What was your first job in the industry?
I began my career in a hybrid role of product-focused route sales and branch customer service for a wholesale distributor of tools and supplies for tire changing, wheel balancing, and under-vehicle service.
What attracted you to the industry?
Working in the tire industry offers an opportunity to present solutions to the evolving needs in both consumer and commercial vehicle maintenance and tire changing. The breadth of the product offering provided a personal challenge to better learn the processes inherent to the safety and efficiency of shop operations. Further, helping to improve the safety of the public on the highway by promoting industry best practices is a personal goal.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Overcoming the objections and resistance to change found in both internal and external customers. Many working in the tire industry are seasoned veterans that have a very staid process, and presenting the return on investment for adopting new processes is an obstacle that is not easily overcome.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Richard Nunez, through his role as eastern regional director for Myers Tire Supply at the beginning of my tenure with the company, provided the guidance, knowledge, and support to bring me into the fold of the industry. His career was an example of the success that can be found with persistence and devotion to the improvement of the customer experience throughout all levels of the tire changing process. By him helping to teach me the full breadth of the first- and second-hand customers that we serve, both internal and external, was a turning point in both my attitude and approach to the company and the industry at large.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Providing input and guidance to bring a customer-centric e-commerce platform online with an industry-leading distributor. By setting the bar higher for others to follow, we have collaborated to drive efficiency gains for customers and vendors that will bring improved service and cost-savings through the supply chain.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to be leading a team of sales and marketing professionals and optimizing our sales organization to utilize the latest technology to support our customers.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Safety and compliance are the leading issues that drive activity through the tire and auto service industry. The safety of the end-customer and the public at large, as well as the safety of the technicians and tradesmen building and retreading tires, is paramount to the sustained growth of the industry.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
Don’t let the tasks of “regular work” interrupt your development of technical knowledge and systems expertise. It’s too easy to get busy with “getting the job done” on a daily business, and there are so many advancements in materials, products, tooling, and business systems that 24 hours in a day is hardly enough time to learn and optimize them all for growth. Organizations, and the individuals therein, need to maintain a future-sighted focus in order to grow and thrive.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
I tell them to take a deep breath and jump right in! As long as people and goods need to be transported over land, there will be work in the tire and vehicle service industries. Find the niche that you love, and learn as much as you can, continuously.
Tell us about your family.
It’s huge! We’ve always worked hard to stay connected, and with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, I am able to keep in touch with second cousins from coast to coast. We’re a light-hearted bunch with some great traditions, from White Elephant holiday gift exchanges to gag gifts that have been wrapped and re-gifted a dozen times. Most importantly, we support each other and push for personal growth in all we do.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
As a resident of northeast Ohio, weekend activities are very seasonal. Spring and fall have great hiking, summer is a wonderful time to garden, and winter is perfect for sledding.
What keeps you up at night?
Planning for the future, in detail. With so many uncertainties in the global marketplace, staging redundant contingency plans to ensure the growth and success of my household and family takes a lot of work.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I’m a musician at heart and have been playing guitar and bass guitar for 20-plus years. It’s been a long time since I’ve rehearsed with a band, but I enjoy playing at home for my own enjoyment.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Collecting music is a passion I’ve indulged for as long as I can remember. I have moved my focus away from acquiring physical media, in favor of seeking out the digital releases from new and emerging artists in my region.
Name a talent you wish you had.
Software application development. This is a skill that is useful to any industry, and a talent that takes years to fully develop.
What’s your favorite food?
Barberton (Ohio) fried chicken, with fries, slaw, and hot rice. My grandfather and his brothers ran a restaurant and hotel for many years, and my aunts still faithfully prepare the recipes for special family functions.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Charles Goodyear; I’d love to hear his personal history on how he developed the vulcanization process that facilitated modern transportation.
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?
Indefinitely. I lived in an era before cell phones were ubiquitous, and my survival skills would kick in. I’d figure out how to get in touch with the people that matter.