Spotlight on the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee’s new Chair, Patrick Verriet
The new Chair of the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee (YPA), Patrick Verriet, has always thought of the aftermarket as something like an onion. “You’ve got to peel back a little bit to see what you can do in it.”
Patrick himself has more than a few layers, as well. A Key Account Manager with MANN+HUMMEL Filtration Technology, he has over 18 years of leadership, sales, and customer service experience. While his new position with the YPA Committee finds him mentoring young aftermarket professionals, he previously guided Canada’s future leaders in the Canadian Cadet program, serving 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.
He is a member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, and has been a member of the YPA Committee since 2017.
A father, raising two growing boys with his wife in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Patrick is also an avid cyclist who likes to give back to his community. Through all that, he still found time to graduate from the Leadership 2.0 program and earn his Automotive Aftermarket Professional Designation from Northwood University, in March of this year.
Given all that, Patrick’s drive and dedication is evident to anyone. It’s that drive and dedication that he looks to bring to his tenure as the YPA Committee chair.
Path to the aftermarket
Even though he came from an automotive aftermarket family — his father worked for Wix Filters in a variety of roles, retiring after 34 years – Patrick wasn’t initially inclined to join the industry. Instead, he studied industrial firefighting protection, which lead to a job in safety equipment sales with Acklands-Grainger.
“My dad had a lot of success in the aftermarket industry but was never one to say, ‘This is what you’re going to do when you get older.’”
But when a position opened at Wix’s parent company, MANN+HUMMEL, Patrick’s father suggested he throw his hat in the ring. “It was a better part of six or seven month before I said, ‘Ok, let’s see where this goes.’” That was back in 2016 and Patrick has been with MANN+HUMMEL ever since.
“It’s probably been the best move I could have made in my career. I’m really enjoying it.”
Attracting talent to the industry
Despite coming from an aftermarket family, Patrick calls his entry into the industry a bit of a left turn. Even fully aware of the career potentials, Patrick, like many young professionals, wasn’t immediately attracted to the industry. That’s something he’d like to change.
“Why wouldn’t someone be interested in this industry – this massive part of the Canadian economy?”
When it comes to attracting young talent, the aftermarket suffers from a lack of visibility. Patrick sees promoting the potential career paths to the next generation of graduates as a key function of the YPA Committee.
“It’s important that we’re attracting and retaining people in all parts of the market.”
Building on the success of the Student Aftermarket Day at Georgian College, Patrick wants to grow the outreach the YPA Committee is doing to other schools across the country. He’s excited by the recent success bringing the YPA Committee’s message to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and he’s looking to expand. “I’d like to see more and more. What other institutions are out there?”
Taking the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee national
Expanding the YPA Committee’s outreach to students across the country goes arm-in-arm with taking the committee itself to a broader, national audience.
“Historically, when I joined, it was centered in Ontario and the GTA. So we’ve really tried to scale that out nationally. And we’ve been really great about that. That’s one thing I’d like to continue to grow for the committee.”
Patrick is quick to praise outgoing Chair, Kathryn Jones, for expanding the reach of the committee, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 travel restrictions. “She had a very difficult tenure because her entire time as chair was virtual. She really did a great job of keeping the committee members engaged, but also growing at the same time.”
To a degree, going virtual may have had a positive impact on building a national footprint, helping put everyone on an equal footing, regardless of whether they were across town or across the country. Now, with the move back to face-to-face meetings, Patrick thinks the rapport built during virtual meetings will translate to even stronger in-person engagement. He hopes to see more successful gatherings, like the one recently held at the AIA Canada Annual General Meeting.
Adapting the committee to an online format over the past two years is an excellent illustration of the flexibility and comfort with new technology that young aftermarket professionals bring to the industry. But Patrick insists that the older generation still has a lot to share.
When speaking of the wealth of knowledge and experience currently in the aftermarket, Patrick thinks back to his father. “Some of the people have been in this industry for years and years and years. I go back to my dad with 34 years at the same company. You don’t hear of that anymore. I think it’s important, from a mentorship perspective, to try to hold on to some of the lessons learned.”
Patrick sees this as one of the key functions of the YPA —acting as an intermediary between the new generation and the old. “We have a unique challenge from a two-pronged approach — getting new, young people into this industry, but also engaging those people in the aftermarket that are possibly nearing retirement. Just sitting down and soaking up as much as you can, so we can have some continuity, so to speak.”
Building continuity into the committee
Patrick feels strongly that the committee, like the industry, needs to build continuity into its basic structure. As membership grows and expands, Patrick feels it’s time to reassess the committee’s governance. He likens it to succession planning.
“Right now, we choose a chair but past that, there’s nothing. It would be nice to have somebody in the wings to ensure that the continuity of the committee and the leadership continues. It also provides structure to the committee – a better foundation in order for us to get larger.”
Planning for the future
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Patrick is looking towards the future, beyond his stint as YPA chair. Mentoring — whether it is with cadets through the Armed Forces or with professionals entering the industry — is about looking at the bigger picture and working towards a common goal. For Patrick, when it comes to the YPA, that common goal is a strong and vibrant aftermarket that is a first-choice career path for young professionals.
“I think the YPA is the most professional group of passionate individuals in this industry I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. And I think now, more than ever, we are going to be the advocates for people to take an interest in this industry. Going back to my onion analogy, we’re going to peel back some of these layers so people understand what the aftermarket is really about. And hopefully attract the next generation of talent to the aftermarket.”