OTR Regional Sales Manager | McCarthy Tire Service
Ten years ago at a Bridgestone basic OTR training course, Austin Hale found his calling in the tire industry.
He was just three months in working as a commercial sales representative for GCR Tire Centers in Albany, New York, when he realized the value of a professional consultant in OTR tire management. It was then this former college lacrosse player found his niche in the industry.
“What was portrayed to me at that training was that the value of a professional consultant is invaluable, and I fell in love with the business. One of my manufacturers’ representatives at the time was a major mentor to me and expanded on the process that makes up off-the-road total tire management,” he said referring to Yokohama Tire’s Henry Childress, North Atlantic OTR manager. “What I learned from him was in sync with what I learned at the training, and I realized there was a spot for me in the industry.”
About six years ago, Hale joined the team at McCarthy Tire Service as its OTR regional sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic region, and, since then, he’s solidified himself as a leader in OTR tire management. Currently, he’s in charge of OTR sales, inventory forecasting and existing market development for his region. In addition, he gets to work in his specialty—managing the implementation and maintenance of his department’s partners’ total tire management programs.
“It’s cradle-to-grave asset tracking with precise cost-capturing, inspection data and out-of-service data” he says. “We’re then able benchmark utilization to see if there’s a change they need to make on the site that can improve tire wear and lowers costs. When an end-user comes to you and says, ‘My goal is to lower my tire cost, and you can have my business if you can tell me how to do it,’ we can. It’s through total tire management.”
In addition, Hale’s role as OTR regional sales manager includes leading a 20-person team and overseeing training and development of OTR sales professionals and technicians. He takes a hands-on approach in developing his team by having newer staff not only shadow senior OTR sales professionals, but also OTR tire technicians.
“From a technical aspect, this type of exposure to the industry paired with other training outlets expedites the training plan of an OTR sales professional,” he says.
It also helps Hale confront his main concern and challenge that McCarthy Tire, as well as the whole industry, faces: an aging workforce.
“The biggest challenge right now is a large exit of senior industry professionals,” Hale says. “In my sales department, the average age is 56. So, you have these individuals who work long hours, have very tough jobs and have these great skill sets, and they’re not going to be in the industry forever.”
To address this, Hale is a part of a group at McCarthy Tire that has developed an OTR technician apprenticeship program under the direction of Daniel Horn, McCarthy’s director of sales. The program starts individuals with obtaining various OTR certifications and shadowing an OTR tire technician. From there, the person can choose if they’d like to continue with the 12- to 18-month program, in which they’d complete TIA OTR training and receive the opportunity to travel once they complete the program.
For McCarthy Tire, the goal is two-fold: introduce new talent to the industry and promote technicians from within the company.
“We give them the ability to go into the field,” Hale says, “If they express interest in the industry, we can then develop a training plan specifically for that individual.”
These ideas for investing in the future of the company come from the top, Hale says—notably John D. McCarthy, president, and Ty Smith, vice president of OTR operations and sales. Both Hale fondly refers to as his mentors in the industry.
“When I met John McCarthy, he committed to mentoring me. He’s a great leader and great coach,” Hale says. “He and Ty, who have been in the industry their entire careers, are always coaching me and passing along the life lessons they’ve learned.”
Fun Fact: One of Hale’s favorite pastimes is vacationing with his family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He and his wife, who have a 1-year-old son, are looking forward to joining their families this summer after limited family interaction due to the coronavirus to celebrate being together. “We’re looking forward to the country and the world getting through this,” he says.
Charles Goodyear revolutionized the rubber industry when he discovered the vulcanization of rubber, protected by his U.S. Patent 3633. The filing of this patent can be seen as a starting point for the modern tire industry. It is in recognition of his fierce determination and accomplishment that our Club 3633 takes its name. The Tire Review Club 3633 celebrates and recognizes the next generation of innovators — those who continue to shape and advance our industry. We welcome the 2020 Class of Club 3633 members and applaud their accomplishments with our sincere congratulations.
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