YEN Member Insights

Melanie White, YEN Member Insights, August 2010

Melanie White, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, August 2010

Melanie White on…Carrying on Traditions & Staying Current

Melanie White, 31 years old
Director of Marketing at Hellwig Products

At the age of 25 Melanie White got involved in the family business as a 4th Generation Hellwig. She really grew up around this industry and has found some great ways to plug in. Her involvement in TORA, PRO, ARMO, SBN, and YEN have definitely helped her both personally and professionally grow within the industry. We wanted to get White’s perspective on working for a family business. She also gives us her marketing experience as she carried on her families traditions while having to adapt and expand to new channels in marketing.

What is it like working for a family business and do you have any recommendations for employees working for a family business?

“Honestly working for a family business has it’s ups & downs; it can be so rewarding, but at times there is a lot of pressure involved. It sounds idealistic, but it’s really cool that I have the opportunity to carry on the traditions that my grandfather and great grandfather set when they started the business in 1946. 

Famous Rhodes, YEN Member Insights, July 2010

Famous Rhodes, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, July 2010

Famous Rhodes on…Bringing the Aftermarket Online

Famous Rhodes, 35 Years old
Director, eBay Motors; YEN Member

At 35, Famous Rhodes has built his career on bringing the Internet to the automotive market, having held executive roles at two automotive lead-generation companies prior to joining eBay Motors.

How has the Internet changed the way the aftermarket does business?

The Internet is providing information and transparency to the aftermarket industry. This story has played out in the automotive vehicles business seven years ago as content, pricing and comparison data surfaced on the Internet. More than 85% of all consumers now start their vehicle purchase online leveraging the wealth of content available to inform their decision. The Internet is already playing an influential role in the aftermarket industry as more content and pricing information is beginning to populate the Internet. We’re seeing tremendous growth in the aftermarket, as it is poised to double online sales in the next four years. Not only that, the Internet will influence more than 80% of all transactions offline and online as it will be the starting point for consumers.

Darron Shubin, YEN Member Insight, June 2010

Darron Shubin, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, June 2010

Darron Shubin on… Building a Foundation for Success

Darron Shubin, 31 Years Old
National Sales Manager - Performance, Magnaflow Exhaust Products; YEN Member

At 31 years old, Darron Shubin of Magnaflow Performance Exhaust is already considered a veteran by his peers.  His success has shattered any notion that there are age defined glass ceilings in this industry. Through hard work and perseverance Darron spent his 20’s building a solid career foundation and has moved up the ranks of one of the worlds most respected and successful automotive manufacturers.

You started out in this industry at Energy Suspension then went to work for Magnaflow. How did you get to where you are at today?

When I took a tech position at Energy Suspension in 1999, I was simply looking for a way to be more involved with modifying cars and thought to myself, “what a better way to get involved than to work for an aftermarket parts manufacturer.” In 2001, an opportunity came from MagnaFlow Exhaust Products by way of Larry Norris to work for Jim Cates in the tech / inside sales department. 9 years later, I look back and realize that I am very fortunate for the essentials I have learned, things I have participated in and the opportunities that have been given to me; all this to ultimately be a part of a successful growing business.

James Lawrence, YEN Member Insights, May 2010

James Lawrence, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, May 2010

James Lawrence on … Becoming an Entrepreneur

James Lawrence, 34 Years Old
President, powerTV

Starting and running your own business is the American dream. But is the reality of founding your own company more often The Nightmare on Elm Street than a Beautiful Life? This month YEN’s Member Spotlight features James Lawrence, President & CEO of powerTV, to help answer this question. At 34, Lawrence is a grizzled veteran of the startup game, having founded and operated four performance automotive industry companies. If you think running your own business is on the horizon, you’ll want to read this interview on how to Become an Entrepreneur.

About James

At the tender age of 19, powerTV founder James Lawrence learned quickly at the business school of hard knocks. The son of two doctors, Lawrence dropped out of UCLA to start his first automotive aftermarket company. It’s been a blur since then for the passionate entrepreneur, now 34, and at the helm of digital media company powerTV. Not just a “business” guy - Lawrence is a hardcore automotive enthusiast who enjoys both hot rod and late model vehicles.

Keith Evanosky, YEN Member Insights, April 2010

Keith Evanosky, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, April 2010

Keith Evanosky on… The Work/Life Balance

Keith Evanosky, 34 Years Old
National Accounts Manager, Keystone Automotive Operations; YEN Member

At 34 years old, Keith Evanosky of Keystone Automotive sets a good example on how to successfully manage working in a high paced automotive aftermarket environment while raising a family of five. Amazingly, he still makes the time to volunteer for charitable organizations. Keith’s dedication and ability to give 110% in everything he does has helped make him a fixture in the National Accounts department at Keystone, where he has had the opportunity to work with automotive aftermarket retailers big and small. What can Keith teach Young Executives about their work/life balance?

How do you find the time to do all this?

“I have never been happy unless I was going 90 MPH with my hair on fire. I am not a person who is content to sit there and watch the world go by. I want to pack as much into this life as I possibly can before I check out. People who are busy know how to prioritize tasks to get results -- they don’t have time to waste on minutia.”

Chris Douglas, YEN Member Insights, March 2010

Chris Douglas, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, March 2010

Chris Douglas on… Building a High Performance Culture

Chris Douglas, 33 Years Old
V.P. of Marketing, COMP Cams; YEN Member

Team building. Employee growth. Business success. Without a high-performance culture, it’s unlikely that your company is going to achieve any of these objectives. Nobody knows that more than Chris Douglas, Vice President of Marketing, for COMP Performance Group. At COMP, winning isn’t a sometimes thing – it’s an “always thing” that requires passionate, committed people. How do you get them…? By building a high-performance culture.

About Chris

Putting himself through college racing Go-Karts in the World Karting Association, Chris Douglas is no stranger to competition on the race track. In fact, he earned the WKA National Championship with dedication to being the best racer he could be. At the tender age of 23, he soon found himself behind the wheel of Late Models, ASA, and NASCAR Busch Cars as a partner in the Race-On Driving school. It wasn’t long before an even better opportunity came along in 2003 – the chance to work at the fast growing COMP CAMS. With an amazing work ethic, and a passion for the brand, Douglas worked through the ranks at COMP, becoming the Director of Marketing in 2006, and the Vice President of Marketing in 2009.

In this interview, Douglas gives us insight into COMP’s winning culture, and how you can incorporate some of their principles into your high performance company.

Dan Kahn, YEN Member Insights, February 2010

Dan Kahn, YEN Member of the Month, February 2010Dan Kahn on… Building an Online Media Plan

Dan Kahn, 30 Years Old
Owner, Kahn Media; YEN Member

At 30 years old, Dan Kahn of Kahn Media is redefining the very role of public relations in the automotive aftermarket. By helping companies with real world budgets like Hotchkis, Red Line Oil, and Spectre dominate the social media and online landscape, Kahn is proving that online smarts and strategy can overcome larger competitors with more traditional marketing plans. A life long automotive enthusiast, Kahn translates his passion and years of experience in editorial and public relations to help tell us how to build a successful online media plan.

What has changed about marketing within the performance industry?

“Five years ago, all you needed to do was run print ads, traditional press releases, send out some free parts to editors, and maybe do a press clipping report. Today, that strategy will doom you. Back then, 100% of your marketing budget could go to print advertising, and it was hard to screw up. Magazines are still important, but today they shouldn’t represent more than 20-30% of your marketing budget.”

Jason Snyder, YEN Member Insights, January 2010

Jason Snyder, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, January 2010

Edelbrock’s Jason Snyder on… Climbing the Ladder

By James Lawrence, PowerTV

Jason Snyder, 34 Years Old
Vice President of Marketing, Edelbrock; YEN Member

At 34 years old, Jason Snyder is one of the most creative and successful young executives at Edelbrock Corporation. Recently promoted to the Vice President of Marketing, Snyder believes his benchmark of success has been a blue collar work ethic and a continued appetite for learning. Known for being candid and direct in the daily course of business, he has helped Edelbrock transition to the digital age with stellar results.

What Does It Take to Make it to the Executive Level?
“Early on, I had a manager that laid out very high expectations. I felt like the karate kid. If I had to clean shelves, stay late, come early – I did it. If I was late, he was standing at the door. There I learned to become an executive – it takes a blue-collar approach. You work hard, do what it takes, and you’ll be successful. I was also wiling to take the big risks for my job. I was 28 when I was offered the opportunity to go to work for Edelbrock. I had to move across the country, away from my wife and 18-month old son, to unfamiliar surroundings and live in a hotel for 7 weeks. But those were the things that I had to do.. to make the sacrifice to make it work.”

Richey Trey Owen, YEN Member Insights, October 2009

Richey Trey Owen, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, October 2009Name: Richey Trey Owen
Title: GM
Company: Earl Owen Co.
Address: 334 N. Hall St.
City, State, Zip: Dallas, TX 75226
Phone: 214-747-7549
Fax: 214-748-5124
Web Site:

How many years have you been with your current company?
I have been with Earl Owen Co. my whole life. As for a full time position it has been around 7 years.

Years spent working in the automotive aftermarket?
I have worked in the automotive aftermarket 7 plus years.

How did you first begin to work in the automotive aftermarket?
The family business was the thing to do.

Did you have a mentor in the industry?  

Nathan Kunzman, YEN Member Insights, September 2009

Nathan Kunzman, SEMA YEN Member of the Month, September 2009Name: Nathan Kunzman
Company: Kunzman and Assoc.
Address: 4094 Pionner Dr., Walled Lake, MI 48390
Phone: 248-360-2700
Fax: 248-360-3704
Web Site:

How many years have you been with your current company?
I have been with my company my entire life, but I began working full-time in 2004 after graduating from college.

Years spent working in the automotive aftermarket?
Technically, a little over 5 years.

How did you first begin to work in the automotive aftermarket?
I always went to races and events when I was younger and decided at a very young age that I would work in this field.

Did you have a mentor in the industry?  


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