Benjamin Barnes II
Inside Sales/RSA Manager | Allen Rubber Co. Inc. dba ARW/ITW | Age: 32
What was your first job in the industry?
This one. I started here seven years ago.
What attracted you to the industry?
Opportunity.I was two years removed from college and managing a GNC. I felt as though I needed something new and that feeling led me here.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Simply adjusting to this industry and the way things operate. After about a year or two, everything started to get easier. Everyday has been a challenge since then, but I am better equipped through my seven years of experience to overcome anything.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I would not really say there has been one person who has influenced me. I have learned from every single person that I’ve worked with over these past seven years, and they’ve all helped me tremendously to mature professionally and mentally.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Probably the bond and relationships I have built with the customers I work with. It means a lot to me to know that they trust me enough to help them grow their business in any way I can.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
I work primarily in the office working on the phone with our customers - helping them get the right tires for their customers, answering any questions they might have about tires, building relationships and, ultimately, sales. Aside from working on the phone in the office, I help with putting together and invoicing deliveries, running and submitting sales numbers and reports, resolving any tech issues my teammates may have – just a lot of internal day-to-day stuff. I also work with our delivery drivers and warehouse managers throughout the day, communicating what’s going on in the warehouse and out on the road, as well as offering any help where I can with loading and unloading trucks and pulling orders.
Aside from the basics like health insurance, what’s the most important perk/benefit you’d want from your employer?
With my wife and I starting a family soon, I’d have to say paid paternal leave.
What’s the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Tire disposal. I think we have such a big responsibility across the industry to ensure that the used tires we handle on a day-to-day basis are disposed of safely and that we're treating the environment respectfully as a result. With the industry growing at the rate that it is, it’s something that can’t be brushed aside.
Tell us about your family.
I just got married in January of this year, right before COVID-19 locked everything down, so I’m grateful for that as it ended up being a perfect day. My wife is a nurse who works her tail off, and is one of the best people anyone could ever meet. I have loving and supportive parents and stepparents and two brothers who both have children of their own. My mother has seven living siblings and my father has three siblings, almost all of them with children of their own as well, so saying we have a big family would be an understatement.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Almost every summer my family took a trip to Wildwood Crest, N.J. for about a week. I couldn’t pinpoint any one specific memory from those trips to highlight — just being there every summer with family and friends was amazing.
It’s report card time. What grade would you give yourself for how you’ve handled 2020?
Not to be overconfident, but I’d say an A+. Not only did I get married earlier this year — which already constitutes the year as an A+ in my book — but I’ve faced, just as anyone has, quite a bit of adversity this year and I’ve been pleased with how I’ve been able to manage and overcome it.
What’s been your biggest challenge this year?
Trying to navigate unprecedented waters, for sure. With the pandemic, there’s no telling what’s going to come next, and there’s no guide on how to handle what we’re all experiencing. It’s hard to plan around the unknown, so it’s been challenging having to go into every day not knowing what to expect even more so than usual.
Did you pick up any new hobbies or habits during the pandemic? Good or bad, tell us about them.
I definitely fell out of the habit of going to the gym with the pandemic closing everything down. Fortunately, I was able to pick up better eating habits, so even though I wasn’t in the gym during the pandemic, I have lost 30 pounds since it started!
What song do you crank up loud and always sing along to?
I am a huge music fan, so I have more than a few songs I will crank and sing aloud, but Purple Rain by Prince I will crank up and sing the absolute loudest to for sure.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I am a huge astronomy lover. I was horrible at physics in high school, so it’s funny how that worked out, but I love anything and everything involving space.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would it be?
The ability to play any sort of instrument, preferably piano, guitar or bass. I took some classes when I was younger, but nothing ever stuck.
What keeps you up at night?
Thinking about what I could be doing better in my life and what steps I need to take to get to where I know I can be, given the time.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Helping to take care of and being there for my amazing family and either helping run some sort of business or heading a business of my own. More specifically, I’d love to be on a beach somewhere enjoying a cold beverage with this pandemic far in the rear view.