A look at Dave Miller’s right forearm gives you an idea of his dedication to the tire industry. Wrapped around his arm is a massive Firestone Destination MT2 tire tread tattoo. Why that tire specifically? No reason, but it is definitely a standout feature at trade shows and industry events.
“When someone is looking for me, people just say ‘Look for the dude with a tread on his arm!’” he said. “I don’t try to spin a tail of meaning behind every tattoo I love creating things, love being artistic. Running a marketing department is the perfect job for me.”
A 27-year industry veteran, Dave serves as the director of marketing at K&M Tire, where he oversees all marketing initiatives, programs, events and trade shows. While he humbly credits his team for K&M’s achievements, Dave’s multifaceted role requires him to be well-versed in various parts of the industry.
“You usually don’t just do one thing. You’re like a utility knife, capable of multiple facets of the industry and of your company, I’m no different,” Dave explained. “If there’s a need for something in operations, we’re going to help out in operations, and we’re going to put our best foot forward. Same thing with sales, even accounting believe it or not. Where there’s a will, there’s a Dave, I like to say.”
Dave’s career in the industry began in high school at just 15 years old. He applied for a job at Discount Tire in Michigan, where he cleaned and disposed of old tires. He wasn’t allowed to touch a customer’s vehicle, let alone work on tires until he was 16.
“I spent a few months doing that work until I was old enough; I think it’s funny when folks say, ‘I started sweeping and doing small things,’ because I literally started by sweeping floors and taking old, dead tires to a closet room to be discarded,” he said.
Although he has roots working in a tire shop, Dave says his biggest challenge today is assisting independent dealers with marketing their businesses effectively. These dealers, often technicians themselves or second-generation owners, tend to prioritize technical aspects over advertising. Under Dave’s watch, K&M Tire offers an associate dealer program that allows dealers to maintain their identity while providing customizable marketing options. Dave said he aims to help increase foot traffic by promoting exclusive rebates and incentives, encouraging independent dealers to appreciate advertising’s worth and explore tailored campaigns.
“Every marketplace is different, every demographic is different, every customer is different, but for the folks that we’re servicing, we know that they’re hands-on with their business,” Dave said. “The goal is to network with their customers. Asking ‘How did you hear about us?’ are those aha moments that we’d like to help our dealers reach. That’s where we can extend the olive branch, open up doors and come up with a one-on-one advertising campaign for that particular customer.
Dave highlighted the value of networking with K&M’s customers and explained why industry experts should stay informed about the latest trends and market developments. With the ever-changing nature of the industry, Dave said he finds excitement in the tire industry’s evolution and the challenges that come with it.
“This is why I love our industry–all the different challenges, going one way or the other. It really intrigues my chaotic brain that I can do something one day, something else the next day, and be able to help everybody in between,” he said.
Dave may literally be covered in tires at all times, but he says his personal and family life keeps him rolling. He and his wife, Jen, of 27 years have four children from 24 to 7 years old. Raising this energetic brood has become their central mission in life, often leading to a whirlwind of sporting events, activities and daily chaos.
While he is a tire man by day, Dave becomes a carpenter by night, as he and his wife enjoy custom woodworking. Although they don’t operate a formal business, they’ve created handmade wooden pieces like kitchen tables and intricate cutting boards.