Michelin: Providing Purpose-Driven Careers
Since opening its first South Carolina manufacturing facilities in 1975, international tire maker Michelin has been touching lives and creating career opportunities in the Upstate.
Today, more than 8,520 people are employed by Michelin in South Carolina – at the company’s North American headquarters located alongside Interstate 85 in Greenville, at its research facility near the Donaldson Center and at the production facilities in the state.
Michelin is a mobility company that designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles, as well as publishing travel-related guides and maps.
At Michelin, the Company puts people first – its own employees and the people who use its product and services. It is guided by its core values and its Purpose: “We care about giving people a better way forward.”
The Company’s Purpose is carried out by its employees – demonstrated as these three company employees – each from a different area of the business, with varying experiences – reflect on their roles:
Marketing Manager – Two Wheel, Michelin at the North American Headquarters
Years of service with your company?: 26 years
Education: I began in maintenance in U.S. 2, which is a semi-finished products plant in Anderson. I came right out of Greenville Tech’s Engineering Graphics and Mechanical Engineering programs, and had the opportunity to interview with Michelin for a service technician maintenance role. I was told that the interview process with Michelin was challenging and educational and would be great for me to do, and even then I knew the reputation of them being a premium company, so to get my foot in the door was very important to me.
After being there a few years, I was able to take a mechanical engineering role at the facility.
I have a personal passion for riding motorcycles—I’ve been doing that since the age of 4—so I became aware of the motorcycle department, which is based out of our headquarters, so I inquired about that and in the late 1990s I took an opportunity there and moved to that department. Initially, it was a technical role.
Tell me some about the work that you do: Two Wheel refers to product lines for bicycles and motorcycles. Since I’ve been in the Two Wheel group, I’ve managed our off-road motorcycle racing (Supercross and Motocross), so I was able to combine my passion for having raced professionally and my technical background. I did that for five years, and in 2006, was given the opportunity to move into a sales role.
I was a key account manager for 10 years and worked with one of our distributors that purchase and resell our motorcycle tires, so I provided service to them, training for their staff and I worked with them on forecasts and supply of product.
In early 2016, I moved to a role in the marketing function in Two Wheel representing both motorcycle and bicycle.
I’m an avid cyclist, so anything with two wheels is so much fun to me – anytime I ride, it takes me back to that same thrill that I got riding the motorcycle I received for my 4th birthday.
What does a typical day of work look like?: My purpose in life is to help others, and through my roles that I’ve had within this Two Wheel group at Michelin, it has enabled me to help customers to understand and represent and sell our product.
Now in this marketing role, my days include working to give literature, talking points and information to our sales reps to help them do that.
It’s communication, a lot of communication via email and text message with coworkers, customers and clients.
In my current role, I travel maybe 30-40 nights a year. That’s always exciting because I get to have facetime with the consumers who purchase our products. Having the passion that I have for motorcycles and cycling is really cool because it resonates with the consumer, because I’m an enthusiast just as they are. I can speak that language, and we understand better what they’re looking for out of our products, and we can address the needs they have.
We recently had a mountain bike tire press launch in Santa Barbara, Calif., and we brought journalists there for the test launch, and over the next few days we brought customers there to ride on our products and to test what would later be commercially available. Through the years I’ve had opportunities to ride motorcycles with different sales reps, and spend time with them to develop and strengthen relationships through that common interest. It’s always something that’s been valuable to me.
What are the skills most important to your job?:
People skills are one of the key ones: connecting with someone, understanding one another, communicating well your viewpoint while understanding others’ positions and needs. That’s very critical to being successful in life.
In addition to that, I learned typing on a typewriter in 1981. For me, that skill set wasn’t one that I thought I would need – and I need it daily. Computer skills and efficiency with those computer skills are an integral part of my job as well.
What is your favorite thing about your job?: I’m truly blessed to be able to fuel my passion every day for fun while earning a good income with a company that has such a great reputation as Michelin.
A child tells you they want to follow in your footsteps when they grow up. What advice do you give them?: Learn everything you can, whether you think it applies to what you want to do in life or not. Knowledge is power, and there are so many things I’ve learned along the way that I would never have thought that I would need that I apply daily.
And pursue something that moves your spirit, that moves you internally, and focus on a career path that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Is your company engaged in the community?: I was United Way coordinator for the Two Wheel Division, and I was able to take our department on a tour of the Center for Development Services, as that’s one of the approved agencies that United Way can help. It was good for me to be able to give back in that regard.
We’ve also worked to collect food for food banks, sorting and preparing deliveries, to give our time back.
For more insights from Michelin employees, see: