Moving forward, together, with David Pley
Registered Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), car enthusiast, and experienced strategy and finance leader, David Pley is not new to the auto care industry. Knowing the importance of building strong relationships to foster innovation, David Pley recently joined the Young Professionals in the Auto care sector (YPA) community to expand his network, collaborate, and drive the industry forward.
David Pley, Director of Strategy & Insights at UAP
At a glance
- Name: David Pley
- Job title and company: Director of Strategy & Insights at UAP
- Years of experience: Just over seven years of experience in the industry
- Years in YPA: Approximately one year
What inspired you to work in the auto care sector?
I was inspired to work in the auto care sector from a young age, where I developed a strong passion for cars. I grew up working on my grandfather’s and my own vehicles and attending car shows since elementary school. I was always fascinated with the performance, design, and innovation that goes into them.
As I progressed in my career, I joined Toyota/Lexus Canada where I was able to combine my love for cars with my skills in strategy, but always felt drawn to go back. When I later had the opportunity to join UAP, I immediately knew that this is not only the company I want to join, but also the industry I feel most connected with.
I truly love this industry and sector—centered among everything are genuine relationships and passionate people like me, all of which make it so unique and special. It is stable, mature, and growing, yet offers numerous opportunities for innovation and transformation, which makes it very exciting.
I currently work for UAP, as Director, Strategy & Insights, where I help enable the organization to strategically evolve for the future, through growth, optimization, and transformation. My team’s responsibilities include corporate strategy and planning, market strategy, strategic initiative execution, and market and business intelligence. Our scope is all Canadian banners, including NAPA Auto Parts, CMAX, Altrom/Auto-Camping, Traction, Cadel, and Master Sourcing.
You are involved in the YPA community—what does it mean to you?
Being involved in the YPA is an excellent opportunity to network with others, learn from industry events and professionals, and expand your knowledge and participate in discussions on key elements and shaping our sector. Through my involvement with the YPA, I have expanded my network exponentially and been a part of some insightful conferences, both of which have supported my development.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in the industry?
Be curious, ask questions, and learn. Doing this helps you expand your understanding and provide a holistic perspective, learn from one another’s skills, and possibly identify where there may be opportunities or gaps. All of this supports your personal growth but can also spark creativity and lead to innovation.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of developing and utilizing relationships. Do not just focus on meeting others, but rather, get to know them authentically. You never know when you may need help from others, whether that is collaboration, advice, career advancement, or support, having a strong network will help you in so many ways.
Also, be open to challenging the status quo. Be willing to roll up your sleeves and take action to make a difference—go the extra mile to do things better! There is almost always an opportunity to provide a different perspective, apply critical thinking skills, and adapt for a better tomorrow. Valuable change often comes from pushing the boundaries and trying new things.
About UAP Inc.
UAP Inc. is the leading distributor of automotive parts and replacements for vehicles in Canada. With two divisions, one focusing on auto parts, and the other focusing on heavy vehicle parts, UAP aims to provide parts and accessories for all Canadians.
About the Young Professionals in the Auto care sector
Young Professionals in the Auto care sector (YPA) is an Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) community comprising of young executives, of 45 years or younger, in the Canadian auto care sector. They support the career growth of young professionals by expanding their network and assisting them in becoming a thought leader in Canada’s auto care industry.