On the Rise

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A new generation of leaders is influencing the livelihoods of today’s independent tire dealers, and Modern Tire Dealer is recognizing those who are On the Rise. Young men and women are at the forefront of the industry, and they’re helping to lead the way as our business continues to evolve at the lightning-speed pace typical of the 21st century. From product development and manufacturing all the way to the sales counter and service bays, young leaders are finding ways to propel our industry forward.

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Winners


Alicia Abercrombie Koehler

Alicia Abercrombie Koehler

Director of Operations | American Omni Trading Co. | Age: 38

What was your first job in the industry?

This job! I have been with AOT since 2005. It was my first “big girl” job out of college, and I started out as a sales assistant to Chris Brackin, who at that time, was a domestic sales manager handling our business for Dunlap & Kyle.

What attracted you to the industry?

The people! I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be working in the tire industry. Everyone, including customers and team members, was so eager to teach me what they knew. I absorbed so much within my first year and had the opportunity to develop strong working relationships with so many throughout the business...

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Schaunnea Arnold

Schaunnea Arnold

Sales Development | Tube & Solid Tire Ltd./Dobermann North America | Age: 34

What was your first job in the industry?

Counter sales at GCR.

What attracted you to the industry?

The opportunities for growth and the mobility.

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Blake Banton

Blake Banton

Operations Systems Project Manager | American Tire Distributors Inc. | Age: 28

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was as an operations specialist at American Tire Distributors.

What attracted you to the industry?

I was attracted to the tire industry because it presented a unique opportunity to use my operations and IT skillset to help better my company and the customers we serve.

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Maggy Calvert

Maggy Calvert

Director of Client Services | In Motion Brands (IMB) | Age: 28

What was your first job in the industry?

Marketing and communications coordinator.

What attracted you to the industry?

I would say my attraction to the industry was the opportunity I saw. Coming from a digital and e-commerce focused background into an industry that often is lacking in that area, and being able to work with clients to improve their online presence and identity was a great fit for me...

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Sosia Causeret Josten

Sosia Causeret Josten

New Venture Analyst | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Age: 33

What was your first job in the industry?

I started in the tire industry with Goodyear in 2019 in the Luxembourg Innovation Lab driving new mobility solutions forward.

What attracted you to the industry?

The possibility of being part of the Beyond Tires team means working on exciting new connected solutions while building on more than 120 years of tire expertise. For me taking such an emblematic company into a new era is just a wonderful and unique opportunity.

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Justin Che

Justin Che

Principal Scientist | Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. | Age: 34

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the tire industry was working in the global raw materials development and approvals team at Goodyear. I was able to work directly with numerous raw material suppliers to develop next generation raw materials to be used for new compound developments and meet new tire performance objectives.

What attracted you to the industry?

A tire is a very complex object that contains over a dozen components, and within each component contains approximately another dozen raw materials. All these raw materials need to work well together to deliver excellent tire performance but also maintain the tire integrity, especially with the countless cycles of dynamic stress that a tire endures. As a scientist, there is a lot of exciting science...

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Ken Conrad

Ken Conrad

Service Manager | Future Tire | Age: 35

What was your first job in the industry?

Actually the first job in the auto industry was with Future Tire. I started with the company at 18 years old.

What attracted you to the industry?

I was born into the automotive world. I grew up building race cars, fixing cars and restoring the classics with the family. The automotive industry to me has always been a family affair.

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Joel DeRuiter

Joel DeRuiter

New Account Development | Wonderland Tire Co. | Age: 36

What was your first job in the industry?

Outside sales.

What attracted you to the industry?

It was the company that attracted me, not necessarily the industry. They seemed like a well-run company with a lot of room for growth.

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Ryan Eicher

Ryan Eicher

Store Manager | Joe's Tire | Age: 32

What was your first job in the industry?

I started out in the bays as a tire tech. In fact, my job at Joe’s Tire was my first job anywhere when I was only 16 years old. This is the only company I’ve ever worked for and now I’m an owner.

What attracted you to the industry?

I’ve always enjoyed work that was hands-on. I like to be in the action, and light duty automotive work appealed to that part of me.

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Danielle Elsaesser

Danielle Elsaesser

Director of Supply Chain | S&S Tire | Age: 37

What was your first job in the industry?

Pricing analyst for S&S Tire.

What attracted you to the industry?

I began looking for jobs in the Lexington area to be near my fiancé. My previous role was in logistics and warehousing, so the position with S&S Tire was a natural transition that allowed us to be closer to each other.

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Yi Feng

Yi Feng

Fleet Service Solution Manager | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Age: 37

Tire compounder (material engineer) in Goodyear’s Innovation Center Luxembourg.

There are two things that attracted me to the industry. First, with my semiconductor academic background, I found it meaningful to combine sensor technology with tire products to enable future mobility solutions. Second, it's exciting to work in Goodyear's global network. It's an environment that inspires creativity and a diversity mindset.

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Chris Ferguson

Chris Ferguson

Market Manager - Tire Store and WTD | Dealer Tire LLC | Age: 36

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the business was working the lot at a local dealership. It was a mix of many different responsibilities: inventory management, prepping for delivery, picking up trash, you name it. I realized early on that I had the itch and have been fortunate enough to continue being a student of this industry since then.

What attracted you to the industry?

I have always had a passion for cars. From a young age, I knew I wanted to do something in the automotive world. As I mentioned before, I started early on in the car business and realized this is where I wanted to be...

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Jordan Fraser

Jordan Fraser

Owner/Manager Fountain Tire Crowfoot | Fountain Tire | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?

I started my career as a tire technician at a Fountain Tire location very close to the one I own now. I was in high school at the time; I worked weekends as I learned the industry.

What attracted you to the industry?

My brother worked at Fountain Tire and he was my first introduction to the industry. Once I started, I was attracted to the wide variety of work I got to do and how much there was to learn about different makes and models of vehicles coming through our shop. I quickly realized I could move up in the company and build a long-term career...

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JP Garnier

JP Garnier

Lead Product and Design for AndGo | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Age: 36

What was your first job in the industry?

I was an intern at Goodyear in 2015. My first project was research on how the future of mobility would impact a tire company and what new value propositions could Goodyear create with new mobility companies in areas such as ride hailing and car sharing. Specifically, I assisted in a research project with Uber in Mexico.

What attracted you to the industry?

I was drawn to the changes happening in mobility around the world. This is an industry that is slated for big changes as mobility evolves, becoming more accessible, sustainable and digitally driven.

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Manuel Gomez

Manuel Gomez

Service Manager | Big O Tires | Age: 25

What was your first job in the industry?

Working for my grandfather's shop at the age of 15 is what first piqued my interest and passion for the automotive field.

What attracted you to the industry?

Seeing my grandfather work on cars and my other grandfather's old pictures of circle track racing.

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Tom Gray

Tom Gray

Owner | Northern Auto & Tire Inc. | Age: 33

What was your first job in the industry?

Tire tech.

What attracted you to the industry?

My mother started an automobile dealership in 2002 and I added tires.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Not being prepared for the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Strategic planning and systems are now in place.

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Jake Gregory

Jake Gregory

Owner | Hometown Tire Pros | Age: 29

What was your first job in the industry?

I started off as a tire tech at the Discount Tire my dad managed at the age of 15.

What attracted you to the industry?

My dad mostly. When I was younger I liked how everywhere we went my dad knew everyone. Now that I'm older I see it was because he really took care of everyone and that is what I enjoy the most today — being able to take care of customers and also seeing my employees grow and achieving so much.

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Jake Hershberger

Jake Hershberger

CEO | Joe’s Tire | Age: 35

What was your first job in the industry?

Tire tech.

What attracted you to the industry?

My family wanted to start a business that is in the auto industry and essential. We picked the tire and wheel industry since we will be able to meet a lot of people and help keep the community safe.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge has also been the biggest blessing and that is working with family...

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Joe Hershberger

Joe Hershberger

Co-Owner and General Manager | Joe’s Tire | Age: 34

What was your first job in the industry?

I started out in the bays as a tire tech.

What attracted you to the industry?

I’ve always enjoyed working on cars and trucks. I enjoy motorsports and the people that I meet there. And, as it turns out, I enjoy retail. The tire industry scratches a lot of those itches.

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Davey Holsapple

Davey Holsapple

Service Manager | Ferber's Tire and Auto | Age: 23

What was your first job in the industry?

Service advisor.

What attracted you to the industry?

COVID-19 shut down my old job at the gym and I was looking for a new career and happened to stumble upon this job and just fell in love with it.

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Ryan Jennings

Ryan Jennings

Store Manager | Mark's Tire Service | Age: 21

What was your first job in the industry?

I started as a tire tech in my family's single location shop when I was 13.

What attracted you to the industry?

I have been around the tire industry my entire life, but as I grew older, I saw the amount of opportunity there is for someone willing to go straight into the workforce out of high school.

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Camilla Jesko

Camilla Jesko

Marketing Manager - Proprietary Brands | American Tire Distributors Inc. | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was a marketing internship with Hercules.

What attracted you to the industry?

Growing up around the Findlay community, being from Carey, Ohio myself, led me to having a lot of friends and family that were a part of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. I always had an interest in the tire industry from learning and seeing all that the tire industry had to offer across a wide range of specialties, including marketing.

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Christine Kay

Christine Kay

Manager | San Francisco Car Care | Age: 26

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was being a service advisor in our third shop in Berkeley, Calif.

What attracted you to the industry?

When I was 17, I got into the automotive industry because of my sister. I never worked in it professionally until 2019. My boss took a chance on me and hired me! I was always into aftermarket parts — I even maxed out my coilovers on my Acura TSX. But I always liked the exterior. It wasn’t until I started being a service advisor that I started focusing more on the actual mechanics of cars. There's always something new to learn everyday and you meet awesome new people.

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Chad Kiefer

Chad Kiefer

President | Smetzer's Tire Center Inc. | Age: 35

What was your first job in the industry?

Tire technician.

What attracted you to the industry?

It was a summer job to help pay for college; and I always liked working on cars.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Trying to learn all the ways to handle employee interactions and personalities to go with it. Everyone learns in so many different ways — and I’m trying to learn that myself.

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Brent Klomparens

Brent Klomparens

Director of Marketing and Key Accounts | Technical Rubber Co. | Age: 38

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was on the hard parts side of the automotive business when I graduated from Northwood University back in 2006. I was part of a new college graduate developmental program at Affinia Group, which at the time was the parent company of both Raybestos Brakes and Wix Filters. During the program, I worked in several departments (marketing, sales, customer service, training, distribution, etc.) and then was offered and accepted a sales role with Wix Filters in Arizona.

What attracted you to the industry?

I had a passion for cars that started at a young age and always wanted to work in the industry...

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Andrew Ko

Andrew Ko

Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder | Revvo Technologies Inc.| Age: 33

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the tire industry is actually as a co-founder of Revvo. I spent a significant portion of my first year at a local tire shop learning the ins-and-outs of tire installation, repair and management.

What attracted you to the industry?

Many years ago, a close friend of mine was in a serious car accident. He was rear-ended on the highway by a pickup truck that failed to stop in time. We put so much trust into the safety of our vehicles but rarely think about the safety of the tires that the vehicle drives upon. Through Revvo, we are changing how people think about tires through a smart tire revolution.

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Lindsay Lafortune

Lindsay Lafortune

Business Analyst and Inside Sales | Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America Inc. | Age: 32

What was your first job in the industry?

Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America was my first job in the tire industry. I joined the company six years ago as an inside salesperson on the Alliance brand, handling the northern Midwest states.

What attracted you to the industry?

I had been in advertising sales in the newspaper business, and it was hard to watch the industry shrinking. When a friend of mine introduced me to Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, I really liked the opportunity to help supply tires to farmers, construction workers, warehouse workers, and people who use these tires every day.

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Brian Lenhardt

Brian Lenhardt

Vice President of Operations | Fat Boys Tire & Auto | Age: 32

What was your first job in the industry?

Cleaning bathrooms in my dad's shop.

What attracted you to the industry?

My grandfather started selling tires in 1963 and bought his first shop in '67. My dad worked for him, and now I work for my dad. It's the only job I've ever had.

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Simon Martin

Simon Martin

National Sales Manager | Counteract Balancing Beads Inc. | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry is working at Counteract. I started in the warehouse briefly, then moved to sales where I took over Canada as my territory. I put in a lot of leg work there building up my reputation. Then I was promoted to national sales manager overseeing the U.S. and Canada.

What attracted you to the industry?

I have always been a fan of vehicles and anything that has power and speed. I am a large motorcycle fanatic, having raced for many years, and always had an interest in vehicles...

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Matthew McAllister

Matthew McAllister

Service Advisor | Plantation Tire Pros | Age: 32

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was when I was 14; I stocked oil filters at NAPA in my small hometown of Chauvin, La.

What attracted you to the industry?

I love the process of diagnosing and repairing a vehicle! I love relaying and translating the issues to the customer from the mechanic.

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Shaun Minsker

Shaun Minsker

Part Owner | Superior Tire | Age: 38

What was your first job in the industry?

As a part time summer job at 16, I began as a tire technician and shop helper.

What attracted you to the industry?

It was almost a natural progression as it is an industry that has always been a part of my life and have grown up with.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge in my career has been creating a balance between work and home life...

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Bill Morgan

Bill Morgan

President/Owner | Bill Morgan Tire Co. | Age: 28

What was your first job in the industry?

Working for my father’s tire company, B&B Morgan Tire, I started off changing farm tires and moved into sales.

What attracted you to the industry?

The family ties, the people, as well as the rugged toughness of the industry.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

I find getting qualified help to be the biggest problem facing my career. No one is interested in doing a tough job anymore.

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Kasmen Monrose

Kasmen Monrose

Commercial Sales Representative |Tirecraft / Protreadz | Age: 35

What was your first job in the industry?

This was my first job, I started off by sweeping floors and emptying garbage cans. I quickly learned how to change passenger and light truck tires so well that I wanted more of a challenge. I dove head first into commercial tires and found my calling, I became so diverse that I started to do industrial, off-the-road and agriculture tires.

What attracted you to the industry?

As a kid I always wanted to be a police officer or a firefighter to help people out when in need. This is my way of helping people. I keep the tire industry rolling one tire at a time.

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Drew Mortensen

Drew Mortensen

Manager | Ralph's Tire Pros | Age: 28

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was here at Ralph's Tire Pros as a lube and tire tech.

What attracted you to the industry?

My dad owned the business and I wanted to be like him so I just naturally gravitated toward working here; I always knew this was where I belonged.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career, probably has to be working with and recognizing multiple personality types...

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Eri Muca

Eri Muca

Global Aftermarket TPMS Manager | ATEQ TPMS Tools | Age: 37

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was here at ATEQ TPMS Tools. I started when TPMS was first mandated in the United States in 2008. Now in 2021, I am the global aftermarket TPMS manager focusing on developing a global sales strategy to foster partner and distribution relations and increase market shares worldwide.

What attracted you to the industry?

I love the idea of coming up with solutions to complex problems. When TPMS was mandated in 2008, I saw an opportunity to creatively solve customer problems regarding TPMS with new tools and industry partnerships that would benefit everyone in the industry.

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Nathan Nall

Nathan Nall

Manager | Chabill's Tire & Service | Age: 39

What was your first job in the industry?

Floor sweeper.

What attracted you to the industry?

My father and grandfather.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Working short handed.

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Damin Oman

Damin Oman

Director of Operations | K&M Tire Inc. | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?

I started in the tire industry working in a reclass position for Cooper Tire & Rubber co. in Findlay, Ohio.

What attracted you to the industry?

Lineage. My family has around 150 combined years in the tire industry. I look back fondly on memories of being young and getting to come into my mother’s office and look around at all the tire memorabilia on the walls. Most people outside of the industry don’t put a lot of thought into tires but ever since I was little it was obvious that it was something that was important to us...

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Steve Paden

Steve Paden

Owner | Elite Tire & Auto | Age: 39

What was your first job in the industry?

Tire tech at age 18.

What attracted you to the industry?

Wanting to learn all aspects of auto repair.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Being my own boss.

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Page Perrine

Page Perrine

Project Manager | K&M Tire Inc. | Age: 25

What was your first job in the industry?

Loading and unloading tires at K&M Tire.

What attracted you to the industry?

Most of my family is in the tire industry. I would say my family and my love for cars has attracted me to the tire industry.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The constant changes and updates in technology. You would think being in the tire industry you wouldn’t deal too much with technology...

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Page Perrine

Jeff Perry

Senior Corporate Account Director | Nexen Tire America Inc.| Age: 39

What was your first job in the industry?

Kumho Tire USA.

What attracted you to the industry?

The competitiveness of sales — it just happened to be the tire industry.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Continuing to maintain and grow current customers and new customers during challenging times.

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David Pulla

David Pulla

Account Manager for the Consumer Business Unit | Yokohama Tire Canada | Age: 31

What was your first job in the industry?

My career in the tire industry began on the shop floor, installing tires at a local independent tire dealer.

What attracted you to the industry?

The importance of tires is crucial for the safety of our daily travels. From a young age I was drawn to the tire industry with hopes of educating the end user of the value and benefits towards tire knowledge and safety.

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Sam Rhodes

Sam Rhodes

Operations Project Manager | Plaza Tire Service | Age: 26

What was your first job in the industry?

MI started rolling tires in the warehouse in between my college classes. Eventually, I worked as a tire technician and a salesperson at the store-level throughout the remainder of my undergrad and masters programs.

What attracted you to the industry?

Growing up, we used industry meetings and conventions as family vacations. You can attribute it to family-ties or long-term indoctrination, but I’ve always wanted to work in the tire business. So far in my life, I’ve found there is nothing quite like the tire industry.

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Stephen Reynolds

Stephen Reynolds

Director of OTR Sales, North America |Triangle Tire USA | Age: 38

What was your first job in the industry?

Inventory management and inside sales for Rimex Inc. I learned the off-the-road tire side of the industry from the ground up. My very first task on day one was literally to sweep the warehouse floor.

What attracted you to the industry?

The opportunity to grow into an industry I felt was under-recognized by my peers as they entered into the professional sector. The OTR segment of the industry specifically appealed to me as a tight knit community where hard work and effort would be recognized and pay off.

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Heather Rowland

Heather Rowland

President | WNY Industrial Tire Inc. | Age: 39

What was your first job in the industry?

Selling rubber tracks to equipment dealers.

What attracted you to the industry?

The legacy my father built when he started this company almost 50 years ago.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The pandemic. It was the unknown if and how we were going to make it when everything first shut down.

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PJ Sparkman

PJ Sparkman

Store Manager | Joe’s Tire | Age: 37

What was your first job in the industry?

In 2014, I was hired as a sales representative and office manager for a small body shop that also sold tires and mechanical services in my hometown. I knew nothing about tires at the time, but I was thrust into it, and I learned quickly that this might be something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Joe's Tires gave me an opportunity in 2016, and I have been here ever since. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What attracted you to the industry?

I enjoy helping customers solve their problems and the satisfaction of a job well done...

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Brock Swentzel

Brock Swentzel

President of the Wholesale Division | S&S Tire | Age: 32

What was your first job in the industry?

Counter salesperson at one of the S&S Tire Retail stores in Lexington.

What attracted you to the industry?

I was initially attracted to the opportunity to be a part of the family business. My grandfather, Paul Swentzel and his partner Don Schneider started S&S Tire in 1974 with a single retail store. It’s enjoyable to get to work with my dad and now brother, Austen on a daily basis. We look forward to continuing to thrive as a family owned and operated business.

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Kyle Weiler

Kyle Weiler

Store Manager | Wonderland Tire Co. | Age: 27

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was studding tires for Les Schwab Tire Centers in Wenatchee, Wash.

What attracted you to the industry?

The team-like atmosphere attracted me to the industry.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge I have faced thus far is moving to a new location and being a young, non-local leader.

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Bradley Youngdahl

Bradley Youngdahl

Supply Chain Business Manager | American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) | Age: 27

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry and out of college was at ATD as an inventory analyst. In this position my primary responsibility was to help optimize our inventory portfolio, allowing ATD to help ensure our customers have the broadest selection of product where and when they need it. This allowed me to partner with some of ATD’s most knowledgeable tire experts who I was able to learn from as I began to understand the industry and build my tire knowledge.

What attracted you to the industry?

I was attracted to the innovation and opportunity that’s happening in the industry. With the ever-changing environment we’re in, there’s an increased focus on building and maintaining an agile supply chain that continuously challenges and excites me...

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