Director of sales | American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) | Cullman, Ala. | Age: 37
What was your first job in the industry?
I started with ATD in 2005 when I was 19 years old. I was the CPU clerk in Nashville, Tenn.
What attracted you to the industry?
I was born and raised in the tire industry. My parents owned an ag and farm supply store in rural Mississippi, that also handled truck and tractor tires.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Juggling career growth with parenting and personal needs. Dedication to a career and a company often comes with some sacrifices made in your personal life. But I have a support group like no other and have been able to enjoy and cultivate both.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My father. He has always been my hero and who I have looked up to the most in the industry. He was in the retail side, then wholesale. I have also thoroughly enjoyed working for Stuart Schuette since he became CEO of ATD. His future vision of the industry is unparalleled.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
I have steadily grown my position within the industry over 18 years and some change, through dedication, reliability, adaptability and continuous learning. I started as a CPU clerk, then inside sales, then outside, some internal and external faced-training thrown in there, then management, then a director's position. It's been a great journey!
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
As the director of sales, I am responsible for the daily, monthly, and yearly sales for all customers. I oversee sales training, create programs and processes to enable sales, and mentor our sales team and customers for best practices. I am responsible for four distribution centers and all goals tied to each.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
COVID-19! Putting the world on hold, but not our specific workloads or our industry, was a weird world to navigate. Then, all the circumstances that followed the pandemic have absolutely rocked everything to the core. Logistics, inventory, lack of raw materials and inflation, all make for a whole new world for the tire industry.
Tell us about your family.
I have a wonderful, supportive husband of 12 years. When we got married I also gained a handsome stepson! He is 23 now and works for UPS in Philadelphia. We also have 14-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) who we adopted in 2013. They are hell on wheels, and we adore them!
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
If I woke up tomorrow with one new skill, it would be supersonic, precision Excel skills. Ha! That would be extremely useful in the data analytics world we have dove into! But, for fun, I would be able to cook plain rice correctly! Seriously, it’s an issue in the Cofield home. Risotto, I got it. Plain rice, not so much.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
Katie. End sentence.
If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?
I would be Dolly Parton. She’s iconic, resilient and doesn’t take anything from anyone about being exactly who she is.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Logistical precision to deliver the consumer immediate gratification needs.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be the first female president. Then I learned I was too opinionated and honest to be in politics. Next, I was going to be a teacher. Then, I went through student teaching, and decided jail sounded better. All the while, I was selling tires. And decided that natural, nostalgic, second-nature skill was just what I needed to do.
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
It’s 2023. I, of course, wanted to learn that there are aliens amongst the numerous galaxies out there. Goal accomplished. Secondly, I wanted to grow in my leadership skills and help each of my sellers grow in their personal career goals.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Ideally, in 20 years, I hope to be lending knowledge and scope to the next generation of the tire industry, making my plans for retirement.