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On the Rise: Cody Lang

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Cody Lang 

Vice president of sales | Tire Solutions | Age: 31

 

What was your first job in the industry? 

My first job in the tire industry was a warehouse/driver position. While I finished school I worked a few days a week working in the warehouse and driving trucks for Tire Solutions. 

What attracted you to the industry?             

I was kind of born with the tire industry in my blood. Growing up my dad worked in the tire industry. Seeing the love he had for the industry got me hooked at a young age. Even when I was a little kid I "played tire store" and changed tires on matchbox cars. After getting into the industry myself it has been the relationships that have been the most fun. 

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?    

The biggest challenge I faced in my career was when I first got my opportunity to be an outside sales person. I was 18 years old and looked even younger. Many shop owners were two or three times my age and automatically judged me by my age before even giving me a chance to show them what I could bring to the table. Little did they know I had a whole lifetime of being around tires, and I made sure I knew my industry top to bottom. By showing this older clientele my knowledge and the ideas I could bring to the table really allowed me to overcome this challenge and develop the customer relationships I have today.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?         

My dad has had the biggest influence on my career hands down. From being around him and the industry while growing up to helping him start Tire Solutions from the ground up when I was a senior in high school, he has always pushed me to better myself and has helped advance my career in this industry.

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?    

My biggest accomplishment is being a part of a startup company and growing it to where we are today. We started in 2010 with five employees and no sales, and we now provide a fun place to work for 35 people. To be a part of that growth and success will always be the biggest accomplishment of our team. Our business has grown a lot over our first 12 years but the work family we have created here will be the accomplishment I will see as our greatest success. 

Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day? 

Currently I am the vice president of sales. I spend my day working with my incredible team to find opportunities to grow our sales as well as find ways to help our existing customers grow their business. I love to actually get out in front of the customers and build relationships with them. To do that I still have a customer base that I am in charge of directly, as well as visiting other customers with my sales staff.  

Tell us about your family. 

I am married to my wonderful wife, Taylor, and have two amazing kids. Jack, 3, and Emma,1. If that wasn’t enough, we have two dogs named Buddy and Stanley.

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day? 

If I have a bad day I like to either work out or spend time with my kids. It is awfully hard not to feel better when playing with your kids and watching them grow and experience their firsts in life.  

Name one thing you wish the average American better understood about the tire industry. 

I wish they understood the importance of maintaining their tire investments. I don’t think the average person realizes how vital it is for their vehicle to have good solid parts, a good alignment and consistent tire rotations to get the most miles out of their tires.  

If you could have lunch with a celebrity, who would it be, and why? 

I would probably choose Ed Mylett. He is an extremely successful business person but also through his podcast has had the opportunity to talk to countless amazing people. Not only would it be interesting to hear his business practices and philosophies but I bet he has some amazing stories to tell about all the people he has met as well.  

Name a talent you wish you had. 

I wish I could slow down time. From a professional level some days you wish you could sneak more in but more importantly on a personal level I wish I could slow down time and enjoy my kids growing up more.  

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today? 

The biggest issue facing the industry today has to be technician shortages. In the Midwest you can walk into any shop and they will ask you if you know any techs looking for work. To make this even tougher the number of students attending automotive tech colleges in this area is getting smaller and smaller. I think this issue is going to affect all of the trades.

Tell us your biggest pet peeve. 

Laziness. 

What’s the best book you’ve read lately? 

“Quench Your Own Thirst” by Jim Koch. This book was written by the founder of Samuel Adams. It’s a great story of how he turned his passion of brewing beer into the brand that Samuel Adams is today. It is filled with awesome stories of unique ways he built his brand and has a lot of interesting brewing information for people that like that as well. I highly recommend it.  

If a tire dealer asked you for advice to find good employees, what would you suggest? 

I would suggest they look at what their internal culture looks like first. Is your shop neat and orderly? Is it clean? Does it feel like a place you would want to work when someone walks through the door for an interview. I think in today's world where prospective employees have so many options of where to go to work, first impressions are everything. If they can walk into your building and it's clean and gives off a vibe of a fun place to work you will have a better chance of them choosing your shop to work at than a dirty shop with a negative vibe.  

What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now? 

I do not see myself doing anything different 20 years from now. I am only 30 years old and want to keep building our business and create a legacy for generations to come if they choose to be a part of this amazing industry. 

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