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On the Rise: Meagan Koranek

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Meagan Koranek 

Supply chain manager | American Omni Trading Co. | Age: 28

 

What was your first job in the industry?     

Supply chain analyst.  

What attracted you to the industry?             

I honestly never thought I would work in this industry! I was immediately drawn in by AOT’s business model and the people who work here. From there, my interest continued to grow as my knowledge grew. Making connections with suppliers, understanding at a high level the engineering/components of tires and learning more about our customers and their business needs keep me here. 

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

COVID and the drastic swings in demand have been an incredible learning opportunity. I would argue trying to navigate high demand with supply constraints while keeping the customers’ needs in mind really challenged the whole industry over the last year and a half, but I had the unique opportunity to really see both sides sitting where I am at. This is a challenge I will remember throughout my career. 

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?  

I have been blessed with so many helpful, wonderful people in my career thus far. I truly couldn't pick just one. Tom and Chris Brackin took a chance on hiring me right out of graduate school. They have continued to encourage and challenge me. Alicia Abercrombie Koehler has been a fantastic mentor and has really shown me how to stick to my guns while remaining flexible. John Carlino has mentored me since I started at AOT and has helped me grow significantly. He has served as an excellent sounding board and has provided invaluable guidance. Allen Rosario was my first manager here at AOT. He introduced me to the world of supply chain as it pertains to tires. Lastly, David Hernandez really took me under his wing when I first started and taught me a lot of the product knowledge I have today. 

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?    

I have had the unique opportunity to start as the first supply chain analyst here at AOT where I focused on digging into the intersection between our customer needs and our supplier’s ability to supply. With time I have grown into a managerial role where I now get to really work cross functionally and encourage the team to look for process improvements. We are constantly looking for ways to improve communication regarding production, streamline internal communication and keep our customers’ needs top of mind. 

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

I am currently the supply chain manager at American Omni. My typical day revolves around monitoring orders in relation to supply, overseeing our order management team and working closely with our order processing team in China. A typical week for me requires multiple calls with our international suppliers discussing various needs and constraints. 

What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job? 

That I would learn just as much, if not more, about working with people than I would about supply chain! 

Tell us about your family. 

I have a wonderful husband, Chris, and two awesome pups, Dixie, an Australian Shepherd, and Koda, a hound mutt.  

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day? 

On a particularly stressful day, I like to cuddle up with the pups on the couch or begin planning my newest baking adventure for the weekend. I love trying new recipes and various dessert decorating techniques on my free weekends. 

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

There are a lot of components that go into a tire. It is not just a piece of round rubber! 

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

The first celebrity that came to mind was Emma Watson. Not only does she just seem like a class act, incredibly kind and motivated, but I really respect the importance she put on continuing her education while still pursuing her acting career.  

Name a talent you wish you had. 

I have always wished I could play the piano. I, unfortunately, am not musically inclined.  

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today? 

Currently the overstock situation is a real challenge I am hearing about across many tire companies. Fortunately, everyone needs tires so inventory will begin to deplete and ordering cycles will go back to normal, but it has been fascinating watching the cyclicality of the supply and demand relationships through COVID. Going from order cancellations at the start of COVID, to ordering up to meet demand, to longer transit times and supply shortages causing a severe spike in orders, to now a breakthrough in supply and transit times leading to overstock situations, it has certainly been an interesting study through a supply chain lens. 

Tell us your biggest pet peeve. 

I really cannot stand when people do not put their carts in the cart return. It's so bad that both my husband and I will grab carts in the parking lot and put them away as we go into a store. 

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

“Surrounded by Idiots,” by Thomas Erikson. We read this book in our company book club. It has been enlightening, not only on a professional level in how to work better with my colleagues, but on a personal level with friends and family as well. 

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

Take a chance and be willing to invest in your employees. If you can find candidates right out of undergrad, it affords you the ability to mold them, but be willing to take the time to invest in educating them on the world of tires. I know this industry was not even on my radar, but I’m glad I found AOT! 

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

To be completely honest, I am not sure! I do plan to continue to grow and expand in my career. Since graduating with my MBA, I’ve been thinking most about working towards a director of supply chain position, or something comparable.  

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