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On The Rise

Steve Bourassa

Steve Bourassa

Director of products and pricing | Nokian Tyres Inc. | Age: 37

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job was as a warehouse worker and delivery driver, which helped me better understand the business and work with great people which, in turn, helped me develop and succeed in my role today.

What attracted you to the industry?

I believe that my early obsession with cars drew me into the industry. However, the amazing people that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years have kept me in the industry.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

My biggest challenge so far has been finding the position that is the perfect fit for me. I’ve worked in so many different roles and that experience has allowed me to find the best fit. Now I feel like I’m in the position that allows me to integrate my love of cars, industry knowledge, and analytical and presentation skills into my work. I am able to use all of my strongest qualities, which ultimately provides the most value to my co-workers and the company as a whole.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

The biggest influence on my career is Scott Johansen. He is not only a mentor, but also a friend. He took the time to show me the ins and outs of the tire business. He opened my eyes up to all of the opportunities there are in our industry.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?

My biggest accomplishment has been my involvement in product development in the North American market. Speaking about the Nokian Rotiiva and Nokian eNtyre product lines, there is nothing quite like watching a product develop from a concept, to launching, and finally, to the end-of-life. This year my team and I launched a new all season product line, the zLine, that will help position Nokian Tyres as a tire maker with a comprehensive suite of products developed to best serve our customers’ needs here in North America. My team and I have the opportunity to leave a tangible mark on the industry with our product development.

What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?

I expect that I’ll be doing something in the tire business or the automotive industry in 20 years. Perhaps I’ll start a business one day.

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?

Educating consumers about the safety and potential environmental benefits of the tires they choose for their vehicle. There is so much more to tires than price and mileage warranties.  Better education might help consumers to make smarter choices.

What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?

An engineering degree, an MBA, or a little race experience would go a long way in this business.

How do you encourage others to enter the industry?

People often don’t realize how big the tire industry can be.  Once people understand how many companies are out there that need good people, it is easy to see that there is a place for everyone in our industry.

Tell us about your family.

Kelly is my beautiful wife of 10 years.  My son, Benjamin, is 9 and my daughter, Sophie, is 7.  We also have a dog that we recently adopted and a cat.

What’s your favorite weekend activity?

Golfing with friends and hiking with my family are always relaxing and enjoyable.

What keeps you up at night?

I sleep like a log every night.  I try not to sweat the small stuff.

Tell us something about yourself others might not know.

I love punk rock and skateboarding, even though I’m too old for both.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate is my weakness.

Name a talent you wish you had.

I love music, but was not given much talent.  I wish I could get paid to play an instrument and see the world at the same time.

What’s your favorite food?

I could eat pizza every day, but my true love is steak. 

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

A relaxing dinner with Paul McCartney would be interesting.  I could ask him countless questions about his music, philosophy, and life experiences.

If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?

A week or two would be a nice holiday from the fancy technology.  As long as some holiday time came with it, I don’t think it would be that much of a struggle.

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