Building a Career on a Foundation of Support: Spotlight on Jeff Austin
Jeff Austin took a love of cars and technology and made it into a successful aftermarket career. But he recognizes that passion and skill aren’t the be all and end all of making it. He counts himself lucky to have had a number of industry mentors show him the ropes and keep him on track. Now, with the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket (YPA) Committee, he’s excited to do the same for the next generation of aftermarket professionals.
Regional Sales Director for Atlantic Canada
Years in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry: 4
Did you know you wanted to work in the automotive aftermarket?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an automotive technician however I started my career at Costco where I held multiple management positions in their stores. When the opportunity arose to join the automotive industry, I jumped on it as cars and technology are certainly a passion of mine. In the four years of being in the industry I have had the chance to meet some highly talented individuals and learning experiences that have strengthened my career exponentially, and for that I am grateful.
How long have you been a part of the YPA Committee?
This is my first year with the organization and look forward to many more.
Have you had an industry mentor? If so, who and why?
To be able to identify just one mentor in the aftermarket is pretty difficult as there have been many over the past four years. Our membership in Atlantic Canada has some very strong entrepreneurs that have exponentially helped my career growth, learning curve and it has helped position myself to better understand their business needs and demands. Within Uni-Select I have also met some great mentors across the nation that have helped build a solid foundation to focus on growth and member service.
What advice would you give someone either starting in the industry or looking to transition into the industry?
The industry is full of opportunities for those who seek it. No matter where you end up in the aftermarket you will be surrounded by a strong support group of people that want to see you succeed and grow.
What does your participation in the YPA Committee mean to you? What would you like to see us, as a committee, achieve in the years to come?
To be a part of the YPA Committee is a certainly a great opportunity to help develop and grow the automotive aftermarket employee pool. The ability to talk to students and show them the vast opportunities in the aftermarket is certainly rewarding. Over the next few years, we hope to grow the automotive aftermarket industry as a whole and introduce the up-and-coming stars to amazing career opportunities.
In Canada, Uni-Select supports over 16,000 automotive repair and collision repair shops and more than 4,000 shops through its automotive repair/installer shop banners and automotive refinish banners. Its national network includes over 1,000 independent customer locations and more than 75 company-operated stores, many of which operate under the Uni-Select BUMPER TO BUMPER®, AUTO PARTS PLUS® and FINISHMASTER® store banner programs.
Find out more about careers at Uni-Select.
About the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket
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.