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Aftermarket students meet with industry leader

February 1, 2024

Eric Johnson, president and managing partner of Arnold Motor Supply / The Merrill Company, is visiting Northwood University this week to meet with students enrolled in automotive aftermarket courses.

“Efforts to encourage and educate students are so valuable because not only are we helping individuals, we’re also helping to shape the future of our industry,” Johnson stated. “Preparing students with the mindset, skills, and knowledge they need to be successful contributes to the overall growth and innovation of the aftermarket.”

Johnson, a member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Board of Directors, spoke with students enrolled in aftermarket category management, aftermarket management research, and aftermarket manufacturing management, among others.

“As a University of the Aftermarket graduate and supporter of Northwood University, Eric wanted to invest in the future leaders of the industry by sharing several real-life cases relevant to the aftermarket classes,” stated Dr. Thomas Litzinger, executive director of the University of the Aftermarket/Northwood aftermarket industry chair.

Students enrolled in aftermarket category management are prepared for the role of product manager through inventory modeling techniques and data analysis. The aftermarket manufacturing management course explores the role manufacturers play in the aftermarket and what business functions they employ. Aftermarket management research teaches students research techniques to form a hypothesis and sample the data to reject or not reject the hypothesis.

“Our students are eager to engage with industry leaders and learn from their expertise,” stated James O’Dell, assistant director of aftermarket education. “This real-life industry experience sets Northwood students apart, makes them uniquely qualified, and prepares them for success in their career.”

The global market value of the aftermarket industry exceeds $400 billion. Northwood’s aftermarket management program is very unique — the only one of its kind. Students in this program are fueled by their passions for cars, the aftermarket, and turning this passion into a career someday. 

The program has nearly a 100% employment rate for all graduates in the program. Part of their success is because Northwood helps them engage in real-world experiences and network with industry leaders like Eric Johnson.

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