Driving season may be winding down but for one the largest tire manufacturers, the busy season is just kicking off.
“The fact that fuel prices are low today is driving more driving miles…so our business right now is very strong,” claimed Pete Selleck, Michelin North America chairman and president.
Michelin's sales in North America tops $10 billion dollars annually. The company designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle from airplanes to bicycles. But Michelin's autos remain its base.
“Right now demand is extremely strong right in the core of our business which is passenger car and medium truck tires,” said Selleck.
And America’s deteriorating road conditions are helping the company's sales in that market. “Bad roads is actually good for our business because tires then get damaged,” said Selleck.
In its most recent infrastructure report, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded U.S. roads a "D". But Selleck puts the financial responsibility solely on the government. “At the federal level and at the very state levels, there has to be more money put into maintaining roads, bridges and other aspects of the infrastructure,” he said.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates it will take $170 billion a year to make significant improvements on America’s roads and bridges.
Rough roads aren't the only thing Michelin is trying to tackle. Hiring and retaining skilled workers is another challenge it faces.
“We’re hiring 1,500 this year at Michelin, we’re hiring production workers, we’re hiring reliability technicians, a lot of salary employees,” said Selleck.
A West Point graduate and former platoon leader, Michelin’s CEO is trying to apply his military experience to corporate America.
“Companies are generally overmanaged and under led,” he said. “Leadership is about creating purpose for people, inspiring people, giving them vision, having them understand the role that they play in the success of the organization,” said Selleck.
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