On the Rise: Danielle Elsaesser

Nov. 1, 2021

Danielle Elsaesser

Director of Supply Chain | S&S Tire | Age: 37

What was your first job in the industry? 

Pricing analyst for S&S Tire.

What attracted you to the industry?

I began looking for jobs in the Lexington area to be near my fiancé. My previous role was in logistics and warehousing, so the position with S&S Tire was a natural transition that allowed us to be closer to each other.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? 

Making an impact as a female in two different male-dominated industries. To be effective, I understand I need to find my own ground, establish credibility, and collaborate towards shared objectives.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career? 

A vice president in my previous job took me under his wing, instilling confidence by encouraging me. I’m also close with my dad, and he offers both fatherly and professional advice. He's helped to steer several of my career decisions relying on his own experience running the operations for a large warehousing company.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry? 

Developing work that was previously done by interns into a substantial role. Seeing the position grow into something tangible is very rewarding. As the pricing analyst, I established a precedent and helped train my replacement before transitioning into my new position as director of supply chain.

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

I am the director of supply chain at S&S Tire and I manage a team of three supply chain reps.  Together we order tires for all 12 of our wholesale locations, and some of our 14 commercial locations.  Our goal is to have the right tire, in the right place, at the right time. 

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

There are a lot of different tires out there.  I knew there were numerous tire sizes, but throw in speed ratings, ply ratings, applications, OE fitments, customer preferences, etc. and there is a lot to keep up with.

Tell us about your family.

I just celebrated my five-year anniversary to my amazingly supportive husband. We have two young kids, Bailey is almost 4 and Cameron just turned 2. We knew this new position would be a lot more demanding, and with two young kids I wasn’t sure that I was ready for it.  But he promised (and lived up to) being as supportive as he needs to be to make sure that our family life does not suffer.  He knew I wanted to take the job and it was a great fit for me. S&S Tire also has a very family-first environment, I am sure that stems from being a family owned and operated company. They make sure that I am able to take care of my family above all else, and I am very lucky to be at a company like that.

What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?

I learned most of all that my husband and I, and two young kids, can be locked in a house together for months at a time and still be as happy as ever.

Name a talent you wish you had.

I wish I could flip food in a skillet with just a flick of the wrist. I have tried on several occasions and just end up making a mess.

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?

Baking is my biggest stress reliever, something with a lot of steps and ingredients is the best.  Lately I have been making homemade bagels, cinnamon raisin and everything bagels are my favorites. There are a lot of meticulous and time-consuming steps to making bagels, and that always helps me take my mind off other things.

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

One by One by Ruth Ware. I lost a lot of sleep towards the end of the book because I just wanted to read one more chapter.

If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)

Skee ball!  We had a skee ball tournament with some friends for my birthday a few weeks ago and I won the championship.

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?

Hands down the number one issue today is supply, all stemming from the pandemic.  The manufacturers are struggling to make tires and keep up with demand, and then it’s also a struggle to get them delivered internationally and even domestically through the various transportation channels.  Having a strong relationship with the manufacturers and keeping an open line of communication with them is critical to keeping us in a good supply of tires.

What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?

Money is the biggest motivating factor to most people to get them in the door, especially in today’s climate.  But I also think most people will stay and give you their loyalty if you treat them right.  Respect goes a long way and should be given and received from the owner of the company down to the service techs.

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

I have goals, but I also don’t limit myself to those goals.  I don’t know what I will be doing in 20 years because I don’t know what opportunities will arise in that time.  In my career so far, I have worked hard and received advancement opportunities because of that.  As long as my work ethic doesn’t change, I am sure I will be right where I want to be and thinking about retirement.