On the Rise: John Ward
Online Sales | Allen Rubber Co. Inc. dba The TireNet | Age: 39
What was your first job in the industry?
Working for Traction Tire. After 15 years in the auto parts industry I stepped into the tire world. I started as a sales person and worked my way to the inside sales manager position.
What attracted you to the industry?
I enjoy cars and selling. It was an easy transition from auto parts to selling tires. It’s exciting to find a deal and start the selling process. You meet a lot of interesting people along the way.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Building my book of business. Being pretty new to the industry it was difficult to get my foot in the door. The tire world is not used to much change. Getting your buyer to confide in you takes a lot of patience and persistence. I had to prove myself every step of the way.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Nelson Tavares was my mentor at Traction. He saw my potential and pushed me to achieve it. We worked together for three-and-a-half years. He would always tell me “You got this Ward.” He actually introduced me to my current employer, Allen Rubber. Even though I enjoyed my time at Traction, Allen Rubber has been great to work for. I am blown away by the environment the owners have created here. They challenge us to be the best we can be everyday.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Growing and developing an online presence and drop ship partnership with multiple vendors. I started from scratch selling online and developed it into a $1 million-plus sales revenue in a little over a year. At the time I was the sole person running the online sales presence and processing our drop ship orders.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
I work in the internet sales department. My tasks include customer service, working with FedEx to correct any issues, pricing incoming inventory, listing available inventory between eBay and Amazon, and creating work orders for sold tires to be billed.
What did you do before you entered the tire industry?
Before the tire industry I was in the auto parts retail management business. I ran stores for Advance Auto Parts and then AutoZone. I did that for approximately 15 years.
Aside from the basics like health insurance, what’s the most important perk/benefit you’d want from your employer?
Time off is great even though I don't take much of it. I have three girls who I love very much. Spending the extra time with them is always nice.
What’s the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
The availability of inexpensive tires. With so much in doubt it is tough to get the entry level tires in.
Tell us about your family.
I have a family of 5. I married my wife on Aug. 18, 2008. We have three beautiful daughters named Kylee, Kinsley and Kennedy. We also have 2 pups, Diesel and Lola.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
The first time I put on a pair of hockey skates and started my passion for playing hockey.
It’s report card time. What grade would you give yourself for how you’ve handled 2020?
B+. During the pandemic I've kept busy remodeling two bathrooms, installing a new driveway, and painting a few rooms. Other than that there hasn't been much to do. Thankfully we were able to get back on the ice for our first game in six months.
What’s been your biggest challenge this year?
Managing home life. It's been tough for the kids and my wife. She is a dean of a middle school and has been home since late March. It's a tough job taking care of three kids and maintaining the house, especially during the construction.
Did you pick up any new hobbies or habits during the pandemic? Good or bad, tell us about them.
No new habits or hobbies. I have learned to do a lot with remodeling. I've learned some plumbing so I didn't have to pay anyone to install my toilets or sinks.
What song do you crank up loud and always sing along to?
That's a tough one. There are so many. I'd have to say the Deftones’ “Knife Party.”
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I have two webbed toes on each foot from being born prematurely.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would it be?
Probably something graphic, like web design.
What keeps you up at night?
Worrying about what is going on in the world right now, especially having three girls.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Hopefully retiring and living in South Carolina near the beach.