Mike's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Technicians

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Diamond Bar, CA

MIKE SPAGNOLA

Vice President, OEM & Product Development
SEMA Garage

“You have to wake up every morning, push through it, and say ‘I’m not going to let things get in my way’. You’re going to fail, but you’re going to pick yourself up and keep going.”

INTERESTS:

Business Engineering

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Exploration Perseverance Struggle Family Fulfillment Opportunity Education Hard Work Doubt Risk Dedication Determination

FOUNDATION:

Learning and Being Challenged

TAGS:

accomplishment, automotive industry, balance, car, classes, college, failure, family, hard work, hustle, learning, manufacturers, mentors, motivation, perseverance, racing, risks, selling, sema garage, work

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He took auto shop in high school and loved it; always knew he wanted to race cars.
  • Once he graduated high school—in between racing and fixing cars—he went to work for a Datsun dealership delivering parts.
  • Knew he loved the auto industry, but wasn’t sure he wanted to be a mechanic—realized that there were endless other opportunities that he could explore.
  • Over the last 40 years, he has worked in the import cars business, bought, sold and ran companies, and is now in charge of Product Development at the SEMA Garage.
  • At SEMA, he is working on pioneering the use of 3D printing to create custom parts for vehicles.
  • Over the course of his career, he constantly encountered negativity from the people around him who were convinced he was going to fail.
  • Believes that to succeed you need to: work hard, take risks, ask questions, talk to a lot of people, do your research and jump in!
  • Says that the auto industry is “loving and anxious to see the next generation come in”; encourages young people to not be shy and befriend people that can help you on your journey.

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