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Opinion

Strength In Numbers

The automotive aftermarket is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit.

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Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

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For better or worse, with an average workweek of 40 hours a week (give or take an hour or two), most of us are spending roughly 35% of our waking hours each week with our coworkers. 

Thus, when you hear people talk about how their coworkers have become like family to them, it’s understandable. We all spend A LOT of time together. Time spent creating and collaborating for the greater good of the whole, all while navigating a whole host of other milestones in life.

Lucky for us in the automotive aftermarket, this industry is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit. 

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Having worked in this industry now for nearly 20 years, and having interviewed hundreds of aftermarket executives in that time, I can say without a shred of doubt that almost all of them have told me it’s the great people in this industry who make the job so enjoyable for them. Longtime coworkers and colleagues become personal confidantes and lifelong friendships are forged over years of tradeshows, networking events and volunteer work. 

But what if your co-workers actually ARE your family? How does that dynamic change things? This is the question we address in this month’s cover story as we talk to several young aftermarket professionals stepping into leadership roles within their family owned businesses. 

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What does it take to lead an aftermarket business today in this fast-paced global business climate, while also maintaining the foundation and culture one’s forefathers worked so hard to build? The young professionals we spoke with all make it look easy, as they step up to the plate each day, ready to lead with optimism and hope for the future, married with a profound respect for the past. 

According to Business Week, about 40% of U.S. family-owned businesses transition into second-generation businesses, approximately 13% are passed down successfully to a third generation, while only 3% survive to a fourth or beyond. Remarkably, all but one of the young leaders we interviewed for this month’s cover story are third- and fourth-generation in their family businesses.

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.”                     

    – The Godfather

As we read headlines about the “Great Resignation” and the rapid changes taking place in today’s employment climate, knowing that the aftermarket is comprised largely of stable, family-oriented businesses with a long history bodes well for the industry’s ability to continue to attract and retain talented professionals. Knowing they will be treated like family only helps to cement the deal. If you weren’t fortunate enough to be born into a family business, the aftermarket has plenty that are ready to welcome you with open arms.

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