5 Minutes With... Monika LaPrete, CRP Industries

5 Minutes With… Monika LaPrete, CRP Industries

Get to know Monika LaPrete, a 28-year aftermarket veteran and marketing communications director at CRP Industries.

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 Monika LaPrete, marketing communications director at CRP Industries.

Celebrating close to 30 years at CRP, LaPrete, like many of us, fell into the aftermarket unintentionally. She answered a newspaper ad for a marketing manager role at CRP in the mid-90s. From there, she has worked her way up and experienced many firsts at the company. A longtime aftermarket professional, LaPrete is also involved in various aftermarket organizations and believes in the industry’s strength. Get to know her below!

aftermarketNews: Tell us about your career trajectory and your current role. What do you like best about CRP Industries?

LaPrete: Coming from three large international corporations previous to CRP, I love that it’s family-owned and that we live and breathe our corporate values of quality, service and trust every day. Our longstanding partnerships with both customers and suppliers are a testament to those values.

AMN: What attracted you to the automotive aftermarket?

LaPrete: I wasn’t really looking for a career in the automotive aftermarket, but I noticed an ad in the paper (yes, job postings were still found in newspaper print back then) that was looking for a marketing manager, German language skills a plus. Growing up in a household that spoke mostly German, I thought why not. I remember telling George Schildge, CEO of CRP at the time, that I was looking for a place to hang my hat. Well, it’s been 28 years, so I guess you could say I found it. It was definitely the best career move I made. The automotive aftermarket has provided me with challenges and opportunities that have made me a better marketer. It’s an industry that’s always changing and growing. Because of the automotive aftermarket, I’ve made some great friends through the Automotive Communications Council and other organizations.

AMN: You’ve had many firsts for yourself and the company while at CRP. Tell us about those moments.

LaPrete: I was one of the first women in management at CRP, first to have a PC, first to have access to the internet (yes, it was dial-up), first to work from home in the 1990s, first to bring CRP to a major industry tradeshow, AAPEX.

AMN: What car do you drive?

LaPrete: A 2019 Hyundai Sonata.

AMN: What was your first car?

LaPrete: A 1971 semi-automatic VW Beetle. My favorite car so far was my Chevy Beretta.

AMN: What is your dream car?

LaPrete: My dream car make hasn’t changed in almost 40 years. It’s always been the Chevy Corvette. But the model has. It’s definitely the new Corvette Z06 in Red Mist metallic.

AMN: What vehicle maintenance of your own do you do?

LaPrete: I’ve done cabin air filters, air filters, headlights, taillights, hoses and anything that’s easily accessible. I only got stumped on a 2009 Chevy Malibu where the bumper had to be dropped to change a headlight bulb. I quickly changed to halogen bulbs after the first $200 bulb replacement bill…

AMN: How many times have you been to AAPEX?

LaPrete: 26!

AMN: What’s your favorite part?

LaPrete: Other than it being in Las Vegas (I do love Video Poker), it’s that I get to spend a week with my colleagues who are not based in the NJ corporate office. We have folks coming in from multiple locations in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

AMN: Best concert you’ve been to?

LaPrete: When Earth, Wind and Fire toured together with Chicago. The energy was contagious!

AMN: Most recent one you’ve been to?

LaPrete: The most recent concert was Peter Frampton—one of the few concerts I’ve had front-row seats for. I was thrilled to get to see him before he stops touring.

AMN: What advice would you give yourself just starting out in your career?

LaPrete: I would probably tell myself to go more with the flow, be more flexible, not be so rigid. To not try to control every aspect of every minute of every day. One of my favorite quotes is by Charlotte Bronte, “Life is so constructed that the event does not, will not, cannot, match the expectation.”

AMN: What do you do for continuing education? Do you have a favorite podcast or YouTube channel? Please share!

LaPrete: I certainly try to take advantage of any relevant webinars Babcox offers throughout the year as well as the Auto Care Association. There’s a lot of great content and instructional material available for free if you look for it.

AMN: What is one word would your coworkers use to describe you?

LaPrete: It’s a term that became popular in the computer industry back in the 1980s – WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get with me. I say what I mean and mean what I say.

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