Finding Family in the Aftermarket Industry: Spotlight on Nathaniel Willsie

March 9, 2021

Nathaniel Willsie’s story is almost a bit of a cliché – the successful young professional who never thought he would be working in the automotive aftermarket. But thanks to mentorships and the connections built through the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket (YPA) Committee, Nathaniel has come to feel like the aftermarket industry is family.

Nathaniel Willsie

Territory Manager (SK, MB, NW Ontario)

Grote Industries

Years in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry: 5

Where did you attend school? And what is the highest level of education?

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Did you know you wanted to work in the automotive aftermarket?

I never thought I would be working in the automotive aftermarket industry four years ago, but it has been the most incredible career change as a “young professional”.

How long have you been part of the YPA Committee?

I joined the YPA Committee in the spring of 2019.

What does your participation in the YPA Committee mean to you?

I believe that mentorship and networking with like-minded and passionate people are important experiences to help me grow my leadership skills as a young professional in the industry. As a “newbie” to the YPA Committee, I hope to network and continue to grow professionally as a positive advocate in attracting new generations to this industry. Being involved in AIA Canada and the YPA Committee have helped me further understand the industry and continues to be a cornerstone as I grow within my current role and gain experience.

Have you had an industry mentor? If so, who and why?

I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors in my life, both within and outside the industry. Someone well known to the industry, Mike Marchese was previously mentoring me with my past employer. Today, it was because of that mentorship that I am now working for Grote Industries.

Any advice you would give someone either starting in the industry or looking to transition to into the industry?

Get involved, find a committee like the YPA and/or a mentor and begin building those important networks. This industry is like a family; be yourself, work hard and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

About Grote Industries

Grote Industries is a leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of lighting products and safety systems for a variety of heavy duty trucks and trailers, vocational and passenger vehicles, plus lighting in industries such as agriculture, mining, forestry, construction, emergency/rescue, municipal, recreational, and military. Grote engineers and manufactures LED, fluorescent, and incandescent interior lamps, exterior stop/tail/turn signal and marker lamps, as well as mirrors, power and communication delivery systems, connections, and reflective accessories.

Find out more about careers at Grote Industries.


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.  



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