Director of business analytics and operational intelligence | Sun Auto Tire & Service Inc. | Mesa, Ariz. | Age: 30
What was your first job in the industry?
During college while on summer and winter breaks, I worked at Tate Boys Tire & Service as a tire technician. This enabled me to supplement my football scholarship while keeping up conditioning. I can still remember my first diesel oil change on a F-350 and lacing the scrap tires in the sweltering 110-degree Oklahoma heat!
What attracted you to the industry?
I grew up helping my Dad work on our family vehicles which drove my passion for cars and trucks. There was that same passion, culture, and atmosphere working in the shop that reminded me of playing on a team. I loved every minute of it!
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
That would be the successful integration of 192 retail locations in 18 months. When Sun Auto acquired Tate Boys Tire, I joined their finance department as the third member of the team. I took on the responsibility of integration finance manager owning and coordinating the integration of these retail locations in addition to supporting the chief financial officer with the monthly reporting packages.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I have had many great influential leaders mentor me throughout my career. Craig Tate and Marty Schoenthaler from Tate Boys Tire & Service gave me my first opportunity to work in a corporate office after graduating from Hillsdale College and encouraged me to simultaneously get my MBA. Craig is a charismatic leader who values hard work, teamwork and execution perfection. Marty taught me the importance of attention to detail, leadership and corporate management. At GB Auto Service, Brian Baer, chief financial officer, along with Frank Kneller, CEO, were both focus-driven leaders whose valuable lessons I utilize every day. Today with Sun Auto, there are several influential leaders and role models that impact me directly. Tony Puckett, CEO, Dave Scheve, chief financial officer, and Chris Ripani, chief operations officer, each lead by example with positivity, commitment and a selfless work ethic. I so appreciate these influential leaders who continue to have a positive impact and influence on my career today.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Being an integral part of a fast-paced growing company, from integrations, to finance, and now operations supporting the growth from 167 retail locations to 430-plus today spanning the last three years.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
As the director of business analytics and operational intelligence I report directly to our Chief Operations Officer Chris Ripani. I am responsible for leading business intelligence for the operations team across all Sun Auto brands. My role focuses on developing and executing the company’s vision by driving business insights, forecasts, KPI (key performance indicator) establishment, tracking, and working cross-functionally with all other departments. Other responsibilities include providing financial and operational insights to the chief operations officer, chief financial officer and the CEO.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
The biggest surprise of my current job was how much fun I am having creating, standing up, and implementing new processes! The challenge of continued expansion while maintaining excellence, industry-leading sales and producing quality service offers a unique and exciting opportunity. Working with world class professionals and talented teams is a rewarding experience.
Tell us about your family.
Faith, family and work. My family is the foundation of who I am. My parents live in Oklahoma, and I have two younger brothers — a doctor and a Navy fighter pilot! We may all live in different parts of the country, but we are all very close and continue to cheer and support each other.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
If I could wake up tomorrow with one new skill it would be to speak Spanish fluently. I can understand Spanish, and I speak some, but I am not fluent. I need more practice!
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?
If I could switch jobs for a day — and know how — I would switch with my younger brother who is an active Navy fighter pilot. Flying a F-18 Super Hornet for a day would be the thrill of a lifetime. I have tremendous respect and admiration for my brother, and all our men and women in the service of our nation.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
The biggest issue facing the tire industry is skilled labor. Our industry continues to feel wage pressures in addition to shortages of skilled labor. Similar to putting the customer first, we must put our people first. Our teams are the front lines and for many of us, they are like family. Taking care of the customer starts by first taking care of our people.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cowboy. I had it all planned out — own an adobe-style ranch house, cattle and a brand. I will always enjoy a classic western.
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
Professionally, I am taking online classes for additional certifications for BIDA (business intelligence and data analyst), and FMVA (financial modeling and valuation analyst). As my personal goal, I signed up for my first spartan race in February and enjoyed that challenge so much I signed up again. I have been training for the Spartan Beast race in November.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I would like to be leading motivated people and helping them and my company realize our maximum potential. I love what I do, and working with like-minded passionate people every day is exactly what I want to be doing 20 years from now.