Luanne Brown

Founder and President of eTool Developers in Grand Rapids. eTool specializes in the development of websites, product information management systems, and e–learning platforms for the automotive aftermarket. Under Brown's leadership, the company continues to add clients and staff, and recently celebrated its 10–year anniversary. Clients include Lear, Motor State Distributing, Husky Liners, Truck Accessories Group, and The Car Coach. Brown serves as a director of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). She chair its SEMA Cares charitable committee, and is a member of SEMA's business technology committee. Brown's previous roles include accounting with Sheraton Hotels and business manager and CFO of Media 1 Interactive. eTool has grown to include an office in California and recently hired a new sales director and launched a new website to serve its growing client base. The products developed by eTool help aftermarket businesses increase profits by providing the ability to market and sell products online. eTool Developers created the PWA University for the Performance Warehouse Association (PWA), a landmark online education and training vehicle for its members. Brown has become one of the industry's leading experts, conducting seminars on Internet marketing and advertising at the SEMA Show, the Aftermarket eForum, PWA annual meeting, Off Road Impact Show, Hot Rod and Restoration Trade Show, Performance Racing Industry trade show, and various Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association events. She is a past recipient of SEMA's Athena Award, which is given to women who make outstanding contributions to the automotive aftermarket.

WHERE BORN: “Muskegon.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My husband, who has been my No. 1 fan, and you really need support when you’re a mother, have a family, and start a business. He’s been influential in my success. When I started my own business, he was very encouraging.”

LAST BOOK READ: “I just finished Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. In business, you have MBAs and experience and knowledge but few pay attention to the emotional intelligence of people.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Influential, pretty relentless, which you have to be in business. I’m dependable and adventurous.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Two fold — we are an IT company but the focus is on the automotive aftermarket. In IT, cloud and web services are important and in the automotive aftermarket, it’s tough because it's really 15 years behind other industries, which really gives us the opportunity. People are hanging on to cars longer so they need to buy auto parts to fix vehicles. We provide the ability to apply make and model year apps with manufacturers’ products so people can search for them on the Internet and so manufacturers can trade with big box companies or small performance warehouses that have antiquated systems. We're cleaning up the industry by developing standards so they can market and sell products on the Internet.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My Android Smartphone. I love Android and the connectivity that Google has afforded these phones.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Honestly, my favorite is anywhere my family is. In business, you travel quite a bit so anywhere we can get together is my favorite place.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “I love driving, off–roading, camping, hiking outdoors, and going to the beach. I love ‘Up North’ in Michigan.”


MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I press flowers. I make art out of them that I frame or use for arts and crafts.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As someone who was always of service to others. I was a Girl Scout leader for seven years and having been a mom, everything I do is in service to others.”