From delivering parts to delivering legal advice: Spotlight on Tara Hammer
Tara Hammer worked in the automotive aftermarket part time to help pay for law school. Most people would think that, once she graduated, that would be the end of her aftermarket career. Think again. Now working as the General Counsel for Lordco Auto Parts, she is proof positive that the aftermarket industry has a career path for everyone in a variety of fields.
General Counsel, Lordco Auto Parts
Years in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry: 28 years
What company do you currently work for and what is your position?
I am General Counsel and the Vice President Legal at Lordco Auto Parts. I started working for Lordco in 1996 as a parts delivery driver. From there I worked on the parts counter for four years during my undergrad degree and in the summers during law school, I worked for our founder Ed Coates. After I articled in Victoria, British Columbia, I came back to Lordco in 2007 to take over as General Counsel.
Where did you attend school? What is the highest level of education?
I attended the University of Victoria for my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History, and then went to the University of Alberta where I earned my Bachelor of Law (LLB).
Did you know you wanted to work in the automotive aftermarket?
To be honest, the last place I thought I would find a career was the automotive aftermarket. I have zero mechanical skills but I love researching, problem-solving and dealing with customers, so it didn’t take me long to recognize I could apply these skills to a number of different positions within our organization.
The number one reason I work in the aftermarket industry is the team atmosphere at Lordco; it is more like an extended family than colleagues. The aftermarket industry is so dynamic, there is always something interesting around the corner, be it advances in technology, regulatory changes, the increasing pressures on our workforce and customers the list goes on; the evolving challenges that help keep things fresh and engaging.
How long have you been part of the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket?
I believe I first joined in 2018.
What does your participation in the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee mean to you?
I really enjoy meeting colleagues from across the country and from different organizations. It is an extremely collegial environment. Over the years, I have made some great connections and enjoy watching my committee members continue to progress and grow in the industry.
Have you had an industry mentor? If so, who and why?
Yes, the biggest influence on my professional life was Ed Coates, Lordco’s founder. He was so driven and so incredibly attuned to his business. There were times when I would walk away from a meeting or a conversation awe-inspired by his business acumen and ability to see 10 steps ahead.;
What advice would you give someone either starting in the industry or looking to transition into the industry?
That the automotive aftermarket industry is amazingly diverse, there are so many different opportunities beyond the traditional roles. It offers something for everyone.
A few last fun questions to get to know you better.
Make & model of your first car?
1986 Honda Prelude – one flip up head light stuck up.
What are you terrible at, but love to do anyway?
Do you collect anything?
I leave that to my husband, he collects everything.
What is the best professional development book you’ve ever read?
I have never read a professional development book. In my experience listening and engaging with people I respect and admire has been much more productive.
About Lordco Auto Parts
Founders Roy Lord and Ed Coates, the “Lord” and “co” in Lordco Auto Parts, opened the door to their first location in 1974, in Maple Ridge, British Columbia (BC), Canada, and quickly established a reputation for selling reputable auto parts and for offering exceptional customer service. From their humble 900 square foot beginning, they have grown to become Canada’s biggest privately held automotive parts distributor and Western Canada’s biggest distributor and retailer of aftermarket parts.
Find out more about careers at Lordco.
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.