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 “Five Minutes With,” we get to know Bryan Funke, who was recently named chief operating officer at HDA Truck Pride.
What was your first job in the industry?
I’ve always been surrounded by the industry. Growing up I helped restore a 69’ Firebird with my dad. In high school, I worked at the GM Proving Grounds in the ride-n-drive area (which was incredible!). My first professional experience (as a co-op student) in the industry was as a fuel pump test engineer for Diesel Technology in Kentwood, Michigan. However, my first full-time job was with Federal-Mogul, as an application engineer for heavy-duty friction materials.
What do you like best about your current position?
I am only three weeks into the new role, so everything is new and exciting. What I like best so far is our team. HDA Truck Pride, our members and our suppliers, together, feels like a family. I feel that I will make some great, lasting relationships here, which is very rewarding for me.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
My initial intent was not on the aftermarket specifically, but it was to get into the automotive industry overall. A few things drove me to the aftermarket. First, I had a mentor once ask me how I stayed busy while I was on the OE side. “You have two customers, Bryan. How do you stay busy?” This was not meant as a negative (fully), but more to help me see what I was missing and intrigue me enough to think about the aftermarket. We went on to discuss the complexities of the aftermarket, the challenges it faces and how tight the relationships become within the industry. This, in addition to my love for working on cars while growing up, stoked the fire to pursue the aftermarket as a career in some capacity.
Coincidentally, about two months after this discussion I was called by a recruiter to talk about leading an aftermarket sales team at Polk. I jumped at the opportunity and have been in the aftermarket industry for nearly 15 years now.
What do you do when not at work?
My passion is my family and living near my immediate family makes it easy to spend great quality time together. Whether we are traveling, coaching, conversing, cooking/eating, playing, binge watching TV or just hanging out, you can usually find me with my family. Outside of family time I play basketball and attempt to play golf.
What one word best sums up your personality?
Driven. I know this is cliché for our industry, but I’ll explain. I think driven can mean many things to people. Driven to succeed. Driven to win. Driven to educate. What drives me is helping other people achieve their goals, to learn and to enjoy life.
What are you currently reading?
I read constantly and am a huge believer in lifetime learning. I feel it is the foundation to enjoying life and maximizing your potential. With that said, I am reading a handful of books right now and usually have two to three in rotation at all times.
Fun reading:Jessica Blackwood series by Andrew Mayne
Self-Improvement:“Tribe of Mentors” by Timothy Ferris, “Unlimited Memory” by Kevin Horsley
Learning:“A Short History of Financial Euphoria” by John Kenneth Galbraith, “The Triumph of Christianity” by Bart D. Ehrman
If you could time-travel, to where and what in era would you want to visit?
Ideally, I would love to visit the most impactful times in human history, but these times are rarely specific events and rather a culmination of many events that lead to the change. To choose one, I would have to go with the Third Dynasty, when the great pyramids were built. The pyramids in Giza, and the construction of these is a marvel. As [some of] the only Seven Wonders of the World still standing, I would love to see how these were designed, built and utilized. This assumes that I could just witness these events and then come back home to the wonderful comforts that we now enjoy.
If you know someone who would make a great “Five Minutes With,” email AMN Editor Amy Antenora.