On the Rise: Matthew Thornhill
General manager | McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. | Age: 27
What was your first job in the industry?
Stacking car tires, as big as I could.
What attracted you to the industry?
My daddy made me work.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Going to school and working after Hurricane Katrina. The damage and need were unbelievable.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My dad, and Tommy Duff.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Making director at 27.
How do you spend your workday?
I’m the general manager over two commercial/OTR locations and a retread plant. I handle day-to-day operations, customer service, ordering of product, retread production and sales improvement and growth.
What did you do before you entered the tire industry?
I’ve been in the tire industry basically since I could walk, starting at Southern Tire Mart and learning from my dad and Tommy Duff. I did have a five-year stint in the Army as a combat medic before coming back to the tire industry.
If a friend expressed an interest in joining the industry, what advice would you give them?
I would tell them that if they want to get into it, they need to make it a career choice, not just a job. The tire industry is hard work, but it is one of the few industries left where you get rewarded depending specifically on your performance.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
My goal is to be a leader in the industry, and to continue to expand my area of impact within McCarthy Tire.
Aside from the basics like health insurance, what’s the most important perk/benefit an employer should offer?
Paid time off and a company vehicle. There will occasionally be days where you just need a break to recover, especially in the summer. And a vehicle is important because you put a lot of strain on a truck in this industry.
What’s the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Finding youth in today’s world who are willing to work as hard as the generations before them. This is an aging industry that needs an injection of younger people with the drive to be great.
Tell us about your family.
I have an amazing wife whom I have known since I was 14; a beautiful, three-year old daughter; and one-year old son. They have been the most positive impact in my life.
What’s the worst cliché or generalization made about your generation?
Labeling everyone as entitled or lazy. While I do believe that there are issues with the today’s workforce, they also bring a different aspect of success and growth by streamlining this business via technology.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I was better at golf so I wouldn’t embarrass myself at tournaments with customers.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Going all over the country with my dad (Texas, Las Vegas, etc.), opening new locations at the start of Southern Tire Mart’s huge growth phase. I love making a difference all over the country.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Nikola Tesla. I want to know what it’s like to be too intelligent for your era.
Do you live by a mantra or motto? If so, what is it?
“The two most important days of your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I was in a large production play of “Grease” in high school.
What’s your go-to song for a road trip playlist?
“September” by Earth Wind and Fire.
If tomorrow you could move into any other position in your company, what would you choose, and why?
Regional operations manager
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
LSU football on Saturday night!
Who’s your role model?
Jesus. How could the one perfect being ever not be my role model?
If we gave you $1,000 and one hour, how would you spend the money?
Some new Callaway Irons, for sure!
What advice would you give your high school self?
Focus more on school and activities and less on fitting in.