GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — Big O Tires and Midas International franchisee Leeds West Groups has hired former Bridgestone Americas executive Derek Wessels to be its chief operating officer (COO), overseeing LWG's three automotive divisions.
Mr. Wessels was a region manager for Bridgestone for the past dozen-plus years, overseeing as many as 240 Firestone Complete Auto Care locations in the U.S. Prior to that he was with Brhaco Enterprises/Driver's Edge Auto Repair in Texas for nine years.
Mr. Wessels brings "tremendous multi-unit automotive aftermarket experience" spanning two decades to his new job, LWG said, noting he has delivered "extraordinary results" while creating world-class leadership cultures in his management teams.
"We have spent tremendous resources over the last nine months setting up our operating teams' structure in a way that we believe to be best in class streamlined with the mindset and ability to achieve our growth expectations and culture for our team members growth," LWG CEO Judd Kyle Shader said. '
"During the process we set a lofty goal of identifying a leader that we believed had the skillset of large multi-unit automotive retail experience that is highly driven with a mindset of in-field presence, with a hunger and passion to win and the skillset that could achieve our expected growth numbers all while being able to deliver to their teams personal growth. We believe we have found that in Derek and could not be prouder to have him leading all aftermarket automotive divisions and joining LWG."
Mr. Wessels will be working closely with Alan Mahrt, COO of the ASE Division, Tim Moran, vice president of LW Midas Division, and James Gould, vice president of the Big O Division. He's filling an executive position that's currently vacant, LWG said.
"It's an honor an honor to lead this organization from an operations perspective as our core values and vision for the future fully align." Mr. Wessels said. "Teammate development, outstanding customer service, high-paced nationwide growth and long-term thinking are a few key items that stand out.
"I'm extremely motivated to lead our teammates, who have high expectations and a passion to take LWG to the next level. My family and I are excited to get going, and I look forward to building meaningful relationships with all teammates throughout the organization," he said.
The hiring of Mr. Wessel "highlights our development and maturation under the leadership of our CEO, Judd Kyle Shader," LWG Chairman Josh Weinreich said, noting that his "track record as a leader and his deep roots in our industry make him a natural fit for our organization, given our focus on combining institutionalized operational excellence with entrepreneurial innovation."
Messrs. Shader and Wessels will team with CFO Peter Derschang drive LWG's strategy and upcoming expansions to be announced later this year, Mr. Weinreich said, along with the "continued strategic expansion" of our locations nationwide.
"As we scale our business, we remain strongly committed to providing excellent service to the communities in which we operate while providing a dynamic work environment with upward mobility for our amazing team of now over 900 members," Mr. Weinreich said.
LWG has grown to over 100 locations the past couple of years, primarily by a series of acquisitions and other strategic moves, including its recent deal to become joint owner of eight Big O Tires stores in Texas.