Kal Tire chairman Ken Finch, left, and president Robert Foord.
We had these conversations about moving to where our business was, says Kal Tire chairman Ken Finch.
Theyre humorous in retrospect.
There wasnt anybody willing to move out of Vernon.
And that reluctance wasnt entirely based on Vernons appealing outdoors lifestyle.
Finch, who is Tom Foords son-in-law, says having a head office in a large city often cuts off a company from its customers.
After all, how many head offices along Vancouvers Burrard Street keep themselves grounded by having a tire store in front of them, as Kal Tire
does in Vernon?
With a next-door presence like that, a company is always reminded why its in business.
There are huge distractions in the city, Finch
says the need to seize opportunities for growth sometimes causes the company to grow faster than it should.
But its always conscious of the need to catch up with itself and nurture the culture of customer service in its new operations, he
Thats way more important than putting pins on a map, Finch
Those aircraft are in use almost every day hauling people around, Finch
Aircraft are expensive but they allow us to be very productive with our time and they allow us to stay in Vernon.
Running a tire empire from Vernon does have disadvantages.
Coaxing people to leave big cities to fill senior staff positions and information technology jobs can be challenging, Finch
But the Okanagans beauty is a ¬compelling recruiting tool, he
It also gave him the ability to bring in good people who were looking for a form of ownership to get rewards from the growth of the company, Finch
When Tom Foord retired as president and CEO of Kal Tire, the leadership transition to his son-in-law, Ken Finch, went so smoothly there was scarcely a ripple, Bentall says.
Similarly, the transition from Ken
to Toms son, Robert, was accomplished without acrimony.
Finch, now chairman, refers to a Kal Tire employment policy applying to all positions that stipulates a job goes to the best-equipped person.
Only if the qualifications of applicants are equal does a family member get the nod, Finch