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Movers & Shakers: Sean O'Connell Named Bestop Regional Sales Manager; Specialty Auto Parts Announces Mopar Licensing Agreement

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Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Bestop Names New Regional Sales Manager

Bestop has hired Sean O'Connell as regional sales manager responsible for a specific group of high-priority eastern U.S. accounts where he will coordinate sales activities, marketing programs, promotions and training as well as develop new business to help grow the product line. He will also travel to trade shows, industry events and customer activities as a Bestop brand representative.

Most recently, O'Connell served as account manager, e-business at Tucker Rocky Distributing. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as a territory sales manager at the same company. Prior to employment with Tucker Rocky, O'Connell was a territory manager and outside sales representative for seven years at Oakley Inc.

Nexar Names Trevor Darrell Chief Scientist

Nexar announced that it has hired University of California, Berkeley Professor Trevor Darrell as chief scientist. Darrell is a prominent deep-learning researcher and his lab created Caffe, a deep-learning framework that is widely used by Computer Vision researchers around the world. In parallel to his continued work at the university, Darrell will now lead and oversee the research at Nexar in the area of machine vision deep-learning and vehicle-path prediction. He will lead the company’s research capabilities and leverage Nexar’s pool of large-scale driving data sets that contain video and telemetry of a variety of real-world driving environments to develop automotive applications.

Mark "Sarge" Schleipfer
Mark "Sarge" Schleipfer

ICI Innovative Creations Appoints Mark "Sarge" Schleipfer VP of Sales and Marketing

Innovative Creations Inc. announced the appointment of Mark "Sarge" Schleipfer as its new vice president of sales and marketing. He assumed responsibilities on January 3, 2017.

Mark Schleipfer joins ICI with more than 30 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket, sales, promotional and marketing arena. Mark brings to ICI dedication to countless hours of innovative marketing efforts, with branding, sales support and leadership to various major brands as his focus, including Sony, KC Highlights, MTX Audio, BF Goodrich, Michelin, and Bigfoot Monster Truck just to name a few.

VIPAR Heavy Duty Announces Leadership Team

VIPAR Heavy Duty announced a new leadership team and the promotion of three team members at a news conference during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2017. Baer named Larry Griffin vice president of program management, Andrei Katibnikov vice president of information technology and Jeff Paul vice president of marketing. All three had previously served as directors within the organization. The company also announced that Griffin, Katibnikov, Paul and Jim Pennig, vice president of business development, have been named to the organization’s new executive management team.

Griffin joined VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2012 and is responsible for directing the activities of the organization’s program management team that oversees all supplier relationships. Katibnikov is responsible for all IT solutions including infrastructure design and technology, and information systems strategies. Before joining VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2016, Katibnikov had served in an advisory role within the organization helping develop and provide support for the company’s information technology infrastructure.

Paul has been with VIPAR Heavy Duty since 2002 and is responsible for data and market research, marketing strategies, branding, communications, public relations and event management. Pennig joined VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2006 and is responsible for managing the business development team to grow the organization and increase group participation and national fleet account initiatives.

Specialty Auto Parts Announces Mopar Licensing Agreement

Specialty Auto Parts U.S.A. Inc. entered a licensing agreement with Mopar Performance. Through the agreement, products in the engine cooling and ignition categories will come first, to be followed by engine dress-up parts. Some of the dress-up products will benefit from new patented designs, giving Mopar an industry-leading look that is unique to its name plate. Valve covers, air cleaner kits, timing covers, and other accessories in multiple finishes are also expected.

Specialty Auto Parts U.S.A. Inc., known to enthusiasts as PROFORM, will deploy its design resources and manufacturing efficiency to support Mopar at the top of the automotive aftermarket. These Mopar Official Licensed Products will join Chevrolet Performance, and Ford Performance under the special designation Factory Performance Parts, which is reserved for the Big 3 products that Specialty Auto Parts U.S.A. Inc. designs, manufactures and markets to musclecar enthusiasts. 

Tenneco Names Grand Prize Winner of Monroe 100 Year Sweepstakes

Capping off the celebration of the Monroe brand’s 100th anniversary, Tenneco announced that Tony Higgins, an outside salesperson with Parts Authority in San Bernardino, California, is the grand prize winner of the Monroe 100 Year Sweepstakes social media contest. Higgins will receive a $1,000 prepaid Visa gift card from Tenneco for participating in the contest on Monroe ride control social media channels.

Higgins, whose father was a hobbyist hot-rod builder who used Monroe products as far back as the 1960s, said he has been a loyal Monroe enthusiast since the age of five. His career in the auto-care industry has only enhanced his passion for the brand.

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