Student Aftermarket Day 2023: A how-to on creating individual career paths 

November 23, 2023

The 2023 Student Aftermarket Day was a success! On November 22nd,  the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) and its Young Professionals in the Auto care sector (YPA) Committee organized a Career showcase and informative sessions to provide students with the opportunity to explore careers in the automotive aftermarket. It was a packed day, to say the least! 

Jean-François Champagne, president and CEO of AIA Canada, kicked off the day with a session about successfully navigating Canada’s auto care sector.  

“The aftermarket is an essential service. While during the pandemic, there were not as many cars being made or sold. However, vehicles on the road still needed to be maintained to ensure people were still able to get to where they needed to be. So, working in the automotive aftermarket is an essential part of the economy, making it a very resilient industry.” 

While the industry is resilient, it is changing, says Jean-François Champagne. “Vehicles of today are computers on wheels, and this trend will continue to amplify, thereby the industry relying increasingly on data to maintain and repair vehicles.” 

Shortly after, students were able to hear from three Automotive Business School of Canada (ASBC) alumni, Costa Haitas, president of The Mufflerman, Devin TerMarsh, strategic account manager at Tenneco, and Stephanie Cooney-Mann, general sales manager at UAP Inc., to learn about their own individual career paths and journey after they graduated.  

“There are many different courses available—I encourage you to explore and take as many courses as you can!” says Stephanie Cooney-Mann.  

“Being a student here gave me the foundation to grow my entrepreneurial college. I started my own company three years after graduation, all thanks to the skills I learned at ABSC.” said Costa Haitas. 

Speaking of presentations, Devin TerMarsh emphasized the importance of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. “Every time I needed to present in class, I hated it, but it is a skill set you need to learn and develop.” 

Following the alumni panel, students were able to browse booths at the Career showcase and get up close and personal with key industry players, such as MANN+HUMMEL, Carquest Canada, Fountain Tire, and the Canadian Tire Corporation! Students had the opportunity to learn about various career paths, get to know different auto care sector employers, and gain different perspectives on what it is like to work in the auto care sector.  

After lunch, students learned about how they can create the career they want—and one they are passionate about! Presented by Shannon Langsford, director of human resources and operations at Mevotech, students had the opportunity to figure out how to utilize their talents and carve their own successful and unique career paths. 

“We all have areas we have to work on, though we want to understand our strengths and use them to offset our weaknesses. Ask for feedback to identify your strengths. Feedback is a gift. It is what you do with it that matters.” 

And when it comes to career development, she encourages people to take on new opportunities, but within reason. “Never say no to an opportunity to learn, but be mindful of your own workload, and do not sacrifice your position’s performance. Succeed at the job you have and develop from there.” 

Soon after, the Best-in-class presentations winners were announced. The topic for this year was electric vehicles (EVs) in transition. Students were asked to conduct research on items, like human resources (HR), marketing, finances, technologies, environmental impacts, and more.  

The winning presentation, completed by Adeline Forget, John Bracket, and Flynn Barrett, focused on environmental impacts of EVs and how it connected to the automotive aftermarket.  

Closing out the sessions of the day, Saar Haimovici, automotive operations manager at the Canadian Tire Corporation, talked about the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs), the future of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and what auto care shops can do to stay ahead of the curve.  

“Surveyed insights from customer panelists showed that both EV and ICE owners choose aftermarket services based on quality, trust, and reputation.” says Haimovici. “As we transition to EVs, awareness of customer preferences are more important than ever.” 

Student Aftermarket Day ended with more networking and exciting prize draws. Until next year!  


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