Taking a passion for cars into account: Spotlight on Dave Legg
You do not need to be a car person to get a job in the aftermarket, but sometimes it helps. When Dave Legg went in for a job interview with Group Monaco, it was for a position in finance – far away from the shop floor. But when his interest in cars came up during the interview, the deal was sealed. Now, being involved with the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket (YPA) Committee, Dave wants to make sure that everyone – regardless of whether they can change their own oil or not – can find a place in the auto care industry.
Chief Operating Officer, Regional Automotive Warehousing
Years in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry: 11 years
How long have you worked in the automotive industry? How many of those years are in the automotive aftermarket?
I’ve worked in the automotive aftermarket for 11 years now, all for Regional Automotive. Prior to joining Regional I worked for 7 years in the barbecue and fireplace industry. I’ve noticed many similarities including how passionate the people working in these industries are about their products. They are true enthusiasts.
What company do you currently work for and what is your position?
I was initially hired to work for Regional Automotive as a Senior Accountant for two of their recently acquired corporate jobber stores. In a short time, we created a centralized and standardized administrative and corporate governance structure which allowed us to acquire three more jobber stores and easily migrate them onto this blueprint for success. During my time as Senior Accountant, the business owners afforded me the freedom to not only provide financial reporting, but to use my observations of the business operations to improve operational efficiency and evolve for the future. As we scaled up, a talented accounting and administration team was built allowing me to function more as a General Manager to our warehouse and five jobber stores. Today I hold the title of Chief Operating Officer at Regional, taking the helm as one of the business owners transitions to retirement.
Where did you attend school? What is the highest level of education?
I attended Algonquin College in Ottawa and completed a 3-year diploma in Business Administration, majoring in accounting. I wasn’t sure what my career path would be, but knew I liked the idea of business management, and understanding the numbers would be a key skill.
Did you know you wanted to work in the automotive aftermarket?
I always had an interest in cars but didn’t have a plan to make a career in automotive nor did I know how diverse those career options could be. In my teenage years and early 20s I was learning as I went, spending my paycheques on bolt-on on aftermarket performance accessories and doing minor repairs to the various 4-cylinder import cars I’ve owned. I got involved in some local car clubs and tried autocross for a little while. It was by random chance that a mutual acquaintance in the accounting field referred me to the Senior Accountant opening with Regional Automotive. When my interest in cars was discussed during the job interview and I fielded their inquiries about the unreliability of the rotary engine RX-8 I was driving at the time, I’m sure it made me a strong candidate (and likely a frequent parts customer) in their minds.
How long have you been a part of the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee?
I joined the YPA Committee in early 2021, mainly to the credit of Kathryn Jones who was Chair of the YPA Committee at the time. I knew Kathryn from back when she was a fantastic DSM for Tenneco calling on us at Regional, so I was able to learn from her what the AIA Canada YPA Committee was all about and realized what a great opportunity it presented.
What does your participation in the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket Committee mean to you? What would you like to see us, as a committee, achieve in the years to come?
Like many of my YPA Committee colleagues, I think we value the opportunities the committee gives us to network and collaborate with our peers, meet, and learn from fantastic industry mentors throughout the AIA Canada membership, and feel like the young and upcoming voices have a valued say in the future of our industry. I think the YPA Committee’s primary mandate for many years to come should remain recruiting new talent to the automotive aftermarket. It can’t be said enough times, there are so many rewarding and lucrative career paths, desirable skill sets, and sub-industries to the aftermarket that there is a place for anyone. The talent vacuum is real, so the YPA Committee needs to convince the next generation to want to apply their gifts to the automotive aftermarket.
Have you had an industry mentor?
Given the large size of the Monaco Group I’ve had a chance to work with many top-talent individuals of diverse backgrounds and skill sets from several areas of the automotive aftermarket. I always try to learn and absorb equally from everyone I meet.
What is one of your proudest moments in your career so far?
It’s not a single moment, but a cumulative effect. Every day I go to work, I can see the fruits of my labour in the harmony of teams we have and the successes the businesses are having thanks to everyone’s collective effort. I carry a quiet pride knowing the contribution I made to building that foundation and fostering that environment. It’s about setting up your colleagues for success.
What is one of the biggest and/or most difficult lessons you have had to learn as a young professional?
That you can’t please everyone. When you’re young and trying to make your mark, you want to ride a successive string of victories, to seek approval from everyone, and to never screw up. It’s not going to happen. Mistakes and failures are awesome. Nobody likes disappointment, but when you’re uncomfortable, or faced with negative feedback or adversity, it’s true that this is when you learn the most. To grow yourself, review those hard times in your mind, learn, and embrace them. Have no regrets for mistakes. They were wins because you grew.
What advice would you give someone either starting in the industry or looking to transition into the industry?
Just do it! Once you’re in, you’ll find your niche. See what roles fit your strengths and interests and observe where the experienced and talented people are around you. Try to find a spot where you are surrounded by those willing to share their wealth of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to randomly approach people anywhere in the industry for advice, including those on the YPA Committee.
A few last fun questions to get to know you better.
Make and model of your first car?
1992 Mazda Protege
Do you collect anything?
What is the best professional development book you have ever read?
“Never split the difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it” by Chris Voss
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
Going for a long-distance run
Where is the next place on your travel bucket list?
About Regional Automotive Warehousing Ltd.
Regional Automotive opened in 1993 as a warehouse distributor of automotive parts and equipment located in Ottawa. Regional is part of the Monaco Group which is headquartered in Montreal and maintains large distribution warehouses in Montreal and Toronto as well. Regional is proud to support its five corporate jobber stores in Ottawa, Gatineau, and Kingston, as well as many independent auto parts wholesalers and retailers throughout Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.
Find out more about careers at Monaco Group.
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.