Stephen Clave, Dunn Tire, Managing Director
As managing director of the wholesale arm of Dunn Tire, which was rebranded earlier this year as Exxpress Tire Delivery, Stephen Clave is responsible for the new direction, brand positioning and growth of the wholesale organization. The Buffalo-based organization has five distribution centers to cover the fulfillment needs of tire dealers from northwest Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh to Albany.
Clave says each day he remains focused on the strategic amplification of the new organization as a foundation to its success.
“Currently with the introduction of a new brand identity for Exxpress Tire Delivery and repositioning of the company, the better part of my day is spent on strategic planning for growth and seeking a greater degree of efficiencies within the business,” says Clave.
Even with the metrics and strategic benchmarks to which Clave holds himself and his team accountable, for him, success is more than the attainment of sales goals.
“Success for me is defined philosophically,” he shares. “Success is knowing that regardless of the task, maximum effort was put forth to attain the goal. Success is not guaranteed – the only control one has is the input; success is a byproduct of the input.”
Clave began his career in the tire industry in the late 1980s, working for a Goodyear distributor in northern California, moving tires and doing deliveries. Over time he was promoted into inventory management, then joined up with a global tire manufacturer where he had opportunities to do the research and reports – findings that eventually influenced the go-to-market strategy for that particular brand.
Even with early roots in distribution, it’s the combination of marketing, sales and strategy that Clave finds most appealing.
“What I like most about the industry and my position is the strategic aspect of marketing,” Clave said. “Philosophically, I feel sales and marketing are connected, with sales being execution and marketing leading with a strategic vision/direction.”
With a steady, strong career and passion for continuous development, Clave said the best advice he ever received was early in his career when a colleague told him to “Be who you are.” He went on to explain.
“Don’t emulate anyone else, don’t copy anyone, learn who you are, be comfortable with yourself, and you will do well,” he said.