Monthly Archives: September 2018

Organizational Update

Organizational Update

GenNext holds third-quarter webinar


GenNext also held its third quarter webinar with MacKay & Company on the “The Future of the Aftermarket in 30 Minutes” last week.

The webinar was led by MacKay & Company Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Blodgett. During the call, Blodgett spoke optimistically about the immediate future of the United States economy and aftermarket at large.

“The economy plays a big part in the aftermarket, so we think it’s important to look at what’s going on. We are 111 months into economic expansion. The expansion started in June 2009 and it has been a long expansion [period],” Blodgett says.

Blodgett also adds truckable economic activity (TEA) will be strong for the balance of the year and could continue at least until the first quarter of next year. Strong TEA is being driven, in large part, by consumers continuing to buy goods and companies continuing to invest in their businesses. The one caveat is the United States’ fluid position regarding tariffs and imports and exports, which “will have a big impact on trucking,” he says.

Blodgett says the aftermarket this year will come in at about $31.4 billion for Class 6-8 trucks, trailers and container chassis, which is up about 6 percent over last year.

GenNext seeks volunteers for committees

GenNext is seeking volunteers who would be interested in participating on one its four committees: DTE, education, marketing, mentoring and recruiting. GenNext says video capturing and editing experience is a plus though all are welcome to participate. Anyone interested in signing up should contact Edward Kuo at

Big changes in GenNext membership coming

Since the merge of CVSN and GenNext, our membership policy has changed. Membership into GenNext will be FREE to all individuals who are employed by CVSN member companies(distributor) and associate member companies (manufacturers/service/others).  This new policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

We are excited to potentially bring a significant increase in GenNext membership. Each CVSN member and associate company can have their employees (no age restriction) sign up online at, or can send a list of individuals (with e-mail addresses) directly to and they will be added to the membership roster.

For individuals who have been paid members of GenNext in the past, you should strongly consider a corporate membership in CVSN.  Participation in a strong industry association is crucial to the success of both the aftermarket and your company’s involvement in the aftermarket. Please contact CVSN or GenNext for more information.

Supplier Highlight

Supplier Highlight

Getting to know Illinois Auto Truck Co., Inc.

Jordan Stein, vice president, sales and marketing


Please briefly describe the history of your company? (a quick summary is fine)

Illinois Auto Truck Co., Inc. (IATCO) has been in business since 1939 and focuses exclusively on the manufacturing of new clutch assemblies, clutch components, supplemental clutch parts and flywheels for Class 6-8 vehicles. IATCO is a fourth generation, family owned, ISO 9001:2015 certified company, dedicated to quality and customer support. IATCO is known throughout the world as “best in the clutch.”


Please briefly describe your company’s sales structure: What do you sell, who are your customers, etc.?

Illinois Auto Truck manufactures and sells new clutch assemblies, clutch components, supplemental clutch parts and flywheels for Class 6-8 vehicles. IATCO sells through various channels including the wholesale and independent distributor. IATCO is also the preferred new clutch supplier for VIPAR Heavy Duty and Power Heavy Duty.


What separates your business from competitors in its marketplace?

Quality and customer support is of the upmost importance to Illinois Auto Truck and has always separated us from others in the marketplace. We strive to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by continuously focusing on quality and offering the largest breadth of coverage both nationally and internationally. IATCO offers various types of support for our customers so that they in-turn can be successful promoting our product in their market. This includes ride-a-longs, technical clutch presentations, and hands-on clutch installation clinics.


How do you believe customers perceive your business?

We believe customers perceive Illinois Auto Truck as a multi-generational, loyal, and successful company that provides the offerings of a larger business, with the level of support you would only find from a smaller company. They know the quality of our product matches the attention to detail and support provided by our customer service.


How and why do your customers stay loyal to your business?

In this evolving marketplace, our customers continue to stay loyal to Illinois Auto Truck because they know that we are committed to quality, which is evident by the fact that we continue to manufacture in the USA, where we have for over 79 years. Furthermore, we exude respect for our customers and are always appreciative of their business. A “thank you” goes a long way.


What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about your company that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about your company we don’t know)

One thing most customers may not necessarily know about our business is that our average tenure internally, both in the front office and factory, is more than 12 years. As much as we have respect and our thankful for our clients, we feel the same way about our employees. Furthermore, we do in fact manufacture our product proudly in the USA.


What makes your company a great place to work?

Illinois Auto Truck is a great place to work because no matter what your role may be, you are most certainly contributing and making a difference each day in the success of our business. As a fourth generation, family owned business, our ownership is extremely involved and dedicated to the continued success and overall growth of IATCO. Furthermore, with business and customers both nationally and internationally, there is an exciting culture around what we do.

How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?

As we look to the future of Illinois Auto Truck, we know how important it is to have quality employees of a younger generation. These individuals bring fresh ideas for everything from marketing sales presentations, to customer service management software, and even quality control in our factories. Some of our greatest success in finding these next generation individuals has been from recruiting employees outside of the industry. They bring an exciting, new perspective to this field.


Does your business feel it is in the position to change with the times? If so how?

Illinois Auto Truck is definitely in a position to change with the times as we are constantly looking to develop new product and spark innovation both in the front-office and factory that will lead to customer retention and growth.


Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?

I would encourage the next generation of job-seeking individuals to most certainly consider a job in this industry. Not only is it an exciting industry to be in, but there is a lot of opportunity for growth in every aspect of the business, including manufacturing, innovation and management.


Why did your company join GenNext? How can GenNext help your employees?

We joined GenNext for the opportunity to build relationships and create networks with like-minded individuals who are interested in taking their business to the next level. Furthermore, we believe this group can benefit our employees by allowing us to share ideas and connect with one another for support. It is incredibly important to keep our industry alive and I firmly believe that having groups like this will make that possible.


What are the three most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?

There have been several pivotal moments throughout my career but these are the ones that stand out. We lost a customer a few years ago due to them wanting a “cheaper” product. We told the customer that we weren’t able to offer a cheaper product as we value the quality that we put in the box and were not willing to compromise that. In that scenario, I learned we cannot be a supplier to everyone and we cannot succumb to the pressure of being the low-cost provider. We have to be proud of what we put into the market and confident in the product that we produce.

Another pivotal moment in my career was when I first joined the company back in 2008. I traveled with my father on a six week, around the world, business trip. I quickly learned how important it is to be in front of our customers and understood first-hand the sacrifices my father made, including time away from our family, to grow the company to where it is today. In that moment I knew what was in store for my career, in terms of travel, and accepted that in order to achieve my goals in the future, time away from my wife and children would be necessary.

The third most pivotal moment in my career was when our general manager retired last September. He was a mentor to me for my first nine years in the business and was always a present force that I could turn to. His leaving offered an opportunity for me to help lead our company through a very significant change, and also allowed me to think about what kind of new leader would be best for us. I am happy to say that these were all good changes that will have an extremely positive influence on the direction of IATCO moving forward.


Are there any industry leaders that have influenced you/mentored you? Who were they and how has their knowledge assisted you?

My father, Richard Stein has been in the business for 44 years and has shown me the way throughout all aspects of the industry. Learning how he has successfully run and grown the business throughout his tenure has been invaluable. I now strive to take pieces of what he has done and use them to expand and evolve our business into the future.


Distributor Highlight

Distributor Highlight

Getting to know Fleet Brake

John Bzeta, president


Please briefly describe the history of your business (a quick summary is fine).
The history of our business goes back to 1914 when Henry McCoy moved to Edmonton from Montreal and opened a blacksmith shop in downtown Edmonton. In 1923, the advent of the Model T coupled with Alberta’s rough roads provided Henry with the inspiration and opportunity to open a spring manufacture and repair business. The original family carried on the business of providing heavy-duty truck services for the next 88 years. In 1978, Fleet Brake was created by the Bzeta family and over the next several decades parts sales, truck service repair and maintenance operations were expanded both geographically and in product offerings. In 2011, the Real McCoy Service Centres was acquired by Fleet Brake. With a 104]-year-old legacy of serving the commercial vehicle business, Fleet Brake is positioned well for the next 100 years.


Please briefly describe your company’s distribution structure: What do you sell, who are your vendors, who are your customers, etc.?

Fleet Brake’s distribution structure is diverse, spreading from coast to coast across five time zones. Operations include PDCs, OEM trailer dealerships, parts and service operations and web stores. Our customers, depending on channel, include end users, associates, retail chains, dealers and manufacturers. We have export customers globally with several in the United States. Our vendor partners support our many sectors including manufacturing, commercial vehicle, industrial, automotive and MRO.


What separates your business from competitors in its marketplace?

Our largest competitor is ourselves. Our differentiator would be best described as flexibility, passion, diversity and recognition that the customer is the boss.


How do you believe customers perceive your business?

Having the name Brake in our name creates the impression we only sell brakes. Hard to blame our customers for that, but our sales and marketing efforts are changing that trend.


How and why have your customers stayed loyal to your business?

Our business is still a people business. We have been fortunate to have great people that have been working for us for years and consider Fleet Brake home. Customers like consistency and understanding and our team provides that. As our business and offerings grow, it allows us to provide innovative solutions to our customer’s problems.


What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about your company that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about your company we don’t know)

In the independent heavy-duty aftermarket, other than Traction, Fleet Brake is the only business that operates in two languages and covers Canada nationally from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. In addition, we also are an OE manufacturer of suspensions and other proprietary products supporting the commercial vehicle industry.


What makes your business a great place to work?

Fleet Brake is still a family business and we treat our employees like family. We spend more time at work than we do at home and we try and make the environment as positive as possible. There is an energy at most of our locations that you don’t feel at other businesses. I take great pride in that.


How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?

Our leadership team is one of the youngest in the industry. People want to work at challenging and fun employers. While what we do is still work, we try to encourage innovation, leadership and entertaining job roles.


Do you feel your business is in the position to change with the times? If so how?

Change is encouraged at our business units to drive innovation. At Fleet Brake our greatest weakness is our greatest strength, flexibility. We were disrupters before it was cool to be called disrupters.


Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?

As you enter this industry you will find that it is slow to change, reluctant to innovate, and relies on past performance for its future success. Get to know your employer’s systems, procedures and people prior to attempting to “change the world.” Change for change’s sake is not necessarily a good thing. Take your time, identify improvements, then intelligently lead them to real change. Our industry needs competent, driven individuals like you.


What are your goals for the long-term future of your company?

I take seriously that hundreds of families rely on Fleet Brake and its stability. I also believe we are seriously under compensated for the value we provide. Long term, I intend to grow intelligently (hopefully) but not at the expense of financial stability. Through the prosperity and strength of Fleet Brake, we can continue to provide real and unparalleled support to our customers.


Why did your company join GenNext? How can GenNext help your employees?

Originally, we joined so Steve Hanson and Edward Kuo would stop pestering and humiliating me. Since Fleet Brake has been involved, it has been an incredible benefit to engaging and training our future leaders. In an industry that doesn’t focus on staff development, GenNext provides leadership to change that trend.


What are the three most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?

I believe it comes down to courage. I have been through four economic downturns and have taken large risks to grow my business. During those challenging times I opened several locations and acquired several struggling businesses. Discipline is still required during these times. It is amazing how inefficient you discover your business is when times are tough. We have improved our operations tremendously during these challenging times. I continue to try to remember that fact when times are good. Self-belief. I like to use the line “Let the world say NO to you, do not say NO to the world.” I have been said NO to more times than I can remember but I keep trying. Believe in yourself and your plan and don’t let them bring you down. Listening. Learning involves listening before speaking as much as possible. This is a skill I have been working very hard at although people that know me would say I need more work.


Are there any industry leaders that have influenced you/mentored you? Who were they and how has their knowledge assisted you?

I used to attend meetings early in my career and I would place myself near strong leaders and try and listen. Although there are many the key ones were:

  • Wayne Keller: An incredible business mind and he possessed uncanny relatability
  • Joe Pardo: What a guy. He taught me the importance of personal business relationships
  • Wayne Stockseth: International businessman that taught me force posture and no boundaries.
  • Dave Settles: A kind and thoughtful leader with a deep caring for our members at HDA Truck Pride and the industry in general. He taught me compassion and to try and think prior to speaking.
  • John Minor: John taught me accountability and responsibility for our industry. He reminds me that our competitors are also our peers and friends.



Industry Update

Industry Update

GenNext presents 4 Under 40 Awards at CVSN Summit; will hold mentoring session at upcoming VIPAR Heavy Duty Annual Business Conference


GenNext has named Steve Hansen (Minimizer), Ian Johnston (Harman HVS), Nikki Paschall (HDA Truck Pride) and Nick Tosie (BorgWarner) as winners of its first 4 Under 40 Awards at the CVSN Aftermarket Distribution Summit in Braselton, Ga.

The awards, presented by GenNext and sponsored by Truck Parts & Service, recognize aftermarket individuals for their personal growth, corporate achievements and industry contributions to the heavy-duty aftermarket prior to the age of 40.
“Congratulations to all four of these winners. We had an excellent list of nominees to choose from, which made the decision process very difficult,” says GenNext President Nick Seidel of Action Truck Parts. “In the end, we feel this group represents a great cross-section of talent in our industry and each of them is extremely deserving of the award.”

For more on the award presentation, please CLICK HERE.

GenNext expanding speed mentoring program for upcoming VIPAR Heavy Duty Conference

GenNext and the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) announce a new “In the Hot Seat” panel discussion will be held during the upcoming GenNext Speed Mentoring Session Oct. 15, 2018, at the VIPAR Heavy Duty Annual Business Conference in Marco Island, Fla.

The overall session will open with the panel discussion and be followed immediately by a mentoring reception featuring a structured opportunity for all attendees of the conference to network with experienced business leaders. GenNext and CVSN say “In the Hot Seat” will feature four individuals (Kara Bolster of STEMCO, Ken Bumgardner of Royal Truck and Trailer, Dominic Grote of Grote Industries and Claude-Andre Pouliot of Macpek) with diverse backgrounds across the industry and the VIPAR Heavy Duty footprint.

Additionally, six designated pairs of business leaders (“mentors”) are scheduled to be available during the mentoring reception. To learn more about those pairs and the event, please CLICK HERE.

Register now for the GenNext Poker Tournament during HDAW

Nothing says Las Vegas better than the GenNext Industry No Limit Hold ‘Em Poker Showdown held at The Mirage during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW).  Last year’s event had more than 80 participants and this reception has been one of the fun highlights of industry week. This year’s event will take place on Wednesday night of HDAW, with registration starting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, 2019, in the Mirage Poker Room. Anyone who attends HDAW is allowed to enter the event individually for $130.

Companies who are interested in becoming team sponsors can now register, and individuals can also purchase their seats for the tournament all at