YEN Under New Leadership: Connell and Stone

SEMA Member News—July 2017

By Katie Carson

YEN Under New Leadership: Connell and Stone

The Young Executives Network (YEN) has transitioned into new leadership, with Rory Connell of Advanced Accessory Concepts leading the charge as the chair and Kirstin Stone of COMP Performance Group as chair-elect. YEN is dedicated to the advancement of young professionals in the automotive aftermarket industry by providing the membership with education and networking opportunities.

Meet Rory Connell

  Rory Connell
Incoming YEN Chair Rory Connell foresees YEN being at the forefront of key SEMA initiatives such as youth engagement and member connectivity.

Rory Connell’s career in the automotive aftermarket began when he followed his automotive passion by attending Wyotech, an automotive technical school. While there, he learned trades such as welding, sewing, painting and more. Upon graduation, he worked on cars at West Coast Customs, Barry’s Speed Shop and Callaway Cars. Connell feels that the skills he learned while at school and working in shops were tremendous strengths when he transitioned to the manufacturing side of the industry. He recently began working for Advanced Accessory Concepts, a startup company.

“Had I not been involved in YEN and specifically the SEMA Launch Pad, I wouldn’t have made the decision to take the leap into a startup company,” he said. “From my involvement, I have seen firsthand the success stories of people taking risks to bring new technologies and ideas to the aftermarket, and I wanted that for myself.”

Connell has enjoyed his time serving on the YEN select committee and sees it as an opportunity to lead young people down a similar path to becoming connected to the industry. Under his leadership, he foresees YEN being on the forefront of key SEMA initiatives, such as youth engagement and member connectivity.

Meet Kirstin Stone

Kirstin Stone
Kirstin Stone is excited about her new role as chair-elect and is looking forward to helping other young professionals grow.

Kirstin Stone is passionate about the industry. On an average Saturday, you can find her either at the track watching drag races or in her garage wrenching on her LS-powered Mustang.

Kirstin has a background in marketing, starting with working for a cylinder-head manufacturer and then spending several years with a turbo manufacturer.

When she saw an opportunity to help small businesses and new manufacturers identify new target markets and grow their businesses, she switched gears and started Reaction Time Marketing, which she owned and operated.

Then she was offered a position with COMP Performance Group and saw it as an opportunity to grow and work with industry leaders within the company. She packed up and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and she hasn’t looked back.

Stone is excited as she steps into her new role as chair-elect and is looking forward to helping expand the network to help other young professionals grow their personal networks.

“It’s important for young people to know their own impact within the industry,” Stone said. “YEN is an incredibly effective group because it allows brand-new professionals to accelerate their career trajectories within the aftermarket.”

YEN also welcomed several new members to the select committee along with two incumbents. They include:

  • Nick Caloroso, Diode Dynamics
  • Erik Harbour, PowerBass
  • Jeremy Headlee, ICON Vehicle Dynamics
  • Celina Ingargoila, Bonnier Corp./Family Events
  • Jonathan Mill, Keyway Innovations (incumbent)
  • Bryan Olfert, Formula Drift
  • Jason Wieczorek, Motovicity Distribution (incumbent)
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