Director of programs | Independent Tire Dealers Group (ITDG) | San Antonio, Texas | Age: 39
What was your first job in the industry?
It dates back to 2001. I had just gotten out of high school and got my first job as a passenger and light truck tire store front salesman.
What attracted you to the industry?
I believe it's what kept me in the industry that is more interesting. As a 17-year-old who was trying to help with bills around our home, I wanted to be the best at what I was doing. Reading, learning and understanding tire business is what made me fall in love with it. The unlimited amount of treads, applications and brands opened a brand-new universe to me.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
Leaving my home country at 20 years-old, coming to America and trying to stay in the tire business — that was an adventure filled with challenges. I had to take a few steps back and start from scratch. Going through all the ranks gave me the opportunity to learn the business inside and out. I would do it all over again if I had to. Those challenges — facing them and overcoming all of them — is what has taken me to where I am now.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My brother Pablo, by far. He taught me from a very young age that discipline is the greatest of virtues, and it does not only apply to a single chapter in life but to all aspects. Inside the tire industry, I’ll mention a few people who have supported me: Johnny De Filippo, Frank Anderson, Pat McLaughlin and Joseph Pehanick.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
It has been quite a few years, but creating, developing, and establishing a private brand has been one of the most satisfactory accomplishments in my career. I remember traveling the world with Jason Rook, visiting factories, creating tread patterns, trademarking, receiving samples, sending them out, and everything related to entering the market with a new brand. The entire process was lengthy and tiring, but the satisfaction we felt after being well received and commercialized made it all worth it!
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
I’m director of programs for Independent Tire Dealers Group (ITDG). At ITDG we are all about the independent, giving them a voice and collectively concentrating their power to become a stronger unit as a whole. It is important that our members have access to the best products and services at the best possible cost, and as the director of programs, it is my duty to present our members with accessible programs and brand diversity that supports the growth of their businesses. I want to make a special mention to Sherry Bily who is retiring from this position. She has set the bar and standards for this position.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
The immeasurable support I have received from the industry. From coworkers, vendor, members, old contacts, and even people who I probably met with twice in the last 15 years have reached out to me and had given supporting words of encouragement towards this new chapter in my career.
Tell us about your family.
I have been happily married for the last 12 years (it will be 13 years in December), and am the proud father of three beautiful children. I wake up every morning telling myself I am the luckiest guy in the world, married to an amazing woman and father of an incredible 10-year-old boy, the sweetest 9-year-old girl, and the most mischievous 7-year-old boy!
My wife and I met back in Venezuela in 1999, very much like high school sweethearts. I migrated to the U.S. in 2004 and she joined me in 2010, it was definitely not easy to be apart for a long period of time, but we made it work. She currently is the art teacher at the elementary school our children attend.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
To have the ability to speak many different languages. I speak three already but would love to dominate many more.
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?
This is a tricky one; I know most people would say president of the United States, or a sports superstar, but I would love to switch jobs with my wife one day. I know my appreciation for what she does would multiply immediately! Plus, I would love for her to experience a day in the tire industry and all the fun she misses!
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
I believe acquisitions is what stands between the independent tire dealer and their growth. That is the beauty of ITDG; we give all independents the opportunity to be heard collectively.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian, all the way!
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
My goal for this year — and it is the same every year — is to grow both as an individual and as a professional. One cannot happen without the other, and after joining ITDG I am very proud to say that the goal has been reached for this year.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Hopefully still being part of the tire world, providing wisdom and experience to a company and those entering the business while learning about new products.