On the Rise: James O'Reilly

Nov. 1, 2022

James O'Reilly

Vice president | James O’Reilly Trail Tire Group | Age: 39 

What was your first job in the industry?     

I was a warehouse associate on weekends while going to school, sweeping the parking lot and receiving tires. 

What attracted you to the industry?             

I'm proud to be a second generation in the tire industry. My father was in the business for 43 years. 

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

I would have to say moving to different cities to move up in the industry. 

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?  

A couple to note: My father first, he always taught me to take care of the customer and to listen to their needs. Once the customer knows that you truly care about their business the rest will take care of itself. Second is Allen Ambrosie. He has built a number of tire companies over the last 20 years and has a way of taking care of the people that work for the company. He promotes a business where culture and family are number one. 

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the industry?    

Being a part of a startup company. In 2020 I joined Trail Tire to expand the business in three channels. We started an associate store program, Trail Tire Auto Centers, and to date we have 35 stores. We started a wholesale division, Trail Tire Supply, and we started an e-commerce business, www.Tirewarehouse.Ca . It has been an amazing journey to be here from the beginning.

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

I oversee our distribution company, associate store program (Trail Tire Auto Centers) as well as our e-comm company, TireWarehosue.ca . I spend most of my time overseeing the distribution arm day to day. We have a team of eight salespeople and four operations managers. I start my day off reviewing daily sales metric versus budgets and I try to speak with three direct reports daily to see how things are going. I meet and or speak with our Inventory team to review pricing and inventory. I spend as much time as I can out in the field meeting with customers and learning about their businesses. I spend my time traveling across Western Canada.  

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

I was told a lot of things before I made this move and considered everything . One person told me this, which stuck with me: However hard you think it will be starting up a distribution company – it will be five times harder, so make sure you're ready.  

Tell us about your family. 

I have been married to my beautiful wife, Chantelle, for four years and we have an amazing son, Ryder, who is 3.5 years old. We have two dogs, a 10-year-old Aussie Blue Heeler, Titan – named after the tire brand, and Zen, a 10-year-old boxer.  

How do you recover from a bad or stressful day? 

I work out every morning to re-calibrate my mind or go for a run. A golf game on the weekend helps too.

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

I’m Canadian so for me it would be the safety of winter tires and the reasons why you should have them. The industry has done an amazing job over the last 20 years educating consumers on why you should use winters, which has been great.  

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

Mark Wahlberg. I have always liked his work ethic and drive as well as his entrepreneurship.  

Name a talent you wish you had. 

Woodworking. I’m terrible at building things. I wish I had more time to learn the skill.  

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today? 

Attracting young talent into the industry that stays in the industry.  

Tell us your biggest pet peeve. 

At work, supply chain disruptions in the industry. In my personal life, being late.

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

I have two: Bob Iger’s “Ride of a Lifetime,” or Matthew McConaughey’s “Greenlights.” Both were great. 

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

We have had the best luck online using Indeed and making sure you have a strong company profile on Indeed and LinkedIn so people can find information about your company.

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

Exactly what I’m doing now. After 20 years in the business, I have my dream job. I hope to do this until I’m retired. I have moved around a lot when I was younger working my way up in the industry. I took a lot of different positions -- some good, some bad. However, they all got me to where I’m today.