By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) named Courtney Pahlke as the council’s latest volunteer spotlight member. Pahlke is a PRO select committee volunteer and the owner of Top Coverage Ltd., a family-owned automotive restyling business.
Get to know Pahlke in her interview with SEMA below.
SEMA: What inspired you to pursue a career in restyling/manufacturing?
Courtney Pahlke: After graduating from the University of Iowa with psychology and English under my belt, I began working for my dad’s company, Top Coverage, doing sales in order to pay for grad school. I was planning on pursuing my master’s degree in forensic psychology at the Chicago Institute of Professional Psychology, but decided to grow my dad’s business instead.
Every dealership I would visit, I would hear stories about my dad Henry. Some were funny, some crazy—many about how he was there for them during hard times in their lives. Most importantly, I heard stories of how our team in Illinois would go above and beyond to take care of every customer of ours, especially when there was an issue with an install. I felt proud of my dad and our long-term staff every time I’d walk into each of our accounts, and I knew that I had to keep my dad’s empire growing the right way over time.
SEMA: Why did you decide to volunteer for PRO? How has it or will it impact you?
CP: I feel restylers need to come together now more than ever as technology and the overall automotive industry is evolving at a rapid pace. I’d like to help restylers around the world adapt to these changes and overcome some of the challenges that I see already occurring. I feel I’ve become more well-rounded at this point in my career, and I’m ready to contribute my time and ideas to this team.
SEMA: What advice do you have for someone pursuing a career in the automotive aftermarket?
CP: Adaptation is going to be one of the biggest components and challenges in today’s market for social media, technology, safety and the people you choose to hire (these are only a few things). Also, know your own market and implement what you learn while integrating in a way that works in your own market.
SEMA: What is your dream vehicle? Where would we find you in it on any weekend?
CP: I’m a Jeeper. You can find me driving to go hiking or rock climbing in my Jeep.
SEMA: What is the best advice you have ever received?
CP: How you take care and service your customers should be your number-one priority.
SEMA: What keeps you in the industry?
CP: I work for my dad’s 46-year-old business, and I guess it’s just embedded in me to keep adapting and growing it.
SEMA: Where can you be found on a Saturday?
CP: You can find me writing, rock climbing, hiking—pretty much any sport.
Fill out a PRO member spotlight form to highlight how you or your company are contributing to the automotive restyling industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on PRO’s social media, SEMA eNews and future PRO-member updates.