On the Rise: Cari Solano
Chief Operations Officer | Route 66 Tire and Rubber LLC | Age: 32
What was your first job in the industry?
Straight out of college I was given the opportunity to start and partially own a new company with my father and uncle, Route 66 Tire and Rubber LLC. My responsibilities, beyond setting up the initial company itself, included keeping the books, payroll, customer service, price calculations and comparisons, and logistics...to name a few.
What attracted you to the industry?
I grew up in the tire industry due to my father, along with my grandfather and uncle, owning multiple retail tire stores in Texas. Playing in the tires with my sisters growing up is always a fond memory. The success my father and grandfather have had in the industry have greatly influenced my choice to pursue a career in tires.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I have faced in my career would be stepping out from the shadow of my father and grandfather to create my own relationships and build my own trust and loyalty with our customers. Being a woman in this industry has also had its own hurdles as, in the past, this field was male dominated. The many amazing women already leading this industry are an inspiration to me and I look up to them to mold my future in the industry.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My father has had the biggest influence in my career. He has taught me everything he knows about the industry and how to conduct business in any industry. You can take business classes in college but nothing will prepare you for real world business like the knowledge of someone who has been in the industry for years.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment, although small, will always be my first sell. It is humbling to remember the pride of your initial accomplishments, while small, and know that from that moment forward you can accomplish anything you put your hard work and relentless efforts toward.
How do you spend your work day?
My responsibilities include pricing, payables/receivables, adjustments, payroll, book keeping, logistics, etc. I spend the majority of my workday in the office handing the day to day for the company.
What keeps you up at night?
Occasionally, my baby girl
Early bird or night owl?
Messy or neat freak?
Growing up, what was your dream job?
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for five years and have a new daughter, Claira.
Describe your first car and what you loved most about it.
A Ford 150. It was a hand-me-down. I loved that it was my sister’s and my father’s before being mine.
What advice would you give your high school self?
Don’t change a thing!
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Best way to spend a Saturday night:
Home with my family, watching football! Go TCU!
What song do you crank up loud and always sing along to?
Any country song, especially Carrie Underwood!
What habit do you wish you could break?
What’s your secret superpower?
I wish I knew! haha
What game show would you most likely win?
The Price is Right
If we gave you $1,000 and one hour, how would you spend the money?
Unfortunately, I would probably buy something I need.
How should the tire industry attract and retain more young talent?
With good pay, room to move up, opportunities and entry level job availability.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Running the family business!
What’s the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Right now, tariffs!
If you could spend a day supporting a charity, what would you do?
I would go to the Humane Society and help out with the animals.
If you could start a new career tomorrow, what would it be?
Not sure, I am pretty happy with me current career.