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Belle Tire Names New CEO and President

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Belle Tire Names New CEO and President

Belle Tire Distributors Inc. has a new chief executive officer and a new company president. Jack Lawless, 54, has been hired as CEO, and Don Barnes III, 32, has been promoted to company president from president of retail operations.

Lawless will work with Barnes III in presiding over the entire Belle Tire organization. Together, they will work along with the other members of the leadership team to continue the company’s plans for growth. The company recently entered the Indiana market, marking its first expansion into new territory in 30 years.

"I am very pleased to be a part of such an iconic brand,” says Lawless. “I look forward to working with the Barnes family and the entire Belle Tire team to continue its commitment to providing the best auto service and tire buying options in the industry."

Lawless, who resides in Northville, Mich., replaces Dr. Steven Craig, who successfully led the company the past two years and helped – along with the other members of the executive team – create the company’s current structure.

Previously, Lawless was the president and CEO for Troy, Mich.-based Champion Enterprises, a leader in the modular homebuilding industry, where he doubled the company’s U.S. market share in four years.

Barnes III is the third generation of the family-owned business, beginning with his grandfather and followed by his father and uncle. He has worked for the company for more than ten years.

His new role will allow him to continue his family’s tradition of top-shelf customer service, maintaining Belle Tire’s place as one of Michigan’s outstanding family companies offering the “Lowest Tire Price, Period.”  He will also continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of more than 90 locations in Michigan, northern Ohio and Indiana. 

“The continued success of Belle Tire is our primary goal, and the addition of Jack to our leadership team will help us forge ahead with our tradition of growth here in the Midwest,” said Barnes, III.

Six make up Belle's executive leadership team

In addition to Lawless as CEO and Barnes III as president, there are four other members of the leadership team at the helm of Belle Tire’s growth strategy. Each brings decades of expertise in their respective areas.

“We have been working diligently to ensure that we get the right people in place to help keep things moving along progressively here at Belle Tire as they have since 1922,” says owner Don Barnes Jr.  “Wayne Shotwell, Mike Schulmeister, Jim Peterson and Tom Bowman fit perfectly into the context of our new leadership team with their unique experiences and expertise.”

Wayne Shotwell was recently promoted from vice president of logistics and asset Management to chief operating officer. He has been with Belle Tire since 2006 and has led the company’s in-store remodeling overhaul since 2012, impacting approximately 50 locations so far. He has also played a major role in the logistical aspects of the Indiana expansion.

Mike Schulmeister was named chief financial officer this past spring. He joined Belle Tire after several years as vice president controller at Dawn Food Products, manufacturer and distributor of bakery food products with $2 billion in sales.

Jim Peterson and Tom Bowman complete the executive team as vice president of human resources and vice president of commercial division, respectively.

Belle Tire is eighth on the Modern Tire Dealer 100 list of top independent tire dealers in the U.S. Don Barnes Jr. and Bob Barnes are the company's owners.

The company was founded in 1922 when it opened the first Belle Tire location in Detroit and has expanded to more than 90 locations across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. For more information, visit www.belletire.com.

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