Derek Kaufman

Derek Kaufman

Board Member

Derek Kaufman started his career in 1975 as a manufacturing process engineer with the Chevrolet Division of General Motors after his graduation from General Motors Institute.
In 1978, Derek joined Euclid Inc, a producer of mining and construction trucks in Cleveland, Ohio.  Starting as a Sales Engineer, he moved through North American and International Sales and Marketing responsibilities as Manager and Director of Marketing and Sales Engineering.  In 1983, he assumed responsibility for the worldwide parts and service organization of Euclid as Vice President of Product Support.

In 1984, Mr. Kaufman joined Freightliner Corporation in Portland, Oregon as Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning. During his time at Freightliner, the on-highway truck manufacturer moved from 10% to 18% market share of the North American Class 8 truck segment.

In November 1988 Derek joined the Penske Corporation Team as President of Diesel Technology Company, a producer of diesel engine fuel systems.  Under Mr. Kaufman’s leadership, DTC formed a global partnership with Robert Bosch Corporation to sell fuel systems to the major European truck manufacturers. Bosch eventually purchased DTC from the Penske organization.
In April 1997 Derek completed his personal goal of forming his own company.  As the Founder and President of C3 Network, LLC Derek and his team help clients launch new products into the transportation market.

In 2003 Mr. Kaufman returned to the Penske organization to serve as Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Support for Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group company, based in Detroit, Michigan. In October 2003 Hino introduced an all-new line of Class 4-7 Medium Duty trucks that combined Hino’s leading edge engine technology with the proven dependability of American drive train components. 

In 2006 Penske Corporation negotiated with Daimler AG to become the USA distributor of the Smart brand of micro-cars. Derek led the Operations team for Smart to establish the customer support, parts, service and EPA/NHTSA regulatory efforts of the company.

In 2013 and 2014 Derek was the CEO of Mission Motors Company in San Francisco, California, a producer of power electronics components for the automotive, powersports, commercial transportation and off-highway equipment markets. Mission partnered with Harley-Davidson on the electric drive powertrain for Harley’s Livewire electric drive motorcycle.

Today, Derek is a Managing Partner at Schwartz Advisors LLC, a La Jolla, CA based firm supporting the M&A activities and organizational development of companies in the automotive aftermarket. Derek also continues to own C3 Network, LLC, his product launch company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Derek is currently on the boards of Vermeer Corporation, a producer of industrial and agricultural equipment in Pella, Iowa, Cascade Engineering, a manufacturer and marketer of multiple brands of products based in Grand Rapids, MI, Pridgeon & Clay, an auto parts stamping company based in Grand Rapids and Bergstrom Inc. in Rockford, IL, a producer of heavy vehicle air conditioning systems.

Mr. Kaufman speaks nationally on technology trends and writes the monthly Telematics Trendline for the Auto Care Association.

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