I was born/grew up in: Born in Grande Prairie, AB. In my first 20 years of life, I spent half on the farm north of Sexsmith, AB and the other half in Hughenden, AB.
I now live in: I now live in Wake Forest, North Carolina with a Permanent Residency card even though I am a Canadian Citizen.
I completed my training/education at:
Keller School of Management, Devry University Graduated - Fall 2009
Master of Business Administration, MBA
National Louis University Graduated – Spring 2006
Bachelor of Science in Business Management, BS
College of Dupage Graduated – Spring 2004
Associate in Business Management & Marketing, AS
Describe what you do at work.
Dill Air Controls manufactures a variety of tools and materials used to inflate tires, keep them inflated, or to test tire pressure. This includes valve stems and related hardware, air inflation/measurement devices, hand tools, and tire pressure monitoring systems. We sell these to a variety of industries including consumer automobiles, motorsports, RV and trucking industries.
A large part of my daily role is listening to what the customer is saying or asking. If I am unsure of the direction or their needs, I repeat back a brief summary of what they stated and usually followed by a couple ideas. I am a firm believer if I am unsure of a solution, it is okay to push the pause button and provide the customer with a timeline of when I will follow-up. This may mean I have to do online research, in-lab testing of a product, or developing a new educational aid or template for them. Sometimes it will mean I have to review an internal process to identify a missing step. Bottom line, I’m trying to help our customers solve problems or issues they have.
When creating, testing or performing due diligence to help solve a problem or find a solution, I rely heavily on Science and Math to achieve success. For example, once an item has been designed and tested, I can confidently apply this information in different ways to provide our customers with a clear oversight and understanding of the item. It does not mean I perform endless calculating. Often it involves reading a few articles and navigating through with more basic math formulas.
I travel for work approximately 50-60% of the time. This adds a challenging element to the mix of managing projects, responding to customers, and frankly staying organized. When you are on the move and have limited resources (i.e. WIFI, company server access, time zone changes), these things are all more challenging. Staying creative and planning ahead are personal development areas that I continue to try and improve. I do this through reflecting on positive and negative past learnings.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
I am fortunate to have a naturally high level of energy. I try to inject others with it when coaching or simply sharing ideas with them. Daily success is treating others with respect and fairness and delivering a service or product that simplifies and improves the end result. This is not only personally fulfilling, at the same time it increases the size of your personal toolbox that increases with your custom skillsets.
Success is when I look back at a company or person and see that they are achieving something bigger than before. I like to think that is partially due to some of my involvement or leadership.
What motivates you in your career?
Reaching out to people and connecting with them voluntarily is one of the most rewarding things in my career. I am thrilled when someone new reaches out to me and we get to discuss something we both have interest in. I like to share the following line at times because I know it helps each person move onward. “Number me and I stay boxed. Engage me and we will conquer challenges together, today and tomorrow.”
The other part of my career that motivates me is the flexibility to be creative. Creativity is and can be used in so many ways. Explore, experiment and share it. If your gut feels strong about it, push onward and upward. If it does not allow the success you originally thought, at least you have real-life learnings to build from. Using this type of mindset allows me to push the bar and better understand what is best for my customers and the industry.
My automotive career path has allowed many choices. And as vehicle technology changes at the unprecedented rate as it is now, the future is going to open an unbelievable map of paths to pursue. The best part is that these paths will use the 4 keys to STEM. The cool side is you can choose how much of Science and Technology and less of maybe the engineering and math side or vice versa. There are endless opportunities opening up right now. This allows you to maximize your interests and most valuable skillsets to explore your own mix using with the 4 STEM disciplines.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
Reflecting back on my career path is quite humbling to me. Growing up as a hard-shoveling farm boy, is what I believed would take me to success. I was not keen nor focused in high school so I played off my energy, ability to speak/create a bond with anyone and physical get-r-done attitude.
I had a few short ups and quite a few longer downs immediately following high school. I started my own business immediately after school. There were a lot of struggles and challenges. This taught me some real basic understandings in life. Without realizing it, I was on a journey to figure out what I was good at and what I wanted to do with my life.
In a short time period, I found myself in Chicago changing tires in the back of an automotive shop. I was still struggling with trying to decide what to I wanted to do. My skillsets and positive attitude allowed me to grow and earn larger roles with the Tire and Service Center. Committing to a family relatively quickly started the framework of my pursuit for higher education; for them and also for personal achievements.
Almost 9 years later of challenging night classes and weekends of homework commitment, I was able to continue excelling in the automotive industry with an MBA. The people I worked with and my growing family were all extremely influential in the times when I needed it but did not recognize it till later on. I did not go alone and over time, I realized I needed to ask for others support. The many leaders, coaches and visionaries I have met, listened to, and learned from are endless. I will continue to share the inspiration and wisdom with others as they did upon me.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Family time is the best time! It honestly does not matter what I am really doing as long as I am creating memories with any extension of family or close friends. I am passionate for the outdoors. From hiking, camping, hunting, to watching/playing hockey or simply unwinding by playing board games with my kids.
I am an active volunteer and am grateful for the opportunities and relationships it continues to provide. Most notably, it allows me another way to give back and help the next generation of experts considering or entering the Automotive Industry. I work closely with the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA MAP), as well as the in-coming chair for the Wheel and Tire Council with SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Apply yourself with integrity. Always be increasing your knowledge thru research or education. Own your problems in good and bad. This will build your confidence and competence, a leadership must that will take you places you cannot understand today.
Work on mastering a numbers software program (i.e. Microsoft Excel). Data will help you in any role and also provides an excellent way to analyze further. Patience – own it.
Do not sever relationships because it’s a simple path; take the high road because you can. What you cannot conceptualize today, will come back in your favor later along your career trail. People remember people and you have the choice.
Listen and respect others perspectives when different or not.
Be Kind and Own Your Journey!
Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) is proud to partner with Let's Talk Science to help shed light on the many interesting STEM related careers available in the automotive aftermarket industry. From the skilled trades to management positions, this industry offers exciting opportunities in a number of areas.
AIA Canada is a national association representing the $21.6 billion automotive aftermarket industry comprising of companies that manufacture, distribute, and install automotive replacement parts, accessories, tools, and equipment. The industry currently employs up to 400,000 people from coast-to-coast.