On the Rise: Joel Clark
Store manager | Clark Tire Co. Inc. | Age: 36
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job was working at our warehouse when I was 7 years old. I would go there in the summer and help unload trailers, an load our wholesale route trucks that went all over the state of Missouri.
What attracted you to the industry?
My grandfather and grandmother started in the tire business in 1949, so I am a third-generation tire changer. I have always wanted to follow in my grandfather's footsteps as he was very successful.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Biggest challenge is keeping up with the ever-changing industry. I read a lot to see what other store managers are doing in their stores to see if I can implement what they are doing in my store.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
By far my grandfather, Jack Clark.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
When I went to Sunrise Beach we had a very little two-bay store that wasn't making any money. The manager had gone on vacation and decided not to come back, so that left me there by myself. One-and-a-half years later I had grown the business so much we built a new 3,600-square-foot store. Now 12 years later we just added on another 4,300 square feet because the business has grown that much.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I still plan to be working in the tire industry. Hopefully I will be running our whole company, which consists of 13 retail locations.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Two things, I think. One is finding quality techs. The other is the cost of equipment to perform the work as automobiles become more complex.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
That when you are the boss you are also financial advisor, babysitter, and counselor, and employees come to you with all their problems and expect you to fix them.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
I am starting to try to get my kids involved. Right now my son is 8 and he is working with me at the shop. I also have one daughter who is 11 and she has been helping some this summer. They seem very interested in the business.
Tell us about your family.
My wife of 16 years Abbey and I have four wonderful children: twins Keiley and Joeley who are 13, another daughter Gracen who is 11 and our son Rhyker who is 8.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
My daughters are all involved with dance so lots of weekends are spent at dance competitions. On weekends when we don't have dance we do things as a family like barbecues and going to the local water park.
What keeps you up at night?
Work issues keep me up as I worry about my business. My store was my first child.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
That I love to barbecue.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Name a talent you wish you had.
Being able to read people better. That is a skill my grandpa had and was very good at it.
What’s your favorite food?
Anything cooked on the grill.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Definitely my grandfather. I always wish I would have paid more attention to him when he was here. I didn't realize how smart he was.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
Probably half a day. I do so much with my phone.