What was your first job in the industry?
Marketing manager for the North American aftermarket business at Dayco. As principal marketing manager, I provided a sound, viable marketing strategy designed to increase sales in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
What attracted you to the industry?
My father worked in the automotive aftermarket, or auto care, industry for more than 30 years. I was raised in service bays. My first job in high school was as a lot porter for a local Chevrolet dealership in Tulsa, Okla. Ever since, I've had a strong interest in the auto industry.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Building a global team for brand and marketing consistency while meeting local and regional customer needs.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My father, Cy Wheeler. As a life-long technician and service writer, my father is passionate about the auto industry. Today, my motivation at work comes from the passion he instilled in me as a young college student looking for a career path.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Working with our team internally to redefine the company's goals, mission, brand strategy, and internal and external communications platforms. We launched a new website, tagline, and identity statement in a six-month period.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Leading a team of experienced and passionate marketing communications professionals in the automotive industry.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
The continued shift to internet purchasing.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
Get out of the office. Spend time with technicians, the people who depend on our aftermarket products.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
Most of us drive, or ride in, vehicles daily. This, to me, is an easy way to explain our industry. Without automobiles and the aftermarket industry, people are not getting to work, kids are not going to school, and commerce is coming to a halt. We work in an extremely important industry.
Tell us about your family.
We’re a small, Oklahoma born-and-raised family that has been involved in the automotive service industry for decades. My entire immediate family still resides in Oklahoma while I currently live in the Greater Detroit, Mich., area.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Oklahoma Sooner football games. Boomer!
What keeps you up at night?
Living next to Woodward Avenue.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I can play the cello.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream. Any flavor.
Name a talent you wish you had.
Goaltending in soccer so I could defeat my best friends in PK shootouts.
What’s your favorite food?
Anything in New Orleans: jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish, barbecue shrimp, etc.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Anthony Bourdain. He’s a fascinating world traveler that has quite the stories to tell, I imagine. And he’s an excellent writer and public speaker.
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?
About 30 seconds.