What does age have to do with it?

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Age really is just a number in the automotive industry.

Age really affects so much what we do and how we live. We don’t like to talk about age because it’s taboo, but the reality is that we’re all getting older, we’re all getting older, and new generations are following us. Age gives us experience and shapes the way we work and interact with others. It also shapes the lens through which we view others and situations. Someone who has been in the automotive aftermarket for two years will look at our industry from a very different perspective than someone who has 20 or 40 years of experience in the industry.

There is an immense sense of security for a seasoned industry leader who knows that the next generation is ready and eager to carry on the legacy of the past, while bringing innovation and growth. As a result, the industry is more focused than ever on groups of young professionals like Modern Industry eXpertise (MiX), the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) reverse mentorship board; Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG), a community of the Auto Care Association; Future Leaders Network (FLN) of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA); and the New Automotive Aftermarket Generation (NAAG), the group of young leaders of the International Independent Aftermarket Association (AAMPACT).

Millennials in the labor force

The graph below shows that millennials make up a significant percentage of the workforce – almost 50% – therefore, we should care about what they think and say.

According to the Harris Poll, Purpose & Culture, more than 65% of American millennials care more about work culture than wages. More and more companies are taking notice and making huge cultural shifts to attract and retain talent in the aftermarket industry.

“Organizations that are focused on driving positive change within their culture are more likely to retain and recruit the best talent in our industry,” said Brian Lesiewicz, NGK CEO and former president of MiX.


Peter Drucker, who is known as the founder of modern management, best coined the phrase “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This implies that your company culture always determines success, no matter how effective your strategy is.

So what is the culture in the automotive aftermarket industry and how is that culture reflected and represented at AAPEX, the industry’s premier event? Overall, the automotive aftermarket is a small industry. How many senior managers in this company started out behind a parts counter, a delivery vehicle, or worked for the family parts business?

The automotive industry isn’t that old when you think about it, and some of the founders and pioneers are still with us. As AAPEX Young Professionals, we have the ability and privilege to learn from veterans who are more than happy to share their knowledge and experience with the future of the automotive industry. AAPEX is also a great place to connect with industry experts, build relationships, and experience a culture of mentorship and learning. If we don’t learn, we don’t grow, no matter how old we are.

Hope to see you at AAPEX in November.

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