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 Ryan Backowski, director of marketing, Auto-Wares, a little better.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the aftermarket was working at the Auto-Wares Distribution center during high school. I rotated between several jobs as “summer help” –from unloading trucks to processing returns. One of my favorite memories was pulling orders on rollerblades. It was fun at the time (and quick for our customers) but it is clear why we no longer see skaters in our distribution centers.
What do you like best about your current position?
My position comes with a great deal of variety. Each day brings unique opportunities and challenges that keep me on my toes. I enjoy working with a team that is flexible and comfortable wearing many different hats.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
The aftermarket runs in my family with both my grandfather and father playing key roles at Auto-Wares. I originally explored a different path after college though. After graduating from Michigan State with a degree in Advertising and Marketing, I had intended to pursue a career with an advertising agency. After interning at a large agency, I quickly realized that it just wasn’t for me. I learned of a position opening in the Marketing Department at Auto-Wares and I’ve haven’t looked back.
What do you do when not at work?
Family is priority one for me. I have two young children who still come running to play with me when I arrive home, so I do my best to soak up every minute with them. My wife and I often unwind after a long day by watching “The Office” or hanging out with a close group of friends in our neighborhood. I also like to spend time fishing, mountain biking and riding my electric skateboard.
What one word best sums up your personality?
Easygoing. I enjoy having fun and don’t sweat the little things in life.
What kind of car do you drive?
Currently driving a 2013 Subaru Outback. Winters in West Michigan can be harsh, and I have always felt safe and in-control behind the wheel of my Outback.
What are you currently reading?
“Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead and Win” By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Who is on your dream dinner party guest list?
I’d love to spend time with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and then round it out with Will Ferrell and Steve Carell to make sure everyone is smiling.
Know someone who would love to be featured in Five Minutes With? Email editor Amy Antenora at [email protected].