Owner and regional manager | Moore Tires | Rock Falls, Ill. | Age: 29
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the industry was at about age 12 washing all of the company trucks. We had several box trucks, so I vividly remember sweeping out the backs of them because of how hot it was!
What attracted you to the industry?
Having grown up in the industry, I have always had a very high sense of pride in this business. Once I got more involved in it though, my attraction to it is because of how diverse it is and the range that someone can have in it even in just one day. You can go from being fully immersed on the backside of things like general ledger/insurance/IT issues to underhood problems with a technician straight to selling LSW ag tires to a farmer who's interested in precision farming and wants to optimize their setup. The opportunities really are limitless.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
Being a second generation of any industry carries its own challenges. Although I think it has likely been both my biggest challenge and also what's helped me achieve my success. When people — customers and employees — know you are second or third generation, they will instantly assume you are incompetent or entitled. The only way to work around that is to work harder. My entire career I have worked and treated people to keep that stigma away from me, and I like to think it has worked thus far.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My parents. By a landslide. There are days in this business where I have struggled, felt self-pity, and felt burnout from long days and weeks, and then I think about what they went through and achieved starting a business from scratch and growing it to what it is today. It has and always will be my best reminder of the ‘no one cares, work harder’ mentality.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment that I take the most pride in is training and growing people under me that have become extremely successful in their roles. Whether it be the service manager that grew into a store manager and continued the store’s growth, or even the high school part-timer who grew into a lead mechanic. Watching people succeed and feel pride in working for our company is the greatest feeling.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
I currently am a regional manager over our six locations (primarily focusing on three of them). I typically spend at least four days a week in a store and then one in the back office taking care of reports and meeting with the admin team to catch up. On my travel days to the stores, my first step is to see if there is anyone who needs my assistance. Although I go into each store with preset focus items, that can very easily be sidetracked based on the day that store is having. It's not uncommon for me to be a tire tech, service truck operator, or a sales advisor all in one day.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
The biggest surprise in this role was the shift in where the feeling of success needs to come from. When I was the store manager of one location, it was cut and dry for me: happy employees, high sales, high profits. When I achieved those the gratification was instant. Overseeing multiple stores is different though. You never really feel fully caught up. There tends to always be a fire or struggle somewhere. So I kind of lost that self-gratification. One of the other owners who is essentially my mentor, Brock Rude, is the one who gave me this: solving problems for others needs to be my new sense of success. So far it is working!
Tell us about your family.
My parents started this company in 1991. It was a two-bay garage and our family of four lived upstairs for a few years. That space now holds the offices of all four of us. My dad has been in the tire business since he was 15 years old and when he decided he wanted to start his own company, he roped my mom in to be what is now the chief financial officer of a six-store, 150-employee operation. What astounds me still to this day is what they were able to accomplish as founding business owners and as parents. In the midst of all of their stress and pressure that would fold the average person, young Kyle and Kayla never had a clue. Our dad coached dozens of our T-ball, baseball, softball and basketball teams while mom kept the scorebook for each game. While Dad was working till 10 p.m. Mom made sure both kids had the best home life you could imagine. My older sister Kayla is still who I have been trying to catch up to in every aspect of life since I was born. She was the star athlete and school brainiac all the way through, and now she is the forward-thinking, business-minded individual that I not only strive to be like, but am happy to call my business partner. Kayla and I balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses extremely well. My employee and customer relations paired with my working knowledge of the industry works very well with her attention to detail, ability to plan large events and projects, and her general sense of good business decisions.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
Whatever the opposite skill is of procrastination! I tend to get things done at a very last minute rate. While it typically works out, it causes me a lot of stress and people in our organization a lot of stress as well. (Just ask the rest of our directors’ group.)
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?
I would be an adventure tour guide in a beach town in Mexico. I would get to do something fun and exciting every day. I would get to meet and speak with happy people who are on vacations. And I would get to live in a beautiful place with beautiful weather!
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
The biggest issue facing the tire industry is how we have kept ourselves behind the times in terms of technology, services and employee benefits. I truly think a lot of this is starting to turn around for successful shops utilizing digital vehicle inspections, going paperless, and offering installation and communication options for customers to make transactions more efficient and less time consuming. To be a good automotive service business you need to have good equipment and have well-trained and well-compensated employees. The mentality that tire technicians can be minimum wage employees has finally started to shift, but still has a long way to go to match some of the other trades out there. It is a skilled position that everybody relies on, and the industry as a whole needs to help continue to ensure it's portrayed as such.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional football player! Brian Urlacher was all over my bedroom walls all through my childhood!
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
I set a goal to increase my communication skills. Managing one store I could typically show up and handle all issues once I got there in person. Now that I may not visit a store for a week, I quickly realized that I was not able to just show up and fix it anymore. I have certainly gotten better, but it is a work in progress.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to be running a successful tire and automotive chain —that is hopefully much larger than it is now —alongside my sister and business partner, Kayla. We both have similar goals and dreams, and we are surrounded by a ton of smart, great people that will help us get there.