Most Influential Family

Ken, Tom and Robert Schram, Schram Auto Parts, Michigan


Mention the name Schram and you'd better have some time on your hands. You're likely to get at least one story, and perhaps many, about the family's 87-year history in the auto recycling industry.

"The family has contributed two ARA presidents and that's just the beginning of what they've given to the industry," said Shannon Nordstrom, Nordstrom's Automotive, Inc. ( in Garretson, S.D. "The Schrams have been a stellar part of the recycling community for many generations, and with the nieces, nephews and new family members, they are poised to be a power in the industry for years to come."

Harold Schram Sr. opened Schram Auto Parts ( in Waterford, Mich., in 1923. His son, Harold Schram Jr., took over the business in the 1950s. Schram Jr.'s sons - Ken, Robert and Tom - have been managing the business, which also has a location in Mason, Mich., since their dad retired in 1978. They've all been active in industry associations throughout the years. Harold Jr. and Ken became the first father and son duo to each hold the office of ARA president - Harold in 1975 and Ken in 1990.

"Over the years, the Schram family has stayed abreast of technology as it relates to auto recycling," said Greg Greene, G & R Auto Parts in Oklahoma City, Okla. ( "They have [provided] beta test sites for our industry's software, giving feedback and helping develop a more user-friendly system. They keep their hand on the pulse of what's happening and are willing to change and implement new ideas and systems."

The Schrams have made a concentrated effort to improve misconceptions about the auto recycling industry by holding their own operation to the highest standards.

Last summer, Schram Auto Parts was nominated in a WDIV Channel 4 contest in a best auto parts category. While they didn't win the Detroit television station's competition, it's likely the company will be in the running for future awards.

"In 2010, they have continued to innovate and adapt to the market as things have changed," Nordstrom added. "They're quite a family."

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