A business student [Audio]
Jamie Ward is a real tire guy. From an early age, he worked for his grandfather, a firefighter who ran an auto shop from his garage. There he learned the ropes and by age 15 had the skills equivalent to an ASE qualified master technician. But Jamie didn’t stop there. His passion and energy for the business catapulted him to President and CEO of Tire Discounters, where he was instrumental in growing the eight-store business when he started more of 175 locations the dealership has today…including its foray into the car wash business.
As a leader in the growth of Tire Discounters, Jamie says years of working in a retail environment have helped inform every decision he makes today. He is grateful for the mechanical know-how he learned from his grandfather and the Michel Tire Co. in Cincinnati, where he also learned sales and realized he could make a good living in the tire business. .
In 1995, Ward joined Tire Discounters as a salesperson when company founder Chip Wood had eight stores. Over the years, he rose through the ranks from Regional Manager to Business Leader in January 2016. Today, he seeks to instill the best customer service practices he has learned over the years while that he and the team at Tire Discounters are working to expand the dealership’s footprint.
In this episode of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone, Jamie shares how he learned about the automotive industry at a young age, the hardest parts of growing a multi-location business and what he loves the most in the tire industry today.
- What Jamie learned working with his grandfather, a Cincinnati firefighter who ran an auto shop in his garage next door (1:41)
- How Johnny helped Jamie’s first employer, Tony Michel of Michel’s Tire Co., grow his business (4:03)
- Jamie’s early days at Tire Discounters and what he found appealing about the company and Chip Wood’s leadership style (5:34)
- How Jamie helped open 60 Tire Discounters stores in about 10 years and what systemized programs and processes he helped the company adopt as it grew (5:44)
- Jamie’s role in helping Tire Discounters double its growth, opening 10-15 locations per year beginning in the early 2010s (9:26)
- Tire Discounters Growth Strategy and Company Growth Goals This Year (12:51)
- The challenges that have come with rapid growth and why it’s important to have people from non-tire backgrounds working in a tire shop (15:04)
- Why Jamie considers himself a “student of the trade” (17:35)
- What Jamie thinks is the hardest thing to teach others about the tire business (20:11)
- The biggest challenges that exist today for independent tire dealers, including Tire Discounters (24:14)
More from Johnny g: Stay true to your mission, vision and values as you grow with K&M Tire
After: Tire Discounters Recent Partnerships and Acquisitions