Here's to You! YANG Member Spotlight: Ethan Bregger
Thank you for supporting the leaders of tomorrowDRiV is not only a heavy-duty yang sponsor, but an active and engaged advocate for YANG. Their efforts to support, engage, and retain young talent are evident through the reputable characters we know in YANG. In this interview with Ethan Bregger, National Strategic Account Manager at DRiV, Ethan shares his journey in the automotive industry.
Ethan, to be honest, you’re a prime example of what DRiV is doing right in terms of supporting and retaining young talent. from your point-of-view, what can other employers learn from DRiV?DRiV has done a lot over the years to engage and retain young talent. From our internship programs to our internal opportunities pages, we are always looking to retain talent and promote from within wherever possible. We have also updated our values to better align with today’s day and age: Integrity Always, One Team, Make Tomorrow Better, and Will to Win. Four very simple and easy to remember statements, but strong statements nonetheless that encompass not only our go-to business practices but our engagement in communities and the strength of our teams.
5 or 10 years ago, did you image your future career to be in the automotive industry?I’ve been a car guy all my life. Outside of being an enthusiast from a very young age, I got my official start in the industry busting tires and changing oil at a regional tire chain in Utah called Burt Brothers. I worked there for a few years and turned wrenches all the way through college at Northwood University in Michigan. From there I was recruited by Tenneco as an intern in Arizona, which turned into a full-time job and a launch pad for my career. I’ve been with Tenneco/DRiV for 11 years now, lived in a few different areas and have had a variety of roles including sales, training and marketing. Today I’m a Strategic Account Manager overseeing large national accounts on the traditional side of the business. Outside of work, I still have my enthusiast roots and spend much of my free time in the garage or at the drag strip on the weekends with my family.
I feel very fortunate in that I knew I wanted to be in the auto industry when I was about 15 years old. Only because I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I definitely didn’t think my career in the industry would have taken me as far as it has with still so much opportunity to advance down so many different paths. I knew I loved cars, but I didn’t know that I would enjoy the people and the dynamics of the industry as much as I have. I still to this day can’t really imagine doing anything else and I still enjoy working with all the great people both at our company and throughout the entire industry.
You’re a familiar face among YANG. What inspired you to get involved and how do you think it’s impacted your career?YANG has impacted my career in a variety of ways. I still remember the inaugural YANG event at AAPEX. It was just a couple of us hanging out at a bar reminiscing our times at college (namely Alena Van Cleave and Michael Rukov) and introducing each other to the few people we had met at the very beginning of our careers as we all ventured out into our first real jobs in the industry. Who would have thought that it could have grown to what it is today?!? I have leveraged my association with YANG to make great friends and build even better relationships with customers and peers alike. From those relationships, I’ve always got someone I can pick up the phone and call if there’s an issue I can’t resolve or a question I have related to the industry.
Ethan's Guide to the Aftermarket
When business gets crazy, just remember, its only car parts.”I’ve received a lot of advice over the years. One that stands out the most was when I first started in the industry. A customer of mine once told me, “When business gets crazy, just remember, its only car parts.” While the advice was meant as a joke, I do think there is a lot of merit behind it, not just in our industry, but across the board. It’s always wise to take a step back to see the bigger picture.
“Every challenge I’ve faced in my career has been a learning opportunity that has better prepared me for the next challenge.”Being willing and eager to adapt to change can certainly be a challenge. I can think of a few times throughout my career where change was inevitable. Taking on an Executive MBA level education while working full time with a family at home was a major change. Not only for me, but my family as well. We all had to adapt, and it was well worth the challenge. Company-wise, going through mergers and acquisitions results in consistent change. Some changes for the better, others have been more of a struggle, but the end result is a stronger business acumen and experience I couldn’t have received any other way. Every challenge I’ve faced in my career has been a learning opportunity that has better prepared me for the next challenge.
”People still buy from people.”In the auto care industry in particular, networking is critical to being successful. Even with how advanced technology has become, people still buy from people. Maintaining relationships throughout the distribution channel is critical to keeping in touch with the business. On top of that, as a younger professional, knowing you have people to call when a challenge arises is extremely beneficial. No sense in working harder when you can work smarter and leverage the resources at your fingertips, which certainly includes everyone in YANG. I’ve found that everyone is willing to help out in one way or another, as long as you know who to ask, which all starts with networking.
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This interview is brought to you by
Young Auto Care Network Group
Home for the auto care industry’s dynamic and vibrant community of under-40 professionals.
YANG provides its members with the opportunity to network with industry peers, develop new skill sets and improve leadership capabilities. See what we are talking about