Aftermarket career growth driven by different perspectives: Spotlight on Andrew Ionescu
As a young professional, Andrew Ionescu’s career has quickly grown and has resulted in many great accomplishments. He credits his success to his different perspectives resembling those of the end users rather than of the industry veterans. Andrew feels passionate about giving a voice to young professionals in the automotive industry and sharing his experiences and strategies to revitalize the auto care sector.
Global Business Development Manager at Hunter Engineering Company
How long have you worked in the automotive industry?
I am relatively new to automotive as I have only joined this industry two years ago.
What company do you currently work for? What is your position?
I am currently working as Hunter Engineering’s Global Business Development Manager, overseeing both North American and international growth projects. My main focus is to develop new ideas and tools to help both Hunter and our partners succeed in every area of their business.
I started as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Hunter Canada in June 2021, and after many examples of going above and beyond as well as a show of passion for the company and industry, I was promoted to my current position in April of 2022.
Where did you attend school? What is the highest level of education?
Bachelor of Business Administration – Wilfrid Laurier University in 2018
Master of Business Administration (MBA) – McMaster University in 2021
Did you know you wanted to work in the automotive aftermarket?
Two years ago, I did not think twice about what happened to my car when I gave it to a shop. I knew I had to do an oil change every so often and to hand over the car to a mechanic when the check engine light turned on. I joined Hunter Engineering after I finished my MBA as it was the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the job I was supposed to go back to had been dissolved—so I decided that it might be a good opportunity to try something new. I had no experience in the industry, but I was and still am willing to learn and so I spend a large portion of my time absorbing as much information as possible from all the amazing people around me.
How long have you been part of the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket community?
About nine months.
What does your participation in the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket community mean to you? What would you like to see us as a committee achieve in years to come?
The Young Professionals in the Aftermarket (YPA) community is the future of the industry. By giving a platform and voice to young professionals, the YPA community and AIA Canada are ensuring that we can think about and plan for problems/opportunities that will present themselves long after most of the current industry spokespeople have retired. A lot of the people I work with were born in a different generation than myself and may have different priorities, so it is important for me to connect with people that are in similar situations as myself.
I really like witnessing the current push towards educating people on the exciting prospects that automotive aftermarket can bring and why careers in this space should be at the top of people’s radar.
Have you had an industry mentor? If so, who and why?
I owe a lot of my early success in this industry to John Peron. He took a chance and hired me, a young business kid that thought tires were changed with a hammer and a crowbar if asked (some people reading this might still be doing this to be fair), instead of the 99 per cent of others applying for the jobs that were ex mechanics or people from similar companies. He then immediately threw me in the deep end by asking me to present my ideas to executives at our large partner companies and in front of hundreds of people at conferences. He pushed me into difficult situations (always making sure to support if needed) because he believed in me and the potential that I had. Although John is no longer my manager, the values he taught me about hard work, doing the right thing no matter what, and always thinking outside the box are mindsets that I learned from him and use every day in my personal and professional life.
What is one of your proudest moments in your career so far?
I have travelled all over North America for tradeshows and meetings, but as my title suggests I have a global outlook. My proudest moment was to attend and present at Automechanika 2022 in Germany and to broaden my understanding of the industry from only looking at what is going on in my own backyard to how the entire world is looking at the developments in the industry. I met with dozens of industry leaders, and I am proud to know that some of my work is having a large beneficial impact for our partners across the whole world.
What is one of the biggest and/or most difficult lessons you have had to learn as a young professional?
The automotive industry, especially the automotive aftermarket segment is still in an “old school” mentality, although I can see huge strides being made to revitalize and re-energize using new technology and methods. As a young professional, a few people that I met looked at me for my age or experience instead of what I was saying or bringing to the table. I learned that sometimes it takes more time and persistence to get “old school” people to think differently, but it is possible! I try to back up anything I say with facts and evidence so that it is not just me saying something, it is the facts that are telling the story, and I am just highlighting the parts that matter most. When using this approach, I find that people come to the same conclusions that I am trying to make, but they are more likely to implement things because they thought of it.
What advice would you give someone either starting in the industry or looking to transition into the industry?
My biggest weakness coming into the industry was also one of my biggest strengths. I think my lack of knowledge of automotive services and parts is not so different than most of the automotive industry’s end users, and so I was able to bring a perspective to my work and to my colleagues that they might not have thought about otherwise. I had to spend a lot of time and effort to catch up and be able to have a confident conversation about undercar services, but this industry is way too vast and there are so many niches, that there will always be someone that knows more about something. My advice to someone new would be to try and use that to your advantage by questioning everything and giving people a perspective that makes sense, but that they may not have thought about.
A few last fun questions to get to know you better.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
Sports (playing and watching).
Where is the next place on your travel bucket list?
The Fjords of Norway.
What is something you are excited about right now?
What causes are you passionate about?
About Hunter Engineering Company
Hunter Engineering is the world leader in alignment, wheel and tire service, inspection and ADAS calibration equipment. Hunter fields the largest dedicated consulting and support force in the undercar service industry with 400+ independent business consultants and 450+ independent service representatives. Most importantly, Hunter’s innovation team is the largest wheel service engineering staff in the world with over 120+ engineers and support staff. Whether in a dealership or an aftermarket shop for any undercar service, you can always trust that the job will be done right with Hunter equipment.
Find out more about careers at Hunter Engineering Company®.
About the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee
Young Professionals in the Aftermarket (YPA) is an Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) committee comprising of young executives, of 45 years or younger, in the Canadian auto care sector. The Committee’s mandate is to ensure the future growth and prosperity of the aftermarket industry.