AWDA’s Ted Hughes on the Power of Industry Partnerships

AWDA’s Ted Hughes on the Power of Industry Partnerships

Aftermarket veteran Ted Hughes shares the changes he's experienced and lessons learned through 30+ years in the aftermarket.

As a 30-plus-year automotive aftermarket vetran, Ted Hughes has seen change after change in the industry. He’s experienced countless technological improvements. During his almost 24 years as head of marketing for MAHLE, he charged head-first into the digital era — embracing digital media, e-commerce and a “data is king” mindset. Yet despite the evolution of the industry, one aspect has remained true: nothing beats the solid relationships that form long-lasting business partnerships and make this industry strong.

“Right now, it’s just a different kind of relationship measurement and building in my opinion,” said Hughes. “But I still believe in my heart that relationships are extremely vital, especially at that shop and technician level. And that’s where AWDA membership, in my opinion, has such an advantage over anyone else who’s trying to [build relationships] in the industry.”

Ted has spent the majority of his career at MAHLE in marketing management roles, assuming the role of creative marketing engineer for whatever new product or change the business underwent. Yet about a year ago, he joined the Auto Care Association as executive director of the Aftermarket Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) and also took on the role of senior director of community engagement for the association, putting his love for the industry and his expertise for creating industry engagement to work. Although challenges abound, Ted looks at them as opportunities.

“The challenges that we face, they may be a little bit bigger..but with that comes opportunities,” he said. “The best part about it is that within AWDA, there are some of the industry’s most determined, resilient people and the biggest collection of ingenuity that I’ve seen in the aftermarket.”

In this episode of AMN Drivetime with Bill Babcox, presented by AISIN, Ted delves into:

  • Making the change to association work and its biggest rewards (0:54);
  • How he was fitted for skates at a young age and what playing hockey and other sports taught him that he takes into his career (3:13);
  • Ted’s career trajectory and how he found the automotive aftermarket (6:54);
  • Shifts in the overall business that impacted Ted’s roles and how he and his team addressed them (10:36)
  • The future of AWDA (15:47);
  • The importance of face-to-face interaction (18:39);
  • Rapid Fire Questions (24:40)

 AMN Drivetime is sponsored by AISIN. Find more episodes here.

You May Also Like

MANN+HUMMEL’s Wilks: The Meaning Behind the Product

Kurk Wilks, president and CEO, delves into how advanced technology and customer needs are shaping future products.

In its 81 years in business, MANN+HUMMEL has prided itself on being family-owned, remaining steadfast to its mission: separating the useful from the harmful with its filtration products. Yet, over the years, its products have evolved as the company has innovated to meet the demands of its customers. About 25 years ago, the innovation and heritage of MANN+HUMMEL attracted its current president and CEO to the company and he hasn't looked back.

Jeff Kritzer Details BendPak’s 40-Year Evolution

Kritzer worked his way up from the shipping and receiving department to president and CEO.

Rick Schwartz: M&A Trends Affecting the Aftermarket

Schwartz Advisors’ Rick Schwartz delves into his career history and the breadth and depth of the firm’s expertise.

The 4 P’s of GSP’s Growth with Michael Ceritano

Ceritano describes the ways GSP North America has grown and what he feels has been integral to its success.

Autologue’s Jim Franco: Opportunities in Today’s Market

Find out why Jim Franco is as energized as ever about the business opportunities he sees in the market today.

Other Posts
AMN Drivetime: Cal Ganda’s Continental Journey

Ganda embodies servitude leadership, prioritizing team success and customer-centricity.

Passion, People Drive Continental’s Travis Roffler

Travis Roffler, Continental Tire the Americas director of marketing, uses his passion to drive his career success.

AMN Drivetime: Aisin’s Dwayne Bates & Larrow Kaufman

Aisin’s Dwayne Bates and Larrow Kaufman discuss the company’s recent changes and its go-to-market strategy.

GB Remanufacturing’s Michael Kitching on AMN Drivetime

Kitching says he’s proud to be part of the industry as reman gets the sustainability attention it deserves.