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 Stephen Albert, senior product manager, Turbo Chargers for BBB Industries.
What was your first job in the industry?
I have a double-answer for that: By trade I’m a mechanic. My first job was actually working at a small Marathon shop in Evanston, Illinois Thanks to my high school automotive shop instructor Michael Wylie. But, my first corporate job was in Warren, Michigan, working for General Motors, under the HVAC division. I was in Service Parts Operation (SPO).
What do you like best about your current position?
I love the ability to work with all of the different cross-functional groups. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and for some of the most proficient people in the industry. So, working with these cross-functional groups to launch the turbo program has been a pure blast.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
Absolutely! I have always loved the automotive industry. My high school shop classes inspired me to turn wrenches. I also spent many years working out of different shops to hone in my mechanical skills, and more recently, the long days at the office, which occasionally lead to late nights of product validation in my garage (test fitting on the project cars). The passion for being connected in some form to this evolving industry just won’t seem to go away. I have come to realize that over the past 18 years in the industry, the more I learn one thing, the more I realize I don’t know anything. I am continuing to learn within this industry , so I can push myself to be a better contributor to the aftermarket family.
What do you do when not at work?
I like to work on a few of my project cars. As I mentioned, I used to work as a mechanic. I still work on cars. And I like to race – wheel to wheel.
I’ve got a built 1991 Toyota Mr2 Turbo (SW20), a 1990 BMW 325is with an engine swap (E30) and a 1995 Porsche 911 (993).
What one word best sums up your personality?
I would say resilient.
What kind of car do you drive?
All those cars I mentioned are the cars I drive. Whatever starts is what I drive.
Do you have a nickname?
People would call me “The Alchemist.” In some of the project builds I have undertaken, I would tear the cars down while still complementing the line of logic from the original engineers when putting them back together. The key was to tailor them to fit my view of perfection or art-in-motion. Alchemy is taking metal and breaking it down to its purest form to make gold. For example, one project car that I tore down had a Japanese engine. It had an ECU from the U.K. and some German engineering behind it, so I cobbled all the tricks out of my bag to finish this bespoke build, and for me, it’s gold. I look at life through a similar lens.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph” and “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.”
Who is on your dream dinner party guest list?
Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Hawking, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lewis Hamilton, my Mother, Michael Jordan and Johnny Carson.
This sits at my desk: “There’s no limit to what a person can achieve, if she doesn’t care who gets the credit.”
Know someone who would love to be featured in Five Minutes With? Email editor Amy Antenora at [email protected].