APA President Steve Tucker and His ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ [Podcast]

APA’s Steve Tucker and His ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ [Podcast]

After a career on the supplier side of the aftermarket, Tucker shared that working in a program group has been an “eye opener.”

After an extensive aftermarket career working in parts stores, machine shops and with major aftermarket suppliers, Steve Tucker, who was named president of Automotive Parts Associates (APA) in February of 2021, describes moving to the program group side of the business as a “shock.” 

“You spend a lot of time in this business, and you think you know everything, and then, you switch gears and find out you know very little,” Tucker says. “It gave me a great perspective on how the customer thinks. No matter how much time you spend on the other side of the desk, when you get on this side of the desk, you start seeing things with new eyes.”

During his AMN Drivetime podcast interview with Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, Tucker also shared that working with the group of people at APA has been “another eye opener” for him. 

“We all read about how the aftermarket is shrinking and consolidating and all those things, and the big box guys are taking share – and no doubt a lot of that is true – but what I really find is that all of these independent warehouse distributors are very entrepreneurial. Over here at APA, probably more so than some of the other groups. We have a lot of guys that have found a niche and it’s really hard to get people out of that niche. They’re high-end European or Asian or tuner specialists or heavy truck specialists. I call us ‘the Island of Misfit Toys.’ We have people who fit in here who may not fit in any other group, and you know, I enjoy being the leader of those ‘Misfit Toys.’” 

In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill and Steve dive into the following topics:

1:34  How leading APA has been an “eye-opener” after a career on the supplier side 

3:47 How Program Groups Stay Competitive

4:28 The critical importance of solid data for program group members

5:29 His passion for finding new brands 

7:15 Plans for APA’s future growth: “If you don’t grow, you die.”

8:23 The biggest issues APA members are concerned about today

9:45 A look back at Steve’s career on the supplier side

11:00 Steve’s secret hidden talent (spoiler alert: his go-to karaoke song is … )

12:08: The biggest issues the industry should stay focused on today

13:50 The popular new Lightning Round!

“AMN Drivetime” is sponsored by Litens.

You May Also Like

AMN Drivetime, Ep. 41: Jeff Koviak, DRiV

Koviak delves into how his role and the company’s strategies have shifted during his tenure at Tenneco and DRiV.

Drivetime_ Jeff-Koviak-DRIV

Jeff Koviak describes his “master’s degree” in the automotive aftermarket as owning two muffler shops in Port Huron, Michigan, for a few years. He was at the ripe, young age of 24 and this stint came after he served as a Walker Exhaust territory manager with Tenneco in Detroit. Koviak calls that his first official job in the aftermarket, but in reality, his first experience in our industry dates back to his days in vocational auto mechanics class in high school.

Women at the Wheel, Ep. 12: Transtar’s Anna Gluck

Gluck shares the mindset changes she has made to hone her confidence and become a female leader in the industry.

MANN+HUMMEL’s Wilks: Using Product Innovation to Build Trust

Kurk Wilks, president and CEO, shares how the company is investing in R&D and digitalization to enhance its products.

Drivetime_ Kurk Wilks Mann + Hummel
Valvoline’s Kellye Wicker: Be Visible and Market Yourself

Get to know Valvoline’s Kellye Wicker and how she has built up her skillset to become a sought-after marketing professional.

Kellye Wicker_Valvoline- Women at the Wheel
CRP’s Mike Palm: How Close Customer Ties Yields Success (Audio)

Learn how Palm has led the company’s aftermarket product management to ensure CRP’s future success.

Drivetime_ Mike Palm- CRP Industries

Other Posts

Schaeffler and Sustainability with Jerry Conroy

Conroy shares insights into his career trajectory, the evolving landscape of the company’s aftermarket operations, and its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

At the Intersection of Tradition and Innovation with Grace Hovis

Grace Hovis’s journey in Hovis Auto & Truck Supply blends tradition with digital innovation in the automotive aftermarket industry.

Hovis Auto and Truck Supply's Grace Hovis on AMN Drivetime
The Importance of Volunteering in the Aftermarket with Jon Owens

Owens describes what he’s learned from volunteering in the industry and his vision for AACF as its current president.

Jon-Owens-AMN-Drivetime
DRiV’s Jeff Koviak: Strategies for a Changing Aftermarket

A grad of Northwood University, Koviak delves into his career and how he’s grown with the changes at Tenneco and DRiV over the years.

Drivetime_ Jeff-Koviak-DRIV