Perspective: Tire Leadership 21 Great Example of Key Grassroot Effort - Tire Review Magazine

Perspective: Tire Leadership 21 Great Example of Key Grassroot Effort

[Editor’s Note: The following commentary by Gary Molinaro, publisher of Automotive Week/The Greensheet, casts another affirmative vote in favor of the recently announced Tire Leadership 21 educational program. This is used with the permission from Automotive Week/The Greensheet (]

An important part of my education in this industry came through a relationship I had while editor of a distribution title with a publisher of another publication, a magazine focused on the tire dealer side of the market. We talked often as this publisher continually studied a niche market in transition at the time, moving toward a world where tire dealers made less and less on tire sales, and more and more on service and repairs. He recognized this fundamental shift earlier than most, fighting the battle to position the advertising philosophy toward this new paradigm while the market continued to see itself as it had always been – all about tires.

One of the key things I remember from our discussions centered on considerable data the publisher had gathered that indicated one advantage tire dealers had in the aftermarket that positioned those dealers in a profitable position: the first aftermarket contact a new vehicle owner has usually occurs at the tire dealer’s shop when that vehicle comes in for its first set of replacement tires. That was usually the same time that such wearables as brake and chassis components were also approaching replacement, and that tire dealer had a real advantage to lock up a long-term customer with good service during this initial aftermarket interface.

Tires are still a real “gateway” sale to the aftermarket. And even new car dealers, as well as various aftermarket service operations, have added replacement tires to their menu of products and services available at the full-service repair shops.

That’s why I was excited to see the news recently that Northwood University and the newly formed Center for Tire & Service Education had announced a new business education program targeting North American independent tire dealers, specifically designed to develop the next generation of tire dealer managers and owners.

Tire Leadership 21 – built on a similar platform to the highly successful aftermarket Leadership 2.0 program from the University of the Aftermarket and Northwood – features a pair of one-week, on-campus sessions with participants attending 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.

And the CTSE and Northwood folks have made this a top-level program with faculty from the school’s DeVos Graduate School of Management as well as 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.

But the real “hook” here is a unique end product that will come from being a participant in this specific program: participants will be required to complete an individual project that must deliver $25,000 in annual additional revenue or savings to their employers. That will more than offset the $5,995 program cost, giving tire dealer owners a real incentive to get key leadership personnel into this program while letting that person know they are fundamental to the future of the business. That is a true ROI for both the business owner as well as the Tire Leadership 21 participant.

In the simplest terms, the most elemental problems or challenges or concerns in this industry are directly related to two primary issues – education and recruitment. You can draw a straight line from any of our fundamental challenges to these two keystone areas. And this is the type of program that plays off of both of these primary channels for change.

This program grew out of a grassroots effort from a group of independent tire dealers and others allied to the tire industry. I am certainly proud to be part of an industry that not only recognizes its challenges but also steps up voluntarily to meet those challenges with a well designed, well thought out program that will give great benefit to the industry as a whole and to the tire dealers specifically.

This industry needs not only to recruit good and effective people into the business, but, at the same time, we need to cultivate the quality leadership necessary to make business owners profitable. And, at the same time, these types of programs give business owners the ability to recognize their best and brightest while locking them into their business as a true asset.

That’s a win-win.

Editor’s Note: A complete story of the Tire Leadership 21 program was first reported in our sister newsletter, Service Executive, in its Dec. 11 issue. We have made that article available here to our subscribers who do not subscribe to Service Executive at

Gary A. Molinaro

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