May 10, 2019 / Career Spotlight
Job title and employer
Sales & Marketing Manager for Dill Air Controls
What does your job title mean?
I am employed by Dill Air Controls. We manufacture and distribute valve stems and related hardware, air inflation/measurement devices, hand tools, and tire pressure monitoring systems throughout the Automotive, Fleet, Motorsports, RV, and Trucking industries. My job is to communicate and visit with customers at all levels within their corporation to ensure they have the education, solutions and a win-win approach that allows us both to grow stronger and more effective.” My primary goal with the career profiles is to share one of the many rewarding careers in the Automotive Aftermarket industry.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
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.
Where do you live now?
I now live in Wake Forest, North Carolina with a Permanent Residency card even though I am a Canadian Citizen.
Where did you complete your training or education?
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
When I was in high school, I enjoyed…
- Industrial Arts / Shop Programs
- Physical Education / Health
- Social Times
When I was in high school, I was someone who…
- Brought people together
- Always wanted to be outside
- Liked helping people
- Played on a sports team
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
- Played video games
- Never wanted to be in the classroom
- Always threw the best parties
- Didn’t really care about grades
- Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
- Learned best “by doing”
- Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting
- Other: Took comical risks on others and teachers that never worked in my favor.
Describe what you do at work.
A large portion 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 a timeline of when I will follow-up. This may involve online research, in-lab testing of a product, developing a new educational aid or template for them or just reviewing an internal process to identify a missing step; which will likely benefit other customers also.
When creating, testing or performing due diligence to help solve a problem or find an alternate solution, I rely heavily on Science and Math to achieve success. For example, once proven through design and testing, I can confidently apply this into a metrics driven tool, resource or platform that will directly relate to providing the customer clear oversight and understanding. It does not mean I perform endless calculus formulas, it may be reading a few articles and navigating through with more basic math formulas.
I travel approximately 50-60% of the time which adds a challenging element to the mix of managing projects, responding to customers and frankly staying organized when you are on the move and in have limited resources (i.e. WIFI, company server access, time zone changes). Staying creative and planning ahead are personal development areas that I continue to try and improve, partially through reflecting on positive and negative past learnings.
How does your job affect peoples lives?
I am fortunate to have a naturally high level of energy. Inadvertently I 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 they are achieving something bigger than before, 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 allows the opportunity 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 advances at the unprecedented rate 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.
How did you get to where you are today?
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. Jumping into my own business immediately taught me some real foundational understanding in life. I did not immediately realize but through the struggles of not knowing what or where to look for my next career, I set off to explore.
In a short time period, I found myself in Chicago changing tires in the back of an automotive shop. Still struggling with trying to decided what to pursue, 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 daily, worked for and my growing family were all extremely influential in the times and places 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. If there was endless room in this sharing article, I would commit to days of writing about the passionate guidance each one has provided for me along this journey. 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!
Lastly, reach out to me. I want to share ideas and hear about your choices.
Let’s Talk Science is proud to partner with the Automotive Industries Association of Canada to help shed light on the many interesting STEM related careers available in the automotive aftermarket industry. Let’s Talk Science is a national charitable organization focused on engaging youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and outreach to support youth development.