What was your first job in the industry?
I started in the industry with a warehouse position. I was responsible for product organization, such as loading and unloading. Holding this position helped me experience the manufacturing side of the tire industry from the ground up.
What attracted you to the industry?
I wanted to work in an industry that I was passionate about and that provided stability. Before I started working in this industry, I was in the ski and snowboard industry, which provided neither of those opportunities.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge of my career has been discovering the balance between my work and my family. I have 5 children, so family is real priority for me. I strive to do quality work in my career by effectively doing my job every day, while still attending all of my children’s extracurricular activities. It’s definitely a challenge.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Case Carpenter, the vice president of operations at Nokian. Case has been my mentor since the beginning, 13 years ago. He has not only influenced my knowledge of the tire industry, but also given me great life advice. Case is the former owner of University Tires, which was purchased by Nokian Tyres. This interaction is what brought us together on many projects, including enterprise resource planning system changes, warehouse management system implementations, new warehouses, moving warehouses, and acquisitions. Each project presented challenges and allowed me to learn from his leadership. Case is always able to get the best work out of the people he works with.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in the industry has been making improvements to our supply planning process. Between 2013 and 2014 we were able to accomplish a substantial sales increase which continued to grow through 2015. Our ability to achieve these results with no manufacturing in North America required a lot of planning. In the end, we were able to do this as a result of a great team effort.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Hopefully still working with Nokian Tyres and managing a much larger footprint in North America.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Pricing is all over the place right now and it creates all kinds of uncertainty in demand to dealers.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
I started in an entry level position so I pretty much knew what I was getting into.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
Nokian is really great about promoting within, so it is great to help younger people get into the company and see them move up.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to my beautiful wife Melissa and have five children named Parker, Hunter, Burke, Tatum, and Georgia — two boys and three girls.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Doing anything with my family; and I sneak some golf in once in a while.
What keeps you up at night?
Something happening to my family.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
Some might not know that I have some pretty good dance moves!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I like to have a cigar once in a while.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I was more charismatic and confident in unfamiliar situations. I work with a lot of our sales people and they always amaze me with how easy that comes to them.
What’s your favorite food?
Hard to beat a good steak.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandfather. He died when I was really young and I have some memories of him, but I would love to speak to him as an adult.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
The first 24-48 hours would be hard. Once I got past that though I think I could get by without. I am old enough I still remember a life without them!