Three Grove City College students took a deep dive into the automotive aftermarket at the AAPEX and SEMA trade shows in Las Vegas in November.
Elizabeth Finnegan ’21, an Entrepreneurship and Political Science major, and Garrett Finnegan ’19, a Mechanical Engineering major, both from Cary, N.C., and Shannon Stovar ’19, a Mechanical Engineering major from Butler, Pa., attended the shows as part of the Multi Parts SPARK initiative with George Howley, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship.
The SPARK initiative sends a few select students to these shows to learn about the automotive aftermarket, network with professionals, meet with key leaders and gain insight into the future of the industry.
“We were immersed in one of the fastest growing and technologically innovative industries in the world. By spending time listening to panels, attending networking events, and engaging with some of the most influential people in the automotive aftermarket, we were able to walk away from the event with some amazing connections, information, and inspiration,” Stovar said.
The students heard informative and inspirational speakers and met with executives of a number of different companies as they learned about the multi-billion dollar automotive aftermarket for parts, tools and services.
“We not only got a broad, visionary picture of the industry, but we also witnessed how individual branches and companies operate in such a highly competitive, fast-moving industry,” Garrett Finnegan said. “It truly grew and transformed our understanding of the industry. Leaving this program, all of us are enthusiastically looking forward to the role that we will play in the future of the industry.”
The trip was sponsored by Grove City College, Automotive Care Association and Hovis Auto and Truck Supply, Inc.
AAPEX and SEMA shows are held annually and draw more than 100,000 industry professionals. They focus on performance products, accessories and add-ons, original equipment, products to service vehicles and related services for the automotive market and offer educational seminars, product demos and other special events and networking opportunities.