On the Rise: Heather Rowland
President | WNY Industrial Tire Inc. | Age: 39
What was your first job in the industry?
Selling rubber tracks to equipment dealers.
What attracted you to the industry?
The legacy my father built when he started this company almost 50 years ago.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
The pandemic. It was the unknown if and how we were going to make it when everything first shut down.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Being a woman business owner in this male-dominated industry.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
As a small business owner, I wear many hats. I handle human resources, schedule our service jobs, order inventory, invoice customers, (handle) sales orders, answer phones, make sales calls, make deliveries. Whatever needs to be done, I am always pitching in where need be.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
You can’t make everyone happy.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to my husband, Brian, for eight years. We have two boys, Blake who is 7 and Wyatt who is 3, and a chocolate Labrador named Hunter.
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am stronger than I thought. I was pulled in many directions everyday keeping up with the guidelines, retaining my employees, making sure everyone was safe and well. I just took one day at a time. It was the most challenging year I have ever had.
Name a talent you wish you had.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
I work out. It clears my head and helps keep me sane.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Gung Ho, by Ken Blanchard
What’s your favorite, can’t-miss podcast?
I don’t listen to them often, but I do enjoy listening to Rachel Hollis.
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
Baking! I love it, my dream is to be on the Food Network Baking Championship. However, I need a lot of practice.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
It has always been tough finding technicians. Since the pandemic, that has been a huge challenge, as well as the supply shortages. It’s a constant battle every day.
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
Keep trying different avenues. Switch your ads up with different wording and advertise in many different places.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Still running the company, but in a lesser capacity. I hope one of my sons will have an interest so I can work for them.