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 Jill Trotta, VP of Industry, Marketing and Sales for RepairPal Inc.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the industry was at a Chevrolet dealership in Anaheim. It was a terrible place, and eventually got busted for performing bogus smog checks.
What do you like best about your current position?
I love my job at RepairPal. I’ve been able to grow my career here and I feel like the work we do helps the industry and that consumers are more likely to get a fair shake at a RepairPal Certified shop. I also have the opportunity to interact with many amazing industry pros.
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; I went to college for Recreational Therapy. But after working in the field, I had a VW bug that kept breaking down and an amazing uncle who had a shop. He wouldn’t fix it for me, but he brought in the “Idiots Guide to VW Repair.” Shortly after that, I realized that I liked that much better and decided to pursue a career after seeing a late-night commercial that advertised a trade school. The message was “You too can become an automotive mechanic.”
What do you do when not at work?
I love spending time with my family. I also love to travel and have new experiences.
What one word best sums up your personality?
Relentless. If there is something I want I’ll keep at it until it’s just beaten to death, until I’ve got it! Never say die. I’ve been in many situations that seem impossible, but I’ve been able to keep at it and create some pretty good stuff out of a pile of rubble. It’s not always pretty, but it’s been effective in my life.
What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a 2017 Toyota Mirai. It’s a hydrogen-powered vehicle. I’m an automotive technology geek. I love cars, but I am not a “car person” per se. I love technology and I love driving a vehicle that the only emission is WATER!
What was your first car?
A 1982 Toyota Corolla. It was a little brown two-door stick shift car. My dad changed out the clutch many times!
Do you have a nickname?
Jilly – but that’s mostly my family.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I have incredible facial recognition.
What are you currently reading?
Angela Duckworth’s “GRIT – The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (for the second time)
Who was your childhood hero?
By far my Grandmother. She was the most loving, accepting person. She survived so much in her life and raised an incredible group of humans who form a crazy village of people that make up my family.
“Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow.”