Derek Suen addresses the industry online during the AIA’s annual general meeting in April.
Derek Suen, manager of new product development at Dorman Products has been named the Young Leader of the Year.
Suen was acknowledged during the annual general meeting of the Automotive Industries Associaton of Canada (AIA).
The AIA’s Young Professionals of the Aftermarket networking group (YPA) name Suen the Young Leader of the Year for his enthusiasm for innovation and contribution to the industry.
“I’m very grateful to accept this award – even virtually – as our industry is filled with many talented people,” Suen said during the online AGM. He extended congratulations to the others who were in the running for the award.
In his online acceptance speech, he paid homage to the late Roy Shannon, whom he described as a great mentor and supporter of the Canadian aftermarket.
Shannon, a former general manager of APM (Colonial Auto Parts) in Atlantic Canada, and later joined sales agency Zurawel Patton Sample, died Jan. 8 at the age of 72.
“During his tenure in the industry, he worked in almost every level of distribution and was the most generous and humble person you could ever hope to come by,” Suen said. “Often you don’t realize the impact someone is having on you until they’re gone.”
Suen described Shannon’s simple formula for success as: Check the ego, always do more than is expected of you, and build strong personal relationships to weather any storm.
With almost 10 years of ideation and product management experience, Suen has helped bring a number of useful and relevant products to the aftermarket.
Prior to Dorman, he worked for several multinational corporations holding positions in accounting, finance and supply chain. Reminiscing about the love-hate relationship he had with spreadsheets (magnified over many late nights), he admits that his previous roles have been extremely useful in developing a strong foundation of business acumen.
Suen graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an honors degree in Economics in 2006 and returned a decade later to complete his Master of Business Administration in 2017 while working full-time.