TJ White was doing oil changes and changing tires years before he received his accounting degree from the University of Akron.
The two combined allowed him to quickly excel in the family business. He now oversees a location of Tire Source, one of six shops in the Akron, Ohio area owned by his father, Tom White, and business partner Drew Dawson.
On a daily basis, TJ is in charge of managing employees, bills, paperwork and workflow in the garage and the showroom, as well as selling tires. One of the most fascinating parts of his job, he says, is seeing the evolution of the industry and tire technology in the shop each day.
“(In the future), it’s all going to be based around technology and advanced equipment,” he says. “There’s going to be bigger wheels, smaller tires and more technology in every single car…. I’ve been in the industry for just eight years, and you used to be able to do a set of tires in 15 minutes. Now, it can take upwards of an hour with different TPMS and tools and special machines needed to do it all.”
While technology evolves, White’s favorite part of the industry will always remain the same – the relationships he’s made with others. That includes the one with his dad – both at work and on family time – and with the company’s general manager over Tire Source’s six stores, Patrick Stuhldreher, to whom he reports.
“To have the relationship [we] have is one of my favorite parts of the job,” he says. “I grew up admiring my dad and Pat, and just being able to spend time with them one-on-one made me realize I wanted to take the next step and see this is where I want to go. That’s made me want to follow in their footsteps.”
White has been lucky enough to go to dealer conferences, SEMA and on other trips, and hopes he can do more and take over the family business one day.
“That’s my end goal,” he says, “and I hope I’m able to continue the success of Tire Source but also add on it and build on it in the future.”
Fun Fact: When asked who he would like to have dinner with in the industry if he could dine with anyone, White chose Rich Kramer, CEO of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., since he admires what Kramer has done for the industry.