The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) has announced that its 2018-’19 Leadership 2.0 Program Scholarship through the University of the Aftermarket Foundation has been awarded to Michael Hellenberg of Auto-Wares Group of Companies in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“In the beginning, I never thought of a career in the automotive aftermarket. It all started out as I dropped out of college for a full-time job,” said Hellenberg. “The job was a delivery driver for an automotive aftermarket distributor. As time moved forward, the competition grew tough as my father was my direct competitor. Eventually, we joined the same team and worked together to grow.
“When I quit college at the age of 19, continuing education was not for me. What I didn’t realize was there was a continuing education program in the work field that I was employed in. I realized that the automotive aftermarket was my home, after I learned about the adult degree program at Northwood University. The program has allowed me to spread my wings and learn as much as the program would allow. I have met many aftermarket professionals during my time at Northwood and it has allowed me to learn about the different channels of the aftermarket. I graduated from Northwood University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in the Automotive Aftermarket in December 2017.
“Within the future of the aftermarket, the overall landscape is changing. Technology is becoming more abundant within the warehouses, local jobber stores and professional installer garages. Telematics is an ever-growing market that allows vehicles to be connected to everyone. My goal within the aftermarket is to bring new ideas and programs to my current organization as well as learn from the professionals around me,” continued Hellenberg. “Each customer is different and requires different needs. These needs are changing with the landscape of the aftermarket. The days of paper and pencil seem to be diminishing as individuals are working their way to paperless billing and text message/e-mail alerts from tablets in their technicians’ hands.
“This will allow for me to broaden my education and eventually be part of a leadership team or senior level executive at a major organization within the aftermarket. There are different challenges each day and there isn’t one day that is the same as the next,” said Hellenberg. “The automotive aftermarket has provided many opportunities for my family. I enjoy being a part of the aftermarket and I look forward to the future and what challenges it may bring. I cannot start to explain to you how exciting this news is for me. Leadership 2.0 has been a goal/dream of mine for the past five years. Thank you for this opportunity.”
This scholarship is an exclusive offer to members of the MAPA through its affiliation with the Alliance of State Automotive Aftermarket Associations (ASAAA). Scholarship recipients are selected by ASAAA’s Scholarship Committee from applications submitted by member state associations.
Brian Cruickshank, director of the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University, provided ASAAA members with an opportunity to apply for one full $6,250 scholarship from the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, which includes tuition, materials and meals for the 2018-‘19 Leadership 2.0 Program. Leadership 2.0 is conducted in two, one-week sessions at Northwood University: the Fall 2018 session takes place Aug. 12-17 in Midland, Michigan; and the Spring 2019 session takes place March 10-15 in Raleigh, North Carolina.