Richard Schwartz

CEO and Managing Partner

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For the past decade, SA’s co-founder has provided his clients unparalleled insights into the automotive aftermarket, allowing them to make effective and actionable strategic decisions. Rick is a recognized leader in the industry and has a critical eye for what it takes to drive value.  Rick has advised private equity firms, boards of directors and management teams on M&A opportunities and strategic growth initiatives.  Rick is a former member of the Auto Care Association Board of Directors, and he received the prestigious Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award. Prior to starting Schwartz Advisors, Rick held various senior level positions at Nestle, Macy’s and The Upper Deck Company.   Rick received a MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and a BA in International Relations from USC.

Curtis Draper

Managing Partner


As a seasoned executive with experience in sales, strategic marketing, change management and business development in both the aerospace and auto parts manufacturing segments, Curtis serves as a commercial specialist for Schwartz Advisors. His familiarity and relationships with all segments within the aftermarket, combined with his expertise in product positioning, make him a natural fit to lead projects involving strategic growth planning and M&A Advisory. Curtis is the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at UCI-FRAM, Vice President of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), and former Strategic Marketing lead at Howmet Alcoa.

Derek Kaufman

Managing Partner

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Having held many positions in the transportation industry over the last 40 years—ranging from engineering to company leadership and various entrepreneurial ventures—Derek brings heavy-duty vehicle expertise to Schwartz Advisors. Known internally as The Technologist—and externally as the managing partner responsible for SA’s strategic growth workshops and industry conference speaking —Derek is an expert on technology trends affecting the automotive aftermarket. Prior to joining SA, Derek was the VP of Parts and Service Euclid Trucks, VP of Marketing and Product Planning Freightliner Trucks, President of Diesel Technology, Senior Vice President of Hino Trucks and CEO of Mission Motors.

Keith Zar

Managing Partner

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As the head of our sell-side practice, Keith understands the unique requirements of selling a business in today’s automotive aftermarket. An M&A specialist, Keith has completed more than one hundred deals. He is also a 15 year veteran of the aftermarket, acting as the Vice President and General Counsel of UCI-FRAM AutoBrands.  He came to the aftermarket after a successful career in the high tech communications sector, as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Next Level Communications and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of General Instrument Corporation.

Malcolm Davidow



Malcolm literally grew up in the parts business.  He is the third generation of his family to work in the industry.  Known within SA as part of the Digerati, Malcolm has been involved with auto parts e-commerce for 20 years, including stints as founder and CEO of eAuto, director of automotive at Amazon, founder and CEO of Xcesse, adviser to RepairPal and vice president of digital operations at Pep Boys.  He also spent a number of years working for parts  manufacturers and is particularly well-versed in product.  As a right proper petrol-head, he collects cars and tracks one of them.

Pete Kornafel


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With 40 years of experience in automotive wholesale and distribution (WD), Pete’s expertise in WD management is an indispensable part of all SA retail and WD projects. Prior to joining Schwartz Advisors, Pete was the Director and Vice Chairman of General Parts, Inc. and the President of CARQUEST Corporation. He also authored a textbook called Inventory Management and Purchasing—a practical resource for all hard goods distributors and retailers.

Rick Guirlinger



Rick has spent 40+ years in the automotive aftermarket as the Controller, Treasurer, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for companies that include Parts Warehouse Company and General Parts International, Inc., and its various subsidiaries (WORLDPAC, CARQUEST, etc.) He is also a faculty member at the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University where he specializes in financial management and industry analytics.

Mort Schwartz

Co-Founder and Partner


Mort is the co-founder of Schwartz Advisors and a venerable contributor to the SA team. In his 50 year career, he’s held numerous positions in all facets of the automotive industry—including Trustee of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, Chairman and CEO of Strauss Discount Auto, Chairman and CEO of Import Parts of America, Chairman and CEO of Thermo King of Northern California and Chairman and CEO of Chanslor & Lyon. He is also a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame and has won multiple industry awards, including AWDA Man of the Year, MEMA Triangle Award, APAA Executive of the Year, AWDA Lifetime Achievement Award and Automotive Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. 

Steve Ganster


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Over a 28-year career in international market strategy and operational consulting, Steve has assisted over 200 multinational firms to assess opportunities and build business strategies in Asia. His vast experience has earned him notoriety in the industry—and he is frequently called upon to speak on China-related topics, particularly in relation to the country’s automotive sector. He’s the author of the recently-published book, The China Ready Company, as well as the Managing Director of Technomic Asia.

Katie Schaber

Director of Projects & Industry Analysis

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Katie supports all partners in project planning, field research, and communication at Schwartz Advisors.  She also puts together clients' virtual data rooms and helps with internal and external marketing efforts.  Katie came to SA from UCI-FRAM where she had served for 10 years in various marketing and sales roles.  Never receiving less than an "A" during her entire college career, she strives for excellence personally and professionally.