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‘An Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur:’ Perspectives on Chip Wood

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"There are people out there who are way better than I am," says Chip, with son, Evan, who is a technician at one of the dealership's locations, and Anna. "And I still get to work with them and say, 'This is what I think.'"

(Photo by Steve Ziegelmeyer/Steve Ziegelmeyer Photography)

MTD Tire Dealer of the Year Chip Wood has earned the admiration of both employees and suppliers alike. Here are thoughts about Chip from the people who know him best and others who have worked closely with him:

Carla Wood, Chip’s wife: “Chip and I have been married for 30 years and I know that it’s his refusal to accept nothing but the best that has made Tire Discounters what it is today. He has stayed the course and followed his dream from day one. His creativity never ceases to amaze me. Chip also has a kind heart that continues to bless people all around him. He has made a difference in many lives, both at Tire Discounters and throughout our community.”

Anna Wood, Tire Discounters managing director and vice president: “I believe a great leader displays the same traits on and off the job, staying the same when no one’s looking. That’s my dad. He is committed, caring, intelligent, witty and so much more. It is these attributes that have made him a true leader as a father and at Tire Discounters.”

Evan Wood, Tire Discounters technician: “My dad has always set the bar high for work ethic and that’s something I’ve always admired him for. He has been a tremendous role model through example and continues to push me toward my goals.” 

Steven Wood, Tire Discounters IT support: “Not everyone knows what they want to do with their lives. My dad is the exception. He’s always known that he would be a successful entrepreneur, even before starting Tire Discounters. I couldn’t be prouder to be his son.”

Chris Wood, Tire Discounters senior vice president, purchasing, warehousing and distribution: “I was a teenager when I started working with Chip, and we had all the usual older/younger brother shenanigans going on. But one thing we always did from the word go was work extremely hard. Our dad and mom instilled a strong work ethic in both of us. Things turned out pretty great, but if they hadn’t, it sure wouldn’t have been for lack of trying. I’ve learned a lot from my brother – and we’ve learned a lot together.”

Jamie Ward, Tire Discounters president and CEO: “Chip is the (legendary Green Bay Packers’ coach) Vince Lombardi of our business. Vince Lombardi ran the same play with different variations but kept it simple and executed it flawlessly. Chip also has a tendency to ask questions that nobody else has asked. By asking the right questions, he gets the right answers and makes the right decisions. Asking people for their opinion, hearing things that he might not have thought about - it’s a unique thing with Chip. He’s always looking for improvement. And he has established a winning culture.”

Crissy Niese, Tire Discounters senior vice president and chief customer officer: “Chip is never satisfied but in all the right ways. Everything we do here is entrepreneurial. And Chip sets the tone. He gives us so much freedom to think outside-the-box. He isn’t telling us, ‘Don’t do this.’ He isn’t telling us to worry about whether we’re going to waste money or take the wrong action. If there’s a strong, strategic reason as to why something makes sense and you’re compelled to take action, he’ll say, ‘Why don’t you do it?’ 

Bob Oestreicher, Tire Discounters senior vice president and corporate secretary: “Chip doesn’t settle. He always challenges assumptions, making sure we have the whole picture but also that we’re looking at things from different angles. He gives you leeway but will challenge you if you aren’t thinking through a particular issue. And the breadth of his knowledge is amazing. Chip is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.”

Kevin Burke, Tire Discounters senior vice president of finance, chief financial officer and treasurer: “Chip doesn’t look at things as success and failure. It’s success and opportunity. We all make mistakes but we learn from them. The opportunity will come up again in some form or fashion. One thing I don’t accept as an answer is, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it.’ And that describes how Chip leads this company.”

Chris Ball, president, Americas, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.: “Ask anyone at Cooper Tire about Tire Discounters and you’ll hear the same words over and over: innovation and creativity, true partnership, commitment to excellence and an obsession with the consumer. There’s a reason why Tire Discounters has such a positive reputation throughout our organization. That reason is Chip Wood. Someone once said that “excellence is never an accident. It is the result of intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.’ Looking at what Chip and the entire team at Tire Discounters have achieved, you can see that every single one of these principles has consistently been in action for decades.”

Justin Liu, president and CEO, Tireco: “Chip, the Wood family and the entire Tire Discounters organization are the model independent tire dealers. Over many decades, their success has been driven by Chip’s vision and the dedication of their team members.”

Andrew Hoit, vice president of sales and marketing, Tireco: “Tire Discounters is an organization that is still focused on family values. They care about their employees and they treat their partners in a similar fashion. It shows in Chip’s leadership approach. Anytime you have the opportunity to conduct a long-term business relationship with an organization like that, it’s very rewarding.”

Mike Dwyer, chief customer officer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: “Goodyear’s relationship with Tire Discounters goes back more than 30 years, and we are continually impressed by their exceptional service and commitment to building strong relationships with their suppliers. They’ve been a pleasure to work with, and we are excited for the opportunity to celebrate this most recent success.”   

John Zentz, senior vice president, global sales, Hunter Engineering Co.: “Tire Discounters is at the top of the list, from a professionalism standpoint. They always want to improve. They always want to bring the best product they can to the industry. And we are very honored to be a partner of Tire Discounters. They do it the right way.”

Scott Griswold, sales manager, Valvoline: “Valvoline has been a partner with Chip for over 25 years. Chip’s leadership comes through his people. Chip has the vision and puts strong people in place to make things happen.”

Doug Hyndon, owner of Anchor Properties: “What you see is what you get. A deal is a deal. There’s no hidden agenda. Chip knows his business from the ground up. He knows how to put stores together. He’s very decisive and knows what works and what doesn’t.”

(Photo by Steve Ziegelmeyer/Ziegelmeyer Photography)

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