Lindsay Chappell:

RJ de Vera’s auto industry resume is as free-form and hard to read as a graffiti wall in urban L.A.
 His job title — “leader of the customer engagement group” at the car-care brand Meguiar’s Inc. — doesn’t come close to explaining the man, who helped bring Southern California’s Japanese import tuner craze into auto industry business plans in the 2000s.
 De Vera, 37, has been a trend predictor and under-the-radar consultant since his 20s, editing street-racing magazines, forming car clubs and creating special-edition one-off vehicles that have unofficially influenced automakers on matters as small as accessories and edgy paint color options.
 He began buying and selling trending car parts as a kid, working part time and blowing his entire paycheck to fill his baffled mother’s condo with high-end wheels and sets of racing tires before he had a car to put them on — or a driver’s license.