On the Rise: Brent Klomparens
Director of Marketing and Key Accounts | Technical Rubber Co. | Age: 38
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the industry was on the hard parts side of the automotive business when I graduated from Northwood University back in 2006. I was part of a new college graduate developmental program at Affinia Group, which at the time was the parent company of both Raybestos Brakes and Wix Filters. During the program, I worked in several departments (marketing, sales, customer service, training, distribution, etc.) and then was offered and accepted a sales role with Wix Filters in Arizona.
What attracted you to the industry?
I had a passion for cars that started at a young age and always wanted to work in the industry. I attended Northwood University due to their excellent placement record with top automotive companies and parts suppliers.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
A few years back I wanted to transition my career from sales into a marketing leadership role. I lacked the marketing experience so I decided to go back to school and get my MBA at Indiana University. It was a huge challenge working full time and going to school in the evenings, especially with a new baby at home. While it was a challenging time, it was definitely the right decision for my career. It greatly expanded my marketing acumen and eventually I was promoted into a marketing leadership role.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
There have been a lot of people who have influenced me in my career; however, Joe Cole, our vice president of global marketing at Technical Rubber Co. has been the most influential. He has been a great mentor and helped me develop my leadership and marketing abilities.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in the industry has been expanding our relationships as a tire and wheel service supplier with the top tire manufacturers.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
I currently lead two teams at TECH — marketing and key accounts — for our North American market. Our marketing team is focused on making the right product, selling it at the right price, and promoting it to the right people while our key account team oversees relationships and growth with larger companies in the tire industry who are looking for a direct relationship with TECH as a supplier.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
That people should be my first priority. You’re only as good as your team.
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to my beautiful wife, Clarissa, for over 12 years. Our two sons, James, 6, and George, 3, keep us very busy.
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
That I actually really enjoy traveling.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I could play the piano.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
By spending time with my boys.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I reread “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s one of my favorites; there are lots of good insights on how to best focus your time and energy.
What’s your favorite, can’t-miss podcast?
Love me some Freakonomics.
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
My best sport is definitely golf; although, I’m not close to Olympic material. My only chance is if no other athletes show up.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Like many other industries, it’s finding people.
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
Treat your people right and they’ll reward you with productivity.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
In 20 years I expect to be in a vice president role leading our marketing team globally.