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 this installment of “5 Minutes With,” we get to know a little more about Mike Kitching, president and CEO, GB Remanufacturing Inc.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the aftermarket was right here at GB Reman. My Dad and I started the company together in June of 1986.
Other than GB, I’ve really only had one other job. While playing on the golf team in high school,I worked in the cart and bag rooms at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. That was an awesome job!
What would you say you like most about your current position?
I love leading a great group of employees and team members. We are a very tight group at GB Reman – almost like family. I have also met some of the best people in the world while working in the automotive industry, and I’m very proud to call some of them my closest friends.
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 didn’t intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket. After graduating from high school, I got into the pre-med program at UC Santa Barbara. I wanted to become a doctor and help people in need. About five semesters in, I realized that the science-focused classes were not for me. I switched my degree to business administration with an emphasis on marketing and finance. Looking back, it is still crazy to me how quickly things changed.
In 1986 I was a sophomore at UCSB, and I got a phone call from my dad, asking me to come home for the weekend because he wanted to talk to me about a possible business opportunity. This was the first discussion that led to the creation of GB Remanufacturing.
I transferred from UCSB to Cal State Long Beach the following fall and took as many marketing and finance classes as possible. After several years and a bunch of night classes, I earned my degree from Cal State Long Beach.
I often think about the impact of that phone call and how it changed my life. That call took place almost 36 years ago, and I have been involved in the aftermarket ever since.
The people in this industry are what makes it so very special. Each colleague, friend and customer I know from the aftermarket is hard-working, honest and resilient, and that motivates me to continue doing the work I do.