Attendees at this year’s WANADA luncheon honored longtime WANADA staff member Archie Avedisian for more than 20 years of service as a fundraising and advocacy champion, who, in many ways, has almost single-handedly helped the organization’s Automobile Dealer Education Institute (ADEI) thrive and grow over the years.
ADEI chairman Harold Redden and former WANADA President and CEO Gerry Murphy presented Avedisian, 91, with a $5,000 check from WANADA to the Archie and Gloria Avedisian Scholarship fund, which each semester supports a financially at-risk student at his alma mater, SUNY-Cortland.
Redden told the crowd at the luncheon about Avedisian’s long commitment to equity and opportunity for at-risk youth, dating back to his more than six decades of service all across the country as a director of various regional Boys and Girls Club chapters.
Redden praised Avedisian’s commitment over the past 15 years to helping secure multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the ADEI program, leveraging his deep connections to regional and national charitable and workforce-development groups, including the Rotary Club and many others. Since 2005, Avedisian said, 559 program graduates have found full-time work as auto technicians at Washington-area auto dealerships.
“Archie it’s an honor to be here recognizing you,” Redden told Avedisian. “I’ve worked with you for the better part of 25 years…Archie has been at every meeting, and he’s been with us all the way through.”
Avedisian spoke on the pride he takes in watching ADEI expand and offer opportunities to an ever-growing number of participants, and noted that the program has a vastly higher completion rate than similar programs around the country. A Gates Foundation study, he said, rated ADEI as the top auto technician program in the United States.
“We graduate 98 percent of our class,” Avedisian said, noting that other programs have completion rates that barely clear 25 to 30 percent. “We stay on top of the kids.”
Even keynote speaker Charles Payne took time to thank Avedisian for his service to the organization, and his lifelong commitment to providing opportunities to kids in underserved communities.
“I also wanna say, thank you, Archie,” Payne said at the beginning of his address. “We need so many people like you.”Download Bulletin PDF