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AMN Drivetime

Babcox Media

The AMN Drivetime podcast will entertain and educate listeners, conversing with today’s top aftermarket drivers and industry leaders who are having an impact on the automotive aftermarket industry. This bi-monthly podcast offers candid, one-on-one conversations between Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox and notable figures in the automotive aftermarket, sharing their experiences and life lessons as they have traveled the aftermarket.


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In this latest episode of AMN Drivetime, Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox sits down with John Lussier, president of Tendeco Sales Inc., under which the Litens brand resides. In the interview, the two executives talk about a variety of important industry issues – from supply chain challenges to sourcing, R&D, OE heritage, international business and more.
Having been born in Argentina and educated in Venezuela, Lussier says that experience has certainly helped him lead an international business however, he points out that the continued value proposition of the “Made in the U.S.A.” still holds weight around the globe.
“For me personally, in my automotive career, it's helped me a lot into understanding other cultures and how that might benefit and learn to work together. Obviously, it's a very important thing,” Lussier said. Yet he also shared, “... having grown up in South America and then subsequently moved to the United States, I learned early on what it meant to be ‘made in the United States,’ because that translates into quality around the world.”
In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill and John also dive into the following topics:
00: 56 Litens history and its involvement in the invention of the tensioner
04:25 The vehicle technologies Lussier is keeping a close eye on today
6:36 How growing up in Latin America informs Lussier’s his role as an international business leader today
8:08 Just how many languages does Lussier speak?
8:10 What “made in the U.S.A.” really means to Lussier
9:23 How Litens manages today’s continuing supply chain challenges
10:55 The importance of R&D and how Litens differentiates itself in the market
13:09 Diving into the details of having “OE heritage”
14:40 Funny stories from the road
16:35 The popular and insightful Lightning Round
The AMN Drivetime podcast entertains and educates listeners, conversing with today’s top aftermarket drivers and industry leaders who are having an impact on the automotive aftermarket industry. This bi-monthly podcast offers candid, one-on-one conversations between Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox and notable figures in the automotive aftermarket, sharing their experiences and life lessons as they have traveled the aftermarket.
Bill Babcox is the third generation to run the Akron, Ohio-based media business and not only has a number of great stories and insights to share, but also has had the good fortune to get to know a number of fascinating people in the automotive aftermarket today. Tune in to these captivating conversations covering topics ranging from key industry issues to the deep personal insights developed over years of experience in this dynamic industry.
AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

07/06/22 • 20 min

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During his recent AMN Drivetime podcast interview with Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, Neil Sethi, president and CEO of Transtar Holding Company, shares his fascinating journey from studying biology and medicine as an undergrad to shifting gears and finishing with an MBA focused on finance. Throughout this journey, which continues today in his role at Transtar, some key themes prevail for Sethi – the desire to serve and a passion to innovate.
“The most critical value proposition for us is really to help our customers solve their problems,” said Sethi, adding later in the interview that, “I think what I learned in medical school does translate – believe it or not – into the role that I have [today]. At the end of the day, it's all about working with great teams. It's understanding people and understanding how to work together. It's understanding how to work with people from all types of different backgrounds, with all different types of skill sets. [From] where I sit, it's about really solving problems, finding opportunity and being innovative. And I think that part of what I learned about healthcare and in medical school actually continues with me to this day.”
In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill and Neil also dive into the following topics:
00:45 Transtar’s partnership with Blue Point Capital Partners
01:43 The launch of Transtar’s first non-transmission product offering
02:48 New management appointments and what skillsets Neil believes make for a strong leader
04:45 How Neil made the leap from studying medicine as an undergrad to getting an MBA focused on finance and why
09:26 Family business and learning from his father-in-law, successful entrepreneur Monte Ahuja
10:22 What’s next for Transtar
13:56 How Neil defines the Transtar culture
18:00 The inside scoop on Transtar’s collision repair business based in Detroit
20:07 Passion projects: Can you guess what Neil’s hidden talent might be?
22:58 The popular new Lightning Round!
AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

06/08/22 • 25 min

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After an extensive aftermarket career working in parts stores, machine shops and with major aftermarket suppliers, Steve Tucker, who was named president of Automotive Parts Associates (APA) in February of 2021, describes moving to the program group side of the business as a “shock.”
“You spend a lot of time in this business, and you think you know everything, and then, you switch gears and find out you know very little,” Tucker says. “It gave me a great perspective on how the customer thinks. No matter how much time you spend on the other side of the desk, when you get on this side of the desk, you start seeing things with new eyes.”
During his AMN Drivetime podcast interview with Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, Tucker also shared that working with the group of people at APA has been “another eye opener” for him.
“We all read about how the aftermarket is shrinking and consolidating and all those things, and the big box guys are taking share – and no doubt a lot of that is true – but what I really find is that all of these independent warehouse distributors are very entrepreneurial. Over here at APA, probably more so than some of the other groups. We have a lot of guys that have found a niche and it's really hard to get people out of that niche. They're high-end European or Asian or tuner specialists or heavy truck specialists. I call us ‘the Island of Misfit Toys.’ We have people who fit in here who may not fit in any other group, and you know, I enjoy being the leader of those ‘Misfit Toys.’”
In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill and Steve dive into the following topics:
1:34 How leading APA has been an “eye-opener” after a career on the supplier side
3:47 How Program Groups Stay Competitive
4:28 The critical importance of solid data for program group members
5:29 His passion for finding new brands
7:15 Plans for APA’s future growth: “If you don’t grow, you die.”
8:23 The biggest issues APA members are concerned about today
9:45 A look back at Steve’s career on the supplier side
11:00 Steve’s secret hidden talent (spoiler alert: his go-to karaoke song is ... )
12:08: The biggest issues the industry should stay focused on today
13:50 The popular new Lightning Round!
AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

05/04/22 • 15 min

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A native of “Honeymoon City” Niagara Falls, New York, Charles Harris began his aftermarket career after graduating with degrees in both Business and Marketing from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. An experienced sales executive, Harris has spent more than 30 years in the automotive aftermarket, holding executive management roles at such well-known names as Tenneco, Monroe, TMD Friction and ASC Airtex before joining NTN.
Harris joined NTN in 2019 as the director of sales – Automotive Aftermarket and in October 2021 was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing. In his tenure with NTN, he has overseen the restructuring of the automotive aftermarket sales team and the growth of NTN’s market share in the traditional automotive aftermarket, heavy-duty, and fleet market channels.
Throughout his career, Charles has focused on the value of people and developing their ability to communicate and execute, which generates organizational growth. In the podcast, Harris shares that his work with his team is his proudest accomplishment: “I think my proudest achievement has to do with my people and the teams that I’ve built. When I look back now on some of the people and how they excelled under my leadership in the business – not only becoming just regional managers, being sales directors, being VPs within the industry – that that’s what makes me most proud.”
In this exclusive AMN Drivetime interview, Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox sits down with Harris to learn more about what makes a great salesperson successful today, how to stay ahead of the curve, where Charles gets his motivation and more.
In this episode, Bill and Charles talk about:
1:52 What makes a great salesman in the aftermarket today?
2:48 Most memorable story from early days on the road
5:25: How to stay ahead of the curve in today’s fast-evolving industry
6:30: Proudest moments in Charles’ career
8:38 A closer look at the NTN Sales & Marketing team
10:04 What motivates Charles to stay focused (spoiler alert: It’s his grandkids!)
11:05 Drivetime’s new Lightning Round!

04/11/22 • 12 min

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AMN Drivetime with NGK’s Brian Norko: Identify the Need, Provide the Solution [Podcast]
When Brian Norko, senior vice president - commercial business operations, NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc., interviewed for the management trainee program at Federal-Mogul, he says he “didn't know anything about manufacturing and ... wasn't a car enthusiast.” That didn’t slow him down when it came to carving out an incredibly successful career in automotive. Now with roughly 35 years under his belt, Norko says he still lives by the guidance he was given by the mentors he had while just starting out.
“Fortunately, I had an angel in Southfield, Michigan, who was keeping his eye out for me,” said Norko. “His name was Don Thorpe, God rest his soul. He was the national sales manager for the sales division that called on NAPA and every time I would come back to Southfield, he would always look me up and we'd have lunch or have dinner. He wanted me in the sales group and he got his wish and I went into to NAPA sales for Federal-Mogul. I spent some time there and then I went into heavy-duty sales, and then into distribution. Then, they brought me back to be in finance. So, the first eight years, I really got a good dose of being a management trainee in different functional areas from sales to distribution and finance.”
Norko credits another important mentor in his career as helping him learn the key to being a successful sales professional.
"Another strong mentor was Bob Show, God rest his soul as well,” said Norko. “Bob was the national sales manager of heavy-duty sales at Federal-Mogul and really taught [me] the foundation that I still use with my group. The first thing he said to me when I took the job up in Minnesota in heavy-duty sales was, ‘You know, Brian, I really don't care about writing big orders here. The next three or four months, what I care about is you get to know your customers and establishing a very good relationship with your customers. When I come back up in four months, I'm going to talk to some people and see if they know you,’ and he did.”
The experience Norko gained while working in a variety of roles in the Federal-Mogul management trainee program made him a firm believer in the value not only of relationships, but in having a wide variety of skills as an aftermarket executive. When speaking to students about potential career paths in the aftermarket, this is something Norko is passionate about.
“When I speak to classes or I speak to students, the one thing they ask me is how can they find that type of job, and why is it important? And what I always come back to as I deal with this today at NGK is an organization can't have all specialists. They can, but it may make the process of strategy or problem-solving a little bit more cumbersome or time-consuming than having maybe 30-40% of your population that has spent time in sales, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, finance, etc. By having that background, those people are able to help others understand who the customer is and, and maybe some of the problems or challenges they have with the organization.
“I mentioned Bob Show earlier. Bob always said there's really two functions of a company from his viewpoint. His two focuses of a company were to get a customer – which if you work for a company like NGK or a company that has a lot of strong brands and high market share, that's pretty easy to do because people want your product. Sometimes the more difficult thing to do is to keep a customer,” Norko says. “When you're trying to keep a customer and you have people working in your team who are just not sales people, but also come from the distribution side, the manufacturing side, the finance side, they're able to bring solutions to help you keep that customer. So, I think it's really important to have some generalists within your team and not all specialists. That's a message I share here at NGK all the time as I try to get people to move around within the organization just to become stronger. And really it makes the career more interesting. I've loved my career for the last 30-plus years. I wouldn't change it for anything with the experience that I had and and the people that I've met.”
In this episode, Bill and Brian also dive into:
In this episode, Bill and Brian also dive into:
•8:29 Mentors;
•10:45 Identify the need and provide the solution;
•12:10 The value of brands and quality products;
•12:15 The value of strong brands in making life easier in sales;
•14:35 The technician shortage;
•20:30 AMN Drivetime’s NEW “Lightning Round”

03/09/22 • 22 min

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AASA’s Paul McCarthy: It’s Easy When It’s Something You Care About
In this latest episode of AMN Drivetime with Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, AASA’s Paul McCarthy discusses a range of topics from first jobs to Biden administration policies affecting the aftermarket.
In this latest episode of AMN Drivetime with Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, we hear from Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of the Automotive Suppliers Association. A well-known figure on the aftermarket stage, we get to know a little more about Paul’s career path from helping his grandfather work on cars as a kid to now leading one of the aftermarket’s leading trade associations, and the interesting career choices in between.
In the interview Bill and Paul discuss a range of topics from Paul’s natural affable speaking presence to his thoughts on EVs, Right to Repair, Biden administration policies affecting the aftermarket and more.
When asked what the secret is to being such a natural and authentic public speaker, McCarthy’s response only illustrates what a passionate and humble industry servant he is. McCarthy shares that it’s easy to talk about something you care about.
“My great blessing is that I get to work on behalf of the industry. I get to work on behalf of all of you, and this is an industry I'm passionate about. It's a role I take very seriously,” he said. “The downside of course, is that I have thousands of bosses. The upside is that I have real purpose in my work and your listeners are that purpose. And it's very motivating for us to try as a team here at AASA to champion the aftermarket industry, to support the aftermarket supplier community. So, I know I'm very blessed to get to serve in this role.”
In this episode, Bill and Paul dive into:
-How Paul got his start in the automotive industry (00:48)
-What was Paul’s very unique first real, paying job? We’ll give you a hint ... can you say, “a hoy matey!” (02:45)
-The secret to being a natural and authentic public speaker (04:08)
-The value of strong relationships in the aftermarket and the mentors he’s worked with (05:44)
-What’s on the horizon for AASA in 2022 and beyond (08:49)
-Paul’s thoughts on the current administration and what policies will impact AASA members (13:25)
-The “million-dollar question:
Paul’s take on EV’s and the aftermarket’s level of preparedness for them (16:00)
-Thoughts on Right to Repair (19:14)
-Impressions from the return to AAPEX in 2020 (22:34)
One hobby Paul has that surprises his team members (24:52)
AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

02/09/22 • 26 min

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NA Williams’ Roger McCollum On Roles And Responsibility
Roger McCollum, chairman and CEO of manufacturer’s rep firm NA Williams, began his long career in the automotive aftermarket at Ken Tool Co., in Akron, Ohio, where he served in a variety of sales and management positions, eventually advancing to national sales manager. He joined N.A. Williams Company in 1984 and currently serves as chairman and CEO of the manufacturer’s rep firm.
This past November, the Aftermarket Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) presented its Outstanding Leadership Award to McCollum. Leader of the Year is bestowed upon an aftermarket professional who has contributed to the industry in a unique and significant way. In nearly 45 years of dedication to the automotive aftermarket, starting with his first job at a local parts store when he was a college student, Roger McCollum has distinguished himself as one of the industry’s top leaders and most committed advocates. McCollum joined N.A. Williams Company in 1984, after several years with other aftermarket companies. Over the years, he has held management roles of increasing responsibility and served as the company’s president from 1997 to 2017. He was elected CEO in 2007 and Chairman of the Board in 2014, and currently serves in both positions. McCollum has directed and integrated several mergers and acquisitions which have greatly expanded, diversified and strengthened the company’s business.
McCollum has a long and varied history of volunteer industry service, including positions on the Auto Care Association Board of Directors and Government Affairs Committee. He has also been active in AWDA with a term as Rep Advisor on the Board or Governors, as well as AWDA’s Manufacturers Advisory Council. McCollum has previously served on the Auto Care Association Events Committee and Manufactures’ Representative Council.
Currently, McCollum serves as chairman of the Auto Care Association Audit Committee; Vice Chairman of its Political Action Committee (ACPAC) and is a member of the Auto Care Association Nominating Committee. Importantly, McCollum has encouraged and supported the volunteer activities of many N.A. Williams personnel over the years.
McCollum also serves on the Automotive Aftermarket Association Southeast (AAAS) Board of Directors and the AAAS Employee Benefit Fund Board of Trustees. In addition, McCollum serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and its Executive and Contribution Committees and chairs the Foundation’s Grant Review Committee.
2020 AWDA Award winner, Bill Hanvey said, “For decades, Roger has proven to be a dedicated and universally respected industry leader. I have had the privilege of working with Roger for many years and can say without reservation that his commitment to the aftermarket is second to none and absolutely deserving of being recognized with the AWDA’s Outstanding Leadership Award.”
In this AMN Drivetime podcast with host Bill Babcox, the two CEO’s talk about McCollum’s drive to serve others. McCollum says he doesn’t see the volunteering he does in the industry as philanthropy. Philanthropy is something one does at church or in one’s community, he says. Giving back to this industry is something we should all be taking action on McCollum says. “I see it as a responsibility. I think all of us owe something back to the business where we earn our livelihoods,” he said.
Reflecting back on the host of well-known, influential mentors McCollum has learned from over the years, McCollum said he has been fortunate to work around some really brilliant people who took the time share their knowledge with him, especially as a young professional starting out.
“The thing that helped me the most in those early years was, I learned how to be humble and in my case, I had a lot to be humble about. My most successful sales technique was to just be a young kid who doesn’t know anything, who is looking for a break, and, I found that older people like to help young people. It’s just a natural part of life.”
Babcox and McCollum went on to talk about a number of other compelling topics including the continued value of brand reputation and the fragility of brands.
“I think brands are as important today as they have ever been,” said McCollum. “You have to make sure that the image that you're upholding speaks to what the expectations are of the customers. When that deteriorates it's tough to get it back.”
Podcast Highlights:
•McCollum talks about receiving the AWDA Leader of the Year award (1:08)
•His thoughts on philanthrophy and responsibility (2:11)
•Growing up in Akron, Ohio, where Babcox Media is based and being a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan (5:03)
•First job in the aftermarket (7:03)
•Industry Mentors (11:22)
•Game-changing moments (15:21)
•The value of brands (18:35)
•Funny stories from the Road (23:19)
•The secret to success (28:00)

01/05/22 • 34 min

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For Dave Marsh, turning personal strengths into something of value as a professional is what has guided him in his 32-year career with General Motors. In his current role as Executive Director for North America, Marsh handles Customer Care and Aftersales for ACDelco in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
In this episode of AMN Drivetime hosted by Babcox Media CEO Bill Babcox, Marsh shares some of the wisdom he has accrued over three decades in the industry, including how to go beyond being simply competent to becoming an elite performer.
Babcox and Marsh also discuss GM’s recent global rebranding initiative along with new marketing campaigns for the GM genuine parts and ACDelco brands. In addition, they discuss some of the bigger industry challenges being faced today – supply chain challenges, parts proliferation, EVs, technology and innovation, oh and a few favorite funny stories from the road.
In this episode, Bill and Marsh dive into:
-Marsh’s career as an General Motors “lifer,” joining the company right out of college 32 years agao. (01:15)
-The variety of locations Marsh and his family have traveled to and live at during his career at ACDelco (02:08)
-Marsh’s best career advice on how to go beyond being competent to be an elite performer. (04:35)
-Game-changing moments in Marsh’s career (06:42)
-Rebranding efforts for the GM Genuine Parts and ACDelco brands (12:42)
-The value of branding (14:35)
-E-commerce and it’s role during the pandemic (16:46)
-Whether the aftermarket is ready for electric vehicles (18:35)
-Parts Proliferation (19:43)
-Current supply chain challenges (20:32)
-Funny stories from the road (21:36) and more!

12/10/21 • 25 min

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Returning from the first in-person AAPEX since 2019, AMN Drivetime host Bill Babcox sits down with Vange Proimos, CEO of AP Emissions, to talk about his journey from technician and shop owner to leading a privately owned, family run business. A well-known industry advocate for many years, it was Proimos’ experience as a technician and shop owner that has informed much of his success as business owner as well.

11/22/21 • 25 min

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Robert Roos, president of the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network, is proof positive that recruitment and retention works in the aftermarket. As he shared in this AMN Drivetime podcast episode with Bill Babcox, he was recruited right out of high school.
“That is 100% the truth,” Roos said. “I got into this industry almost completely by accident. A buddy of mine right after we had graduated high school, the summer after we graduated, he earned his Eagle scout badge and back in those days in the mid 1980s, social media didn't exist. You know the way to get the word out and to congratulate somebody was to put their picture in the paper and an entrepreneurial HR director at a local parts warehouse saw his picture called him and asked him if he would like to have a job working in their warehouse. He took it and evidently made a pretty good impression on him after a couple weeks. They're like, ‘Hey, do you have any friends that might be interested in a job?’ He threw out my name, I got the job and literally have been in this industry ever since.”
Next year will mark Roos’ 40th year in the industry, he said. To evolve and grow from stocking shelves at a parts store out of high school to now leading a national program group, Roos said he’s proud of the journey. “It is very surreal,” he said. “I'm very, very proud of it. I've been very lucky in my career in that I have had a wide variety of opportunities within this industry. I've been on the WD side, working with independent distributors. I've worked with a major chain, a retail chain back in the days, Big A Auto Parts – APS back in those days – and the experiences that I had all along the way. Even eight, nine years ago now coming into program distribution, I've just been able to experience so much and be a part of so much of what this great industry has to offer. When you stop and think about it, it's a pretty incredible journey.”
In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill and Robert also dive into the following topics:
0:50 – How Robert was recruited to the aftermarket right out of high school
3:06 – How it feels to go from stocking parts shelves to leading a national program group
5:24 – What Pronto Network members are most focused on today
8:57 – What Roos believes it takes to stay cutting edge and nimble today
12:41 – An update on Supply Chain issues from the distribution perspective
15:24 – Funny memories from the road
18:42 – People who have made a difference in his career
25:34 – The value of daily routines
27:12 – Roos’ responses to the ever-popular Lightning Round!
AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

08/10/22 • 29 min

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How many episodes does AMN Drivetime have?

AMN Drivetime currently has 39 episodes available.

What topics does AMN Drivetime cover?

The podcast is about Podcasts and Business.

What is the most popular episode on AMN Drivetime?

The episode title 'E 19 Tendeco Sales’ John Lussier on the Value of Made in the U.S.A.' is the most popular.

What is the average episode length on AMN Drivetime?

The average episode length on AMN Drivetime is 26 minutes.

How often are episodes of AMN Drivetime released?

Episodes of AMN Drivetime are typically released every 22 days, 1 hour.

When was the first episode of AMN Drivetime?

The first episode of AMN Drivetime was released on Jun 30, 2021.

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