If worrying about the future of the tire and auto service industry keeps you up at night, you may sleep a little better after reading some of the Faces of the Industry profiled in this issue.
Rest assured, if these snapshots of young people working in the industry are any indication of the future generation of tire dealers, auto repairers and tire company personnel, there is new bloodand new ideascoming down the pike.
Call them game changers or perhaps disrupters, if you will. They are seeing new ways of improving and changing the aftermarket and tire manufacturing as a whole.
Patrice Banks, for example, is tapping into the often-overlooked female customer base by opening a female-centric auto repair shop. And she's doing it with female mechanics while offering a unique enticementan in-house nail salon to pamper her women customers.
Her motive? In part, she's doing it because she was tired of not understanding automobiles and feeling like she was getting scammed by the male-dominated car industry.
Jeff Wallick, a millennial, is excited about working at an independent tire wholesale business where he can gain varied experiences. He said he believes experiences and leadership qualities can trump an MBA when it comes to running a tire dealershipand he has strong ideas about work-life balance.
At age 28, Brian Finkelstein has inherited an appreciation of the importance of family, legacy and guiding principals at his family's 97-year-old Max Finkelstein Inc., a wholesale tire dealership based on Long Island, N.Y.
Several young Bridgestone Americas employees offered their takes on how they're enthusiastically thinking and creating ways to improve tires and the process for developing new products. One 36-year-old even admits he's HUNGRY to achieve excellence, as he put it.
It is encouraging to read and hear in their own words how these young people look at their jobs and how seriously they view their responsibilities in the tire business.
They give hope that the industry will develop a new group of employees, managers and leaders who will continue the legacy of exceptional service, quality products while doing so with an entrepreneurial spirit.
It is well documented that one of the biggest concerns of independent tire dealers is finding talented and hard-working young people who want to make a career in the tire and automotive industries. This is doubly difficult in industries that many view as not so exciting, challenging or rewarding.
But as the young people profiled in this issue clearly show, there is a new generation of employees in the industry who are thoughtful, educated and prepared for the challenges and changes ahead.
Theirs are indeed the faces of the industry. They are the future in tires, auto service and tire manufacturing. And yes, the future does look bright.