On the Rise: Denesh Santiago
Regional director | Mavis Discount Tire | Age: 30
What was your first job in the industry?
Lube tech at Valvoline Instant Oil Change.
What attracted you to the industry?
My passion for cars and how they work. I am a car head to the core and what better occupation than working on them.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I face is being the youngest person in the room that has to lead a group of industry veterans on a daily basis. I have been successful by earning the respect of the teams I lead rather than demanding it due to my position. Being that I have climbed the ranks throughout the years, I have a better understanding on how to motivate and inspire my team members to excel.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I would have to say my mother. She helped me get my first job at her hotel when I was 14 as a handyman. It taught me discipline at a young age and I have carried it with me at every job I have had since. It also taught me no matter the position, do it to your fullest abilities. She has pushed me every day since I can remember to be the best that I can be and to always give 150% effort no matter if someone is looking or not. Hard work always pays off.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Starting out at Mavis as a tire tech, then getting promoted to an assistant manager, store manager, regional manager and now I am a regional director. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be sitting here supervising 64 locations when I started.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
I am currently a regional director at Mavis Discount tires and I manage 64 stores. My job is basically to hire and train employees on our core fundamentals and proven winning process. I also oversee the locations from a financial perspective and customer point of view to ensure we are giving best-in-class service to our customers.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
Patience is a virtue and investing time and effort into the people you lead will pay off in the long term rather the short.
Tell us about your family.
I am very close with my family. I have a great relationship with my parents and have one younger brother who lives in Florida that I helped get a job at Mavis!
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
I come home take a hot shower and have some fun with my dog. No matter how bad my day could be, she always wants to give me some puppy love.
Name one thing you wish the average American better understood about the tire industry.
The importance of a tire rotation. In the years I have worked in the automotive field we have a lot of customers that aren't aware that the front tires see the most wear and tear and if you do not rotate them, you can easily cut their life in half.
If you could have lunch with a celebrity, who would it be, and why?
Sebastian Vettel. I am a die-hard car enthusiast and one of my favorite sports to watch is Formula 1. He is one of the greatest drivers of all time winning four championships in a row, but he is also someone who stands up for what they believe in. He stands up for human rights and uses his platform to make a difference.
Name a talent you wish you had?
Speak a second language. In this field you meet a lot of employees and customers that speak another language and it would be great to communicate freely.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
If a tire dealer asked you for advice to find good employees, what would you suggest?
A good employee consists of someone who cares and is open to learning something new every day.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
The CEO of Mavis.