Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. In today’s installment of “Five Minutes With,” we get to know Rob Ashton, vice president, Automotive Aftermarket U.S., Schaeffler Group USA Inc.
Rob Ashton is an industry professional with more than 18 years of experience. After graduating from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (Kettering University), he started his career with FAG Bearings Ltd. in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He has spent the majority of his career on the OE side of the automotive business in various sales and engineering leadership roles. In October 2012, Ashton joined the Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket division as vice president of the aftermarket in the United States.
I started with FAG Bearings Ltd. in my hometown of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, as a design engineer in 1995. I remember thinking when I got the job, “How hard could this be? Bearings are round.” Wow, was I wrong. Kidding aside, I believe that having a technical background has been invaluable to me as my career has progressed. Understanding your product is critical to being successful in the automotive industry.
2. What do you like best about your current position?
I love the new market experience. The aftermarket is very different from the OE world. I had no idea how complex the aftermarket is. I enjoy meeting the people and hearing their stories of how they started fixing cars in the their grandfather’s garage and ultimately growing into successful multi-store businesses. Also, I feel privileged to work for a technologically superior organization that has so much to offer to the market.
3. Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
I did not intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket. However, a career opportunity presented itself and I accepted. It was a decision that I am very happy with.
4. What do you do when not at work?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. We spend many hours at our kids’ sporting events.
5. What one word best sums up your personality?
6. Do you have a hidden talent?
I have a photographic memory.
7. Favorite quote/mantra/motto?
Everything happens for a reason.
If you would like to participate in “Five Minutes With” or know someone who would be a great candidate, contact AMN Editor Amy Antenora by clicking here.