Foundation from 2012 to 2017, before rejoining ASE as senior vice president.

During the past 16 years of Zilke and Serratore’s tenure, ASE has evolved significantly, defining standards and certification to better serve technicians, transportation service providers and the motoring public. A major accomplishment was the transition from paper and pencil to computer-based testing. This advancement increased the availability of professional testing from six nights per year to year-round, enabling the addition of 11 new ASE certifications. More recently, the ASE Renewal App was introduced in 2020 and last year Pro-Proctor remote testing was launched, offering alternatives to help automotive service professionals remain certified. More recently, ASE proactively responded to evolving vehicle technologies and the rapid introduction of electric vehicles with an Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) test and the rollout of Electric Vehicle Safety certifications for all transportation industry personnel, including advanced levels for technicians.

ASE has also introduced various levels of credentials supporting a changing workforce. The ASE Entry Level tests have soared in popularity with Zilke’s guidance. ASE also assumed management of the Automotive Youth Education Systems (AYES) organization in 2009, and in 2018 merged AYES with the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) to form the ASE Education Foundation. In 2018, the Automotive Training Managers Council was rebranded as the ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC). ASE, ASE Education Foundation and ATMC have all been aligned to support the career cycle of technicians from initial education through lifelong learning.

“The ASE board is overwhelmed with gratitude for Tim Zilke building an impactful organization. He has led ASE through good times in our industry, and challenging ones, with unwavering enthusiasm and commitment. Under his leadership, ASE has evolved, grown and introduced many new initiatives to support technicians, service repair business, education and our industry overall,” said Homer Hogg, ASE chair and vice president, Truck Service, Travel Centers of America.

“The industry will also miss Trish Serratore and her passionate promotion of ASE and ASE Certified technicians for so many years. As the familiar face of ASE, she too has always had the industry’s best interests at heart. We wish Tim and Trish all the best in their retirements,” Hogg added.

Dave Johnson has been named ASE president and CEO Designate effective July 12. Johnson will assume the title and responsibilities of ASE president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2024 upon Zilke’s retirement. Johnson brings over 30 years of automotive industry experience to ASE. He previously served as global director, service engineering operations at Ford Motor Company where he led all vehicle repair support activities. He is a proven executive with strong leadership and team-building skills. Throughout Johnson's career, he has delivered with innovation and a passion for the service experience and, most importantly, respect for the technicians that care for the customer.

Johnson looks forward to the upcoming transition and the opportunity to take ASE to the next level of technician and consumer value. A native of Wyoming, Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering technology from Weber State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

“I look forward to working with the great ASE staff to serve our technicians, service providers and car owners and to communicating the amazing mission of ASE. I am honored to take on the mantle of leadership of this important industry organization,” said Johnson.

Donna Wagner has been named as the new vice president of industry and media relations for ASE. She will be responsible for both new and existing company relationships along with representing ASE to consumer, corporate, government and technician audiences. Wagner brings an extensive 30-plus year aftermarket background in education and parts supplier representation, including 12 years with the Car Care Council, to her new role at ASE. Her most recent position was assistant vice president of the ASE Education Foundation where she oversaw the field manager network and represented the organization in school, corporate and government relations. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mount Union and a Master of Business Administration from Bowling Green State University.

"We appreciate the leadership by the ASE Board of Directors and their active involvement with this transition. A comprehensive transition plan and coordination with key industry partners and the ASE Executive Committee will ensure a seamless staff leadership handoff. Both Tim and Trish have also assured the board of their willingness to support ASE however needed beyond year end," concluded Hogg.


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