Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

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Brian Sump

Brian Sump, Ratchet+Wrench's very first cover subject, and three industry superstars reflect on lessons learned from the trailblazers of the past and the strategies that can pave the way for the future.

It feels like a lot longer than 10 months ago when one of my colleagues came to an interesting realization: October 2020 would be the 100th issue of Ratchet+Wrench. And not only that, but it’s also the fifth year we’ve conducted our Industry Survey.

This came up in a planning meeting, as our team looked at the year ahead, particularly the fall. The fall issues are typically our biggest and coincide with numerous industry events, including AAPEX and the Ratchet+Wrench Management Conference, so we typically try to find ways to make them “special” and unique.

What better time to take a look back, celebrate and to highlight the advancements in the industry over those past 100 issues?

Well, plans change. COVID-19 hit. Nearly every event, including our own, was postponed or outright cancelled. The industry suffered. We’ve suffered.

But, what can you do? If there’s ever been a year that’s illustrated just how little control we have, it’s 2020. So, we’ve done the only thing we can do: Adjust.

I mentioned it last month, but just because times are tough doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to celebrate. In fact, tough times might even be more cause to celebrate the good.

So, think back to your journey over the last 100 months. What have you done? What have you accomplished? How have you grown, and how have those around you grown?

I can say that we, as a magazine, as a company, as a team, and as a resource to the industry have grown tremendously. As someone who’s been there since the beginning, convincing shops who wanted nothing to do with another industry publication that they should talk to me and that we would be different, that growth has been extremely rewarding.

You’ll see on the pages of our feature, “A Look Back, A Leap Forward” (p. XX) how the industry has shifted, as well. We picked four people for four specific reasons—they’re folks who we’ve highlighted before and people who have been on the journey with us. Brain Sump was our very first cover subject, and in the 100 months since, he’s expanded his operation and become one of the foremost shop owners in the industry. Greg Bunch has also grown his Colorado business, and has now shifted his focus to helping other growing shop owners through his Transformers Institute. We also talked to two of the most tech-focused operators in the industry, National Automotive Task Force executive officer Donny Seyfer and Greg Buckley, who was on a 2016 cover wearing Google Glass.

While their stories are different, all of these operators have one quality in common: they keep pushing forward. They’ve all weathered obstacles. They’ve all pivoted in one way or another. And they’ve all managed to come out better on the other side.

So, let’s do the same. Let’s keep adjusting. Let’s keep moving forward. And let’s have even better things to celebrate 100 months from now.

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