On the Rise: Cole McElroy

Nov. 1, 2022

Cole McElroy 

Southeast regional sales manager | Pre-Q Galgo Corp. | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?     

I started helping out at my parents' shop, Quality Retreads, when I was 14 years old. I started sweeping floors, taking out the trash, painting and branding tires and anything else I could do to help out. As I grew older, I learned and performed all of the different jobs in the retread process. I also helped in sales, picked up and delivered tires, mounted and dismounted tires and anything else that needed to be done to help a small business succeed. As anyone that owns, or has worked for a small business, the phrase "that's not my job" does not apply. It takes everyone with an all-hands-on-deck mentality to make it work. 

What attracted you to the industry?             

The sheer fact of just how crucial tires are to make society function, regardless of size or type. There are tires on school buses, trash trucks, airplanes, cars, trucks -- you name it. Tires are everywhere. I am fortunate to work in an industry that helps make sure all modes of transportation stay rolling.

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

One of the biggest challenges I've faced so far is supply chain issues. Like the rest of the world, the tires industry is not immune to such challenges. It is stressful, but it also keeps things from being monotonous. 

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?         

There are a few individuals that have had a huge influence on my career. Vic and Lawyana McElroy, my parents, for introducing me to the tire industry. Also, for instilling in me a relentless work ethic and a set of values that are ingrained in me to this day: Donald Robinson, Jerry Pontius, Eduardo Nava and Ron Elliott.

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?    

At this point in my career, I would say moving into a sales role that I had set as a goal to achieve. Also knowing that I have helped our customers to the best of my ability and brought value and a sense of trust. 

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

I work with our current dealers and help develop new dealers. A typical day involves traveling and calling on new and current dealers and also working with our marketing, technical and sales teams to better serve our customers. I handle everything from sales orders, technical issues, logistics and anything else that needs to be handled.  

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

All the different roles and responsibilities I would need to handle. I really enjoy the challenge and each day is different.  

Tell us about your family. 

I am recently married and hope to start a family of our soon. I have a younger sister.  

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day? 

Usually listening to an inspirational video/podcast, reading and relaxing.  

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

How demanding and complex the industry is. Challenges are always arising, but to me, that is part of the fun.  

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

Paul Newman. I have always like him as an actor and would hope he is a good person.  

Name a talent you wish you had. 

The ability to draw.  

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today? 

Labor and supply shortages.  

Tell us your biggest pet peeve. 

Lack of communication. 

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

“Who Moved My Cheese? and Man's Search for Meaning”  

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

Find a young person and treat them right.  

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

I hope to be a C-suite executive in the tire industry.