By SEMA Editors
Ben Mertlich (Aftermarket Performance Group) passed away Sunday morning, September 12, 2021, in a tragic accident on his prized Harley Davidson motorcycle. Mertlich lived a very full, happy, adventurous life, with every day full of passion and purpose. Everyone who knew him knew what a big heart he had. A celebration of life will be held at the Black Lion Event Center in Sandy, Utah, September 26, from 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Mertlich had a passion for everything automotive; he loved cars, trucks, motorcycles, sports and adventure. As part of his automotive obsession, Mertlich built, blew up, fixed and raced many vehicles, because it’s a passion that was inherited from and shared with his father.
Mertlich began his career when his friend Nick Widdison started Rally Sport Direct. Mertlich was the first employee, and it was just two guys working out of a garage for years. Mertlich became part of the Aftermarket Performance Group (APG) team when RallySport Direct was acquired. He served in many roles, and most recently, held the title of director of portfolio management for APG, and was a valuable member of the automotive community.
Mertlich was well known in the automotive community. He loved working with people throughout the company, and within the vendor community. Throughout the entire company, almost everyone knew Mertlich. He loved to laugh, and had a way of bringing people together. He was passionate about the business, but his strength was engaging others, whether it was on a call, teams or a meeting, he always brought a large amount of energy. Mertlich was not one to dress up for meetings, and was comfortable in his jeans, flannel shirt and baseball cap.
Mertlich attended the University of Utah while helping build the RallySport Direct business, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was in the process of obtaining his master’s degree in business (MBA) with an expected graduation in early 2022.
The APG team is grateful that he chose us to bring his passion, and he will be missed.