YEN Member Insights

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Justin Hartenstein, YEN Member Insights, January 2014

Justin Hartenstein, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Member Insight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, January 2014

Justin Hartenstein, founder and president of Oracle Lighting, was a true automotive enthusiast from the beginning.

When Hartenstein began selling automotive parts in his eBay store in 1999, it was primarily items that he had installed but later taken off his own rides. He later started making items on his own and posting project pictures on online forums. Others began requesting parts, asking to buy what Hartenstein had made for himself. While he maintained his eBay store, Hartenstein was also going to school at the University of New Orleans and working full time.

It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that Oracle Lighting became the top priority for Hartenstein. His previous employer was greatly affected by Katrina. After the Hurricane, Hartenstein moved for a short period, and his own business was what he relied on. This was his turning point.

“When I moved back, I didn’t have any distractions, and it’s all I’ve done since then,” he said.

Oracle Lighting has been a SEMA member since 2003 and began exhibiting at the Show in 2009. The business has steadily grown, and in 2013, Oracle Lighting surpassed the 20-employee mark. Hartenstein’s wife Tiffanie also joined the company as the director of operations.

Alain Eboli, YEN Member Insights, May 2013

Alain Eboli, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Member Insight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, May 2013

Alain Eboli is a graduate of Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a father to a 4-year-old son who also shares a strong interest in cars and trucks. Alain's role is Engineering Manager for Omix-ADA/Rugged Ridge/Alloy USA, the largest independent manufacturer of Jeep replacement parts and accessories.

How long have you been in the automotive aftermarket? What other industries have you worked in?

I have been with Omix-ADA/Rugged Ridge/Alloy USA for about 5 years with a brief period of about 6 months where I worked for Newell Rubbermaid's Graco Childrens Products brand. I returned to Omix in August of 2012 to fill the role of Engineering Manager. Prior to my initial employment with Omix, I worked as a Design Engineer designing LED billboard structures and other signage solutions for outdoor applications, stadiums and arenas.

What does it take to create innovative products?

It's much easier to invent than it is to innovate. Creating innovative products starts with understanding the consumer and the problems they face.

Derrick Johnstone, YEN Member Insights, January 2013

Derrick Johnstone, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Member Insight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, January 2013

Derrick Johnstone

Alliance Sales 

It is customary for the YEN Member Spotlight to showcase the life and career of a young, up and coming YEN member but let’s face it, we work in and industry that thrives on breaking norms and thinking outside the box. With that in mind, this YEN Member Spotlight focusses on Derrick Johnstone of Alliance Sales, who’s odometer has rolled over the 40 year limit for YEN. All joking aside, Derrick continues to stay involved through Manufacturer’s Representative Network (MRN) where he is a current Select Committee Member. I had an opportunity to talk with him at the 2012 SEMA Show and find out what this former YEN member is all about.

Whenever I ask somebody how they got involved in the industry there is usually a pretty interesting backstory and Derrick’s is no different. He was pretty much born into it as his father, Dave Johnstone, was an instrumental in the Vancouver drag racing scene and is an inductee of the Greater Vancouver Motorsports Pioneer Society (2012) as a racer, car builder and car show producer.

Dana Mitchell, YEN Member Insights, November 2012

 

Dana Mitchell, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, November 2012

Dana Mitchell

Sales Manager, Al’s Liners

With a formal background in architecture, Dana has extensive experience in architectural design, environmental consulting, automotive restoration equipment, and DIY truck accessories.  Admittedly an "amateur restorer and automotive guy", Dana feels fortunate to be in the automotive industry where he is able to employ his personality working for a company like Al's Liner.

Tell us a little about your diverse professional background and how each of your experiences has benefited you in the position you hold today?

After school and working in a couple of odd jobs I began in Environmental Consulting, focusing on Remediation Project Management and Program Management for Asbestos, Lead and Indoor Air Quality. Working mostly with public and private school corporations I was responsible for maintaining federally mandated programs and educating maintenance staff on handling and maintaining potential hazardous materials. This threw me directly into dealing with people face to face on sensitive subjects and large scale presentations for audiences sometimes reaching the hundreds.

Brandy Morrow, YEN Member Insights, August 2012

Brandy Morrow, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, August 2012

Brandy Morrow on Winning Respect in a Male Dominated Industry

Marketing Coordinator
Spectre Performance, YEN Member


About Brandy

Growing up, Brandy Morrow didn’t envision herself behind the wheel of a race car or working on cars in the hot summer sun. Growing up with a father who was a professional motorcycle racer that transitioned into sales and marketing in the performance industry, the car hobby was never forced on Brandy. In fact, while pursuing martial arts and other mainstream pursuits she didn’t even get her driver’s license until she was 17. Her father Mike then taught her basic vehicle maintenance and enrolled her in a defensive driving course. A year later, looking to learn a little more about vehicle control (after wrecking her first car – a Saturn), Brandy enrolled in an all-women’s autocross school at El Toro Airbase in Orange County with her Honda Del Sol.

Ernie Manansala, YEN Member Insights, July 2012

Ernie Manansala, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, July 2012

Name: Ernie Manansala

Company: Tribe Agency
Title: CEO
Age: 30
Years In Industry: 10

 
1) Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. How long have you worked in the industry?

I started at 19 years old as the marketing manager of König Wheels. It was a perfect time for me to be a part of that company. We had the best line of wheels that year, and the founder of König believed that I, based simply on my creative passion, could help bring the brand up to the awareness level that he wanted.

2) How did you get your start and what positions have you held at what companies as you progressed to your current position?

I have been on and off in the industry for about 10 years now. The reason I say that is because we launched NOS Energy Drink which now plays a major role in the automotive industry. In reality, it truly is a beverage company that had many learning experiences after we were acquired by Coca Cola where I remained for a few years to bring the brand to the top 5 energy drinks in the nation.
 

Eric Schumacher, YEN Member Insights, June 2012

Eric Schumacher, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, June 2012

Eric Schumacher on Balancing Work & Life While Building A Career In A Fast Paced Industry


Eric Schumacher, 36 Years Old
Executive Producer - Power AutoMedia; YEN Member


About Eric
We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love and never work another day in your life.” Not only did Eric Schumacher hear that timeless advice, he acted upon it and today has built a successful career in the automotive aftermarket. For the past six years, Eric has lived his dream as Executive Producer and founding member of Power AutoMedia, a young but successful digital media and video production company. In this “dream” position Eric has been able to successfully combine his love for all things automotive and creative design. The Temecula, California, resident has a unique perspective that has been shaped by the tenuous start-up years of Power AutoMedia, which was a true pioneer of digital media within the automotive aftermarket, while trying to successfully balance being a devoted father and husband. At the young age of 36, Eric Schumacher has done what many never achieve in a lifetime… he has built a solid career in an industry that he is truly passionate about.  

We recently spent some time with Eric discussing a variety of topics that we thought fellow SEMA YEN Members would be interested in, especially his take on achieving work/life balance – a topic that traditionally challenges young professionals.

Matt D'Andria, YEN Member Insights, May 2012

Matt D'Andria, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, May 2012

Matt D'Andria on Futurism in the Automotive Aftermarket

Matt D'Andria, 36 Years Old
CEO - Motorator.com; Co-Host - Adam Carolla's CarCast; YEN Member

About Matt
If you have spent any significant time at a SEMA event or media gathering, chances are you have either met Matt D'Andria or seen his work. The 36 year old Phoenix, Arizona native moved to Southern California years ago to be closer to the automotive aftermarket and has had been involved in dozens of digital media projects, from helping top automakers develop a digital footprint, to co-hosting Adam Carolla's popular "CarCast" and launching his latest venture - a unique online automotive community called Motorator.com.

Matt was inducted into the gearhead lifestyle early, helping his father restore a Fiat Spider when he was just five years old. He "helped" his dad by hitting the freshly restored sports car with a toy hammer. At 15, Matt restored a '65 Mustang with his brother, buying parts with money earned from a job at the local auto parts store.

Jon Pulli, YEN Member Insights, April 2012

John Pulli, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, April 2012

Jon Pulli

Age: 30
CEO, Turn 14, YEN Member

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with a passionate SEMA member who is a leader in distribution side of the automotive aftermarket, Jon Pulli. Jon is currently the CEO of Turn 14.

Some of our readers aren't familiar with Turn 14; could you give us a brief overview on the company--and most importantly, your role there?
Turn 14 Distribution is a performance warehouse distributor focused on modern, post 2000, vehicle applications. I co-founded Turn 14 with Chris Candido initially to fill a void in the sport compact market for an east coast based distributor. As a co-founder I have done every job in the company but at this point, as CEO, I am able to focus my day-to-day on oversight and future planning. I spend most of my time strategically planning avenues for Turn 14’s growth in the short and long term. I feel a constant, yet welcomed pressure to achieve our target growth numbers. Distributors, when doing their job correctly, act as conductor between retailers and manufacturers. My goal is to grow Turn 14 which in turn benefits the brands we distribute, the retailers we service, and Turn 14 employees.

Mark Stek, YEN Member Insights, March 2012

Mark Stek, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Aftermarket News, March 2012

Mark Stek on....Building Value with Celebrity Customers

Mark Stek
Age:
35
Marketing Director, Kelderman Air Suspension Systems, YEN Member

At age 35, Mark Stek, an Oskaloosa, IA native, and Iowa State graduate, currently holds the position of Marketing Director for Kelderman Manufacturing. Also known to SEMA members as Kelderman Air Suspension Systems, Kelderman is a diverse and unique SEMA member company that manufactures and fabricates everything from agricultural parts to air suspension systems for a customer base that is as diverse as their products. A 12 year veteran with Kelderman, Mark grew up around the automotive industry as the son of a hot rodder, and now applies a synergy of his sports marketing / management degree emphasis with his hot rodding roots to foster relationships with celebrities to bring added value to both his company and his customers. We sat down with Mark to discuss his experiences working with VIP customers and how they may benefit other young executives in our industry. 

How did you get started with celebrity/VIP builds? 
Rampage Jackson approached us a few years ago at SEMA.  He already had a lifted truck, but really wanted our suspension on it.  Once the logistics were worked out, his truck came to our shop in Iowa and we totally transformed it.  We created a video for YouTube that showed the build from beginning to end and that has really increased our exposure.  Our celebrity clients, so far, all have reached out to us to receive our product. 

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