On the Rise: Colby Clodfelter

Nov. 1, 2022

Colby Clodfelter 

Manufacturing Director | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Age: 36 

What was your first job in the industry?     

I started out as a Banbury operator running a mixer in Lawton, Okla. This is something that I am very proud of, and I still rely on those experiences in my current role. 

What attracted you to the industry?             

I was attracted to Goodyear as a company more than the industry itself. I was born and raised in Lawton, Okla., and Goodyear was always a pillar of the community. I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of. Goodyear has provided my family and I with amazing opportunities, and for that I am grateful. 

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

I think the hardest challenge I have faced and something we are still trying to figure out, is how to attract and retain talent in the post-COVID environment. We are hiring and training people at record levels, and figuring out how to retain these people is critical to the success of the factories 

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?         

Brent Copeland was the manufacturing director in Lawton, Okla., and he helped me more than anyone to grow as a leader. He would say, “We make tires, but we are in the people business.” That is something that has always resonated with me. 

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?    

I have had the opportunity to work with many great individuals throughout my career, and I feel it is a great accomplishment to see others succeed. I am fortunate to have built a strong network of friends and colleagues, and my success is directly tied to everyone around me. 

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

I am responsible for the entire manufacturing operation here in Tupelo. My daily tasks include improving safety, quality, cost and delivery. My focus is providing strategic direction to improve people and process capabilities. I have a passion for continuous improvement and the highlight of my day is the interaction with the people.

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

I wish I would have been told to let people help you. It seems like an easy concept, but when you work in an organization as large as Goodyear, there are a lot of people willing to help. In this role I am responsible for the entire plant and the functions that make up the organization, so engaging the support functions and empowering them to help the overall objectives of the factory is critical.

Tell us about your family. 

I have a wife Lendi, and two sons, Cade, 9, and Cash, 5.  We enjoy being outside either hiking trails or playing sports. 

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day? 

Being around my family is the best way to overcome a stressful day. Every day I walk in the door after work and I’m greeted by people who are fun and enjoy life. That always brings a smile to my face.  

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

I wish people better understood the technology that it takes to build tires. Tires are the most critical aspect of a car’s safety and it takes a lot knowledge and skill to produce tires.   

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

Derek Carr. I am a huge Las Vegas Raiders fan and I think Derek Carr is a fantastic human being and great role model for children.

Name a talent you wish you had. 

I wish I knew how to play the guitar. 

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today? 

I would say sustainability form an environmental standpoint. Making sure the industry continuous to be responsible when it comes to renewable energy and sustainable raw materials.  

Tell us your biggest pet peeve. 

When people are rude and don’t allow others to finish their thought before they interrupt.

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

“It's Your Ship,” by Michael Abrashoff. I have read it multiple times, but I learn something new each time I read it. 

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

To invest time in figuring out what “good” employees are looking for in an employer and adapt your organization to fit those needs. 

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

I expect to still be working for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.