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Dealer-Driven Group Offers Education Program for Managers, Future Owners

Tire dealers looking to develop the next generation of managers and owners for its business can now send employees to Tire Leadership 21.


Tire dealers looking to develop the next generation of managers and owners for its business can now send employees to Tire Leadership 21, a new multi-session program created by the newly formed Center for Tire & Service Education (CTSE) and offered by Northwood University.

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The new business education program was specifically designed to develop the next generation of tire dealer managers and owners. Leadership 21 covers a wide range of business, management and leadership topics that are critical to the success of future independent tire-dealer managers and owners. The program was created through a unique collaboration between a group of leading tire dealers and Northwood University, a fully accredited, private, non-profit business university that specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education.

“This program addresses a long-standing need in the tire industry,” said Rich Brahler, president of commercial tire dealer Brahler’s Truckers Supply Inc., in Jacksonville, Ill., and a founding member of the CTSE Advisory Board. “Every tire dealer has wondered where they will find good managers to run a new store or how to retain and grow key employees to make this a career and not just a job. This program was designed to foster that growth.”


Kim Sigman, co-owner of Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair in Phoenix and another founding member of the CTSE Advisory Board, added, “More and more, independent tire dealers face serious questions about growth opportunities, key employee retention, even succession planning. With every one of those questions, we came back to the same conclusion: This industry sorely needs an effective, proven way to help our employees grow as businesspeople and managers. This program accomplishes that goal.”

The program’s structure features a pair of one-week, on-campus sessions (participants attend both sessions). Session I will be held April 14-18 at Northwood’s campus in Midland, Mich. Participants will reconvene Sept. 7-12 at Northwood’s campus in West Palm Beach, Fla. Between Sessions I and II, participants will be required to complete an individual project that must deliver $25,000 in annual additional revenue or savings to their employers.


The 2014 Tire Leadership 21 program will be limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. The program cost, which includes tuition, meals and class materials, is $5,995. Hotel-style, on-campus accommodations are available.

The academic support of the program comes from Northwood University. Northwood was founded in 1959 and grants bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of business disciplines. Although Tire Leadership 21 is a non-degree program, it still leverages Northwood’s extensive academic resources, including its world-class faculty and residential campuses.

“Northwood University has a long-standing relationship with the motor vehicle aftermarket parts and service industry,” said University President Keith Pretty. “We are especially pleased to partner with such an outstanding group of independent tire dealers to develop a business skills program of this caliber.”


Faculty for Tire Leadership 21 will come from a combination of Northwood’s DeVos Graduate School of Management and subject-matter experts from within the tire and service industries. The program will also include a series of recognized experts – from within and outside of the tire and service industry – to serve as guest speakers.

The program includes on a range of university-level tire dealer focused business, management and leadership subjects:

• Finance
• Accounting
• Business Strategy
• Management
• Corporate Vision
• Leadership
• Operations
• Industry Trends
• Marketing & Social Media
• Team & Corporate Culture
• The Customer Experience
• Critical Thinking
• Problem Resolution


“This is not about the mechanics of changing tires, understanding regulations or even a basic community-college business course,” said Marc Pons, owner of Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. “Tire Leadership 21 is at whole new level, and the subjects and coursework were specifically selected by the CTSE Advisory Board to engage and challenge attendees, and result in stronger, better run, flourishing tire businesses.”

“One of the keys to long-term growth and success is continuity of management,” said Mike McGee, president of McGee Auto Service & Tire in Lakeland, Fla., and another founding member of the CTSE Advisory Board. “That continuity has to come from employees who are engaged and invested in that business – they have to see a career, not just a job. When they see that long-term opportunity, their positive attitude and excitement drive the entire staff.”



“Where do I find good managers I can trust to run a new store? How can I help key employees become more effective? What can I do to retain key employees, to make this a career and not just a job? Where can I find resources to help my kids become better prepared to take over this business? Those are questions we have asked countless times,” said Steve Hamilton, US AutoForce in Appleton, Wisc., and a founding member of the CTSE Advisory Board. “I see this effort as a real-world way to answer those questions, and to give tire dealers the best opportunity to grow in a tough, competitive environment.”


When asked why Tire Leadership 21 is vital to his business, Brahler offered, “I want my key employees to see the ‘bigger picture.’ I want strategic thinkers capable of implementing our business plan. This program will challenge and enhance their decision-making, build morale and show our key people that we truly want to build them up as much as we build the business,” Brahler said. “I want to build a team that doesn’t need me. Can the business thrive without my input? That is where I want to be someday.”
Kim Sigman of Community Tire Pros said, “Currently, there is nowhere to send a potential store manager to learn the in-depth skills it takes to efficiently manage a tire and service facility. This is a university-level education program geared directly to the tire and service business – retail, wholesale and commercial – that will elevate all independents and allow them to grow and thrive.”


Discounts are available for tire dealers sending more than one participant to the program. Contact program director Brian Cruickshank ([email protected]) for more details. To register for Tire Leadership 21, visit or call 800-551-2882.

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