MANN+HUMMEL's Wilks: The Meaning Behind the Product

MANN+HUMMEL’s Wilks: The Meaning Behind the Product

Kurk Wilks, president and CEO, delves into how advanced technology and customer needs are shaping future products.

In its 81 years in business, MANN+HUMMEL has prided itself on being family-owned, remaining steadfast to its mission: separating the useful from the harmful with its filtration products. Yet, over the years, its products have evolved as the company has innovated to meet the demands of its customers. About 25 years ago, the innovation and heritage of MANN+HUMMEL attracted its current president and CEO to the company and he hasn’t looked back.

Kurk Wilks joined the company in 1998 on the OE side of the business as a senior account manager. Then, he transitioned into sales and took on a global role managing the General Motors account. Over the years, he has held director roles in the areas of sales, engineering and operations on local, regional and global levels. Finally in December 2018, he was named president and general manager of the company’s OE business.

“Then, in 2020 I was asked by our chairman to become the CEO. So it’s unique. I’m the first American CEO of this German, family-owned business,” he explained. “But I think with my 25 years of experience, the deep respect I have for our heritage of what it means to be family-owned and be technology driven, I’m able to take those assets with our people, our most important asset, and make something different for our customers to experience.”

Today, MANN+HUMMEL calls itself the leader in filtration, as it continues to invest in R&D, engineering, digitalization and advanced technology.

“We use analytics tools, AI and other processes now to really bolt on and streamline how we run the business,” he said. “But in the end, for me it’s about reliability and trust that when customers use our product, it’ll make their asset perform as desired and as needed.”

In this episode of AMN Drivetime, presented by AISIN, Wilks delves into:

  • His first roles in the automotive aftermarket and what attracted him to MANN+HUMMEL (0:51)
  • His career trajectory at the company (2:30)
  • Experiences that have shaped his view on the business (4:18)
  • How MANN+HUMMEL has benefitted from its expanded distribution strategy after opening a distribution center on the West Coast (8:16)
  • The ways the company is innovating in filtration through digital solutions and the importance of its digital hubs (10:12)
  • Additional opportunities for the company’s growth (14:12)
  • What he’s seeing as the state of the automotive aftermarket with his role as vice chairman of MEMA (15:01)
  • The Lightning Round ⚡

This episode is sponsored by AISIN. To watch more episodes of AMN Drivetime, click here.

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