Getting to Know John McCarthy Jr.

Sept. 16, 2019

John D. McCarthy Jr.

Age: 54

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from King’s College with a minor in marketing

Family: My wife, Lynn, is a pharmacist. Her family owns a community pharmacy. We have a son, John D. McCarthy III, and a dog named Fiona.

Advice for a new tire dealer: It’s a tough business to get into right now because there’s so much competition. It’s long hours. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding. Servicing your customer is key to any business, but especially so in our business.

How do you start your work day? I’m here by 7 a.m. I open the front door. I’ll review the previous day’s sales and month-to-date quotas.

What superpower would be most helpful to you as a tire dealer? The power of flight. It would allow me to see more customers and visit our people more often.

What are the best and worst parts of your job? It’s the highs and lows of the people that I work with. A week and a half ago we were all at a wedding of the son of one of our longtime people that we work with. It was a great evening, very high. But then you get someone who is sick, or someone whose mother died. You sit down and talk to these people. I make it a point to do that. It’s not just ‘Here’s your paycheck, go do your job and I don’t care about anything else.’ It’s feeling good for them when something good happens, and feeling bad with them when something not-so-good happens.

If you could be anything but a tire dealer, what would you be? I would be a sports announcer, a color sports announcer for either college basketball or college baseball.

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up? A shortstop for the New York Yankees.

If there were no financial constraints, what’s one change to your business you’d make immediately? Ensure financial stability for every one of our teammates.

The biggest regret of your life: I don’t look at the negatives. I’m a glass-half-full guy.

The best decision you ever made: Best decision I ever made was marrying my wife. (They’ll be married 30 years in October.) At work, it was back in my 20s when we really made the conscious effort to concentrate heavier on commercial and OTR and move into that segment of the business.

What hidden gem in Pennsylvania do the rest of us need to visit/see? The fall in Pennsylvania when the leaves change is the prettiest time of the year. You come here in October and drive through the mountains and it’s just breathtaking. The color. The quiet. It’s fantastic.

What’s your earliest memory of being in the tire business? We used to have a coal furnace, and on Sundays we would go to church, then go to my grandmother’s house for breakfast. We would go home and my father and I would change clothes and come to the store. I’d have to get into this coal shoot and shovel it around. And there were four garbage cans that we filled up with ash every day, and I had to empty those. If my sisters were with me, we’d play hide-and-seek and go roller skating in the warehouse.

What’s something important that your father taught you about the tire business? First of all, everything. Three simple things that he taught me were: Take care of the people you work with. Take care of your customers. And make a profit. And if you can do those three things every day, you’ll be successful.

What’s been your biggest success in the tire business? The growth we’ve been able to not only obtain but sustain. And building such a great team. One of the other things I’m very, very proud of is our fourth generation and the enthusiasm they have to work today, but also to continue to grow this company and take care of its people and take care of its customers.

What’s been the best change/evolution you’ve witnessed in the tire industry? There’s so many. I remember tube-type tires going to tubeless tires. I think one of the biggest changes is consolidation, and not only within the dealer network, but it’s also on the customer side. Smaller people are getting bought out by larger companies. There’s a lot of consolidation in every industry. I think that’s something we need to plan for, and it gives dealers like us a lot of opportunity.

What’s been the worst? The erosion of the workforce. There’s a shallower pool to pick from. There are those employees who are very loyal, and then there’s millennials that no matter what you do for them, no matter how you treat them, they’re going to look for the next job before they start this job.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would like more patience. I just want things to happen quicker.

Best song to crank up loud: Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh

Favorite movie: Braveheart. I’ve watched it 100 times.

Advice for how to keep the peace in a family business: Everyone works. You keep it even. We all share in our victories and defeats.

Best way to relieve stress: I exercise every day, whether it be a run or a workout with a trainer. You put your phone down for a little bit, listen to some music, and you’re into the workout; you’re not thinking about anything else.

Something most people don’t know about you: I coached high school basketball for five years.

Best sports moment of your life: The 2016 NCAA basketball championship game when Villanova’s Chris Jenkins hit a shot against North Carolina to win at the buzzer. Being there made it great. I was with my son and my wife, which made it great. It was the first time we had ever gone to a NCAA Final Four which was just phenomenal. It was a great experience.

One word to describe you: Driven. I don’t like to lose. I’m not saying I’ve never lost, but it’s not for lack of effort.

About the Author

Joy Kopcha | Managing Editor

After more than a dozen years working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Joy Kopcha joined Modern Tire Dealer as senior editor in 2014. She has covered murder trials, a prison riot and more city council, county commission, and school board meetings than she cares to remember.