YEN Member Insights

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Michael Chapin and Eric Coomer, YEN Member Insights, October 2014


YEN Member Insight – Michael Chapin and Eric Coomer, RxSpeed.comAt the 2012 SEMA Show Awards Banquet, Michael Chapin and Eric Coomer sat down for dinner at the YEN member table. Focused on their respective ventures, the two like-minded gasoline junkies stayed in contact for another year and found several more overlapping likes and interests. Fast forward to 2014, when an opportunity arose to collaborate in a new business launch—RxSpeed.com—a search engine for aftermarket parts.

What kind of SEMA resources have you found to be valuable?

Chapin: Besides the obvious fact that we met while networking with YEN, Eric and I use SEMA’s market reports and resources to convey to the outside world the scale and dynamic of this marketplace. For most non-car people, it’s an industry that hides in plain sight. Few expect to hear that 24 million Americans spend $33 billion annually. The market segmentation reports draw clear lines in the sand to help people understand who buys parts for necessity and who buys them for fun.

Coomer: The background and education SEMA provides on the industry’s data revolution, and more specifically the SEMA Data Co-op, have by far been the most helpful in educating myself and others about the need for standardized product data. It wasn’t very long ago that every small business was told they needed a website in order to survive, and now in 2014, getting your products seen and sold online carries that same message. Clear business communication doesn’t end with conversation, but continues with every file and piece of data you exchange.

Nick Gramelspacher, YEN Member Insights, September 2014

Nick Gramelspacher, YEN Member Insights, September 2014, Automotive News, Aftermarket News

Describe yourself in your own words.
My name is Nicholas Gramelspacher, and I am vice president, sales and marketing, at Meyer Distributing, and a member of the SEMA Board of Directors. I have a wife, April, and son, Ajay.

What type of education do you have?
I have a degree in business management.

Did you choose the aftermarket or did the aftermarket choose you?
I chose the aftermarket-I was tinkering on and fixing up trucks in early high school and fell in love with it. We have a family business in the furniture industry, but I wanted to plow my own path to do what I love and love what I do: cars, trucks and Jeeps. That, along with working for a great company like Meyer, which has had tremendous growth, and having a hardworking team made it a great decision 16 years ago.

What has your career path looked like?
I started with Meyer in the shipping department and worked there for about six months before moving into sales. We were a single location, 25,000-sq.-ft. company back then, selling about 40 lines.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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