On the Rise: Jeffry Gardner
Director of Marketing | GB Auto Service | Age: 36
What was your first job in the industry?
I began as a service writer for a Goodyear Gemini location in Tucson, Ariz., while I worked my way towards a degree in political science from the University of Arizona. That job gave me a crash-course in automotive systems, tires and customer service.
What attracted you to the industry?
I appreciate that people's vehicles are incredibly important to their day-to-day lives. We rely on them to get essentials, go to work, take the kids to school and activities, and go on vacation. It is my pleasure to be able to help people keep their transportation in reliable running condition.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
The rapid growth of the company I work for has been extremely rewarding and challenging at the same time. There's never a dull moment when you're working to help integrate new acquisitions and greenfield locations into a proven system because every company is a little different.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My father, who passed in 2015. He got me my first start in the industry way back when and encouraged me to meet all the day's challenges with urgency and drive. His work ethic is something that I always admired and worked to exhibit not only in my professional career, but also my family life as well.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Going from running marketing for 13 locations to now 165 (and counting) has been an incredible time of activity and stress. But the results and relationships I've won are absolutely worth it.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
My role as the director of marketing is not solely focused on marketing, which anybody in my position will tell you. There are overlaps between operations, customer service, finance and other departments. Working with my colleagues in these departments has been rewarding on a personal level as well as a professional level, since I find myself learning a lot from others. My workday involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination of campaigns, measuring results and improving processes.
What did you do before you entered the tire industry?
Prior to joining the industry as a sales advisor in a Goodyear Auto Service Center store in 2005, I was a web and graphic developer and college student at the University of Arizona.
Aside from the basics like health insurance, what’s the most important perk/benefit you’d want from your employer?
I think the greatest perk an employer can offer is the ability to grow in the company. GB has given me and others a tremendous opportunity to learn more and grow through a rigorous work schedule and the ability to jump into various projects and initiatives.
Tell us about your family.
I married my high school sweetheart, Kerri, and we have two wonderful kids named Maxwell, 10, and Abigail, 7.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Whenever my Denver Broncos came to Arizona, my father and I would head up and watch them — preseason, regular season, didn't matter. I was just thrilled to catch the game with my father.
It’s report card time. What grade would you give yourself for how you’ve handled 2020?
That's tough. I'd say a solid B. While COVID threw the entire industry (the entire world, really) for a loop, I think that our quick reactions in adjusting marketing spend and paying close attention to data helped us maintain business and strengthen the company's status.
What’s been your biggest challenge this year?
Aside from the obvious? COVID remains a challenge, though I am very confident in how my team and the company as a whole has reacted.
Did you pick up any new hobbies or habits during the pandemic? Good or bad, tell us about them.
I've been cycling a lot. Working from home has turned commute time to turn into cycling time. Tucson's a great cycling city and if you wake up early enough and try not to check your email, you can get a good 20 miles in before the heat melts your tires.
What song do you crank up loud and always sing along to?
It's cliche, but One by Metallica or Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, or anything from the band Cake.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I am big into genealogy and find a lot of satisfaction in making connections and researching my family tree.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would it be?
I've always admired people who can retain numbers and figures, so I would say something along those lines. Or flight. Or super speed.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Working my tail off in support of my team, whoever or wherever it may be.