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 AMN Five Minutes With Akebono’s Russ Stebbins

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 Russ Stebbins, AAP, director, Americas Aftermarket Business Unit, Akebono Brake Corp., a little better.

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AMN Editor Amy Antenora has been reporting daily on the automotive aftermarket since 2002. She also is editor of AMN Global and serves as managing editor of Counterman magazine, AMN’s sister publication for the parts distribution segment. Prior to joining Babcox Media, Amy began her career as a newspaper reporter and went on to work in public relations for two state universities. She is a graduate of Kent State University and in 2009 earned the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) designation from Northwood University’s University of the Aftermarket.

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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 Russ Stebbins, AAP, director, Americas Aftermarket Business Unit, Akebono Brake Corp., a little better.

What was your first job in the industry?  

In the aftermarket, it was the easy task of relaunching the TRW brand back into the aftermarket. I’ve been in the automotive business for 25 years now, but I was in OE and OES before that.

What do you like best about your current position?

The No. 1 thing is that I have the greatest team in the world. Second would be that Akebono is brand that is known in the industry for its quality. So, seeing the team come together around a great product has been the greatest thing.

Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?

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No, I did not intend have a career in automotive. Actually, I was a computer science major, then I got my engineering degree. What has kept me here?  I live in the Michigan area so it’s in the water here. It’s a great industry and one of the largest and strongest industries in our country. As I always like to describe it, I don’t look at myself as being in the auto industry, I look at it as being in the “keeping people safe” industry.

What do you do when not at work?

No. 1 I spend time with my family because I am away from home a lot with my job. What I do for fun, if you want to call it that, is I practice the art of charcuterie, so I make my own bacon and sausages and pates and all that kind of stuff. 

What one word best sums up your personality?

I was going to say “misunderstood” because I think sometimes I come across as a pretty serious and driven guy but I like to work hard and play hard. But I’ll go away from that and say “passionate.”

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What was your first car?

My first car was a 1972 Dodge Charger, which is way too much car for a 16-year-old.

What are you currently reading?

I always have two books going at the same time – a fiction and a non-fiction book. The non-fiction book that I am reading right now is called “Hillbilly Elegy.” The fiction book that I just finished reading is the latest Brad Thor book. I also just finished the Alinea cookbook from the restaurant in Chicago.

Favorite quote/mantra/motto?

My favorite quote, and I say it to my son all the time, is “Carpe Diem.”

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Know someone who would love to be featured in Five Minutes With? Email editor Amy Antenora at [email protected].

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