On the Rise: Marshall Gillespie
Director of commercial proprietary brands | American Tire Distributors Inc. | Age: 33
What was your first job in the industry?
My first few jobs in the industry were summer jobs working in the warehouse for different regional tire distributors. I landed my first “real” job in the industry when I got hired on as a customer service representative at Tire Dealers Warehouse in Union City, Calif., at age 23. From there I worked my way through multiple jobs including customer development manager, manager of commercial brands and now director of commercial proprietary brands at American Tire Distributors.
What attracted you to the industry?
I am a fourth-generation tire professional, so I was always connected to and attracted to the business. My great grandfather and both my grandfathers worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. My Grandpa Gillespie worked in various plants around the world and ended his career as vice president of Goodyear International. My Grandpa Johnson worked for Goodyear China and ended his career in Dalian as CEO of Goodyear China. My father worked for Goodyear, Bandag and Hercules Tire & Rubber, and my mother worked for Kelly-Springfield for a short period of time. My father worked as plant manager for many different Goodyear plants around the world and ended his career as vice president for Hercules International. My first job in the tire industry was only supposed to be a foothold into other career possibilities, but eight years later and I am still in the tire business and couldn’t be happier. What I love about the tire industry is that you never stop learning no matter how long you have been in the industry.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
I think the biggest challenge for me was learning to navigate a new work environment during COVID-19. In this new online workspace with no daily office interactions, I was forced to “let go” of certain responsibilities and put more trust into the team around me to accomplish certain tasks. Another challenge during this time was finding the perfect balance between work and family, especially having my first child at this time. Overcoming these challenges has helped me evolve into a more agile contributor for my company as we continue to progress through these unprecedented times.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My father has had the biggest influence on my career. He was in the tire business his whole career which meant I grew up in the industry from a young age. I think my passion to carry on my family legacy drives my performance every single day and motivates me to be successful in the workplace. The support I have from my father has truly helped propel me into the best version of myself.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in the industry has been to help expand and evolve the Hercules commercial business at ATD. With the help of the entire Hercules team, we have launched new innovative products and expanded our product portfolio into new segments. This year we successfully entered the agricultural replacement market with the launch of the AG-TRAC RT45. I look to continue bringing new products and value to both our dealers and end consumers.