Store manager | Southern Tire Mart | Atmore, Ala. | Age: 39
What was your first job in the industry?
Front counter sales.
What attracted you to the industry?
Larry Saltee and Cass Moore came into the John Deere dealer where I worked. They began to tell me about the industry and all the opportunities that the local GCR store had available. They introduced me to Bill Dutter, He took me under his wing teaching me about the industry. I would say ag sales attracted me to the industry as well. I have always worked with farmers here in our local area. To know I could help them in their business was exciting.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
When I took the job with GCR there were three employees including me. I was told if the store didn't make money by the end of the year, they would close the store. The store was $20,000 in the negative when I took the job. At the end of the year, we had made $100,000.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I have a big list of people who have helped me grow in my career. Bill Dutter taught me what being a manager really meant. How you run your store and how you treat your employees has a huge effect on the bottom line. My family has stuck by me and supported me even when times were not the best. Previous coworkers and current coworkers have helped me along the way. However, I would say that the leadership at Southern Tire Mart has had a great influence on my career. Southern Tire Mart purchased the GCR locations in 2019. They continue to push us to grow by learning to go outside our comfort zones. It is exciting to work for Southern Tire Mart. They allow us to run our store as if we owned them. I can't say enough good things about Tommy and Jim Duff.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
I would say my biggest accomplishment in the industry is taking this store from when we were GCR netting $100,000 a year to now as Southern Tire Mart we will do $600,000 this year. After a year in front counter sales in 2014 with GCR, to a store manager now nine years later with Southern Tire Mart is something I am very proud of. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the future as a company.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
I run day-to-day operations in the Atmore, Ala., location. I keep an eye on inventory and go through our system ensuring tickets are being closed in a timely manner. I am responsible for having the vision of where our store is headed to ensure we are growing our business. I also spend a couple days a week calling on our customers to ensure we are taking care of them properly.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
I think it’s the overall effect you have on your employees and staff. Getting to know your employees is a key way to keep employees. I want to thank Tommy and Jim Duff for allowing us to take the John Maxwell course. It has helped me grow as a person and manager.
Tell us about your family.
My family is everything to me. My wife Holly Dunn and I have been married for 18 years. She owns a pet grooming business. We have three beautiful children: Annberly, 15, Linley, 12, and Sawyer, 9.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
To read peoples’ minds!
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?
Probably Michael Waddell. I would love to see what it was like to work in the hunting industry.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Trying to find employees who want to work. The older generation of workers is fading and with the lack of the younger generation entering the workforce it's hard to find employees. We have to be the ones to be proactive to ensure we don't lose this workforce.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Professional baseball player.
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
I set my goal to make $600,000 in profit. I am well on my way and will hit my goal by year end.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I hope to have a job that continues to push me outside my comfort zone and that continues to make me grow personally as well as professionally.