In a new episode of the “Inspiring Talks” series which can be seen on BKT digital TV, we get to meet in an interview the Vice President of the American operations.
A new episode in the “Inspiring Talks” series, the project on BKT digital TV – the BKT Network, in which episode by episode we get to know the faces and personalities of many of the key players in the Off-Highway tire Group.
Through an informal chat, in an unmistakably American style, today we will meet Doug Kershaw, Vice President of BKT USA.
He is a drummer at heart who can smell rubber a mile away. And, after 30 years in a number of multinationals, he makes the point that BKT USA is his best team ever.
Hi Doug, welcome to the BKT Network. Would you tell our viewers a bit about yourself?
Of course! My father was in the US Air Force, so I lived in California, Arizona, and most of my childhood in Alaska and Oregon.
I moved to Ohio in 1993 where I met my wife Carmen – we have just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! We have two boys – now married men … but no grandchildren yet! Also part of the family are our dog and cat who both moved with us to northeast Ohio when we joined the BKT family in January 2018.
Doug, when was the first time you came across tires? And what do you love about these black, round “objects”?
I have worked in the rubber products industry for over 30 years. From flexible tubing, to tracks, to tires. When I smell rubber, I smell business.
What type of manager do you think you are? Is your style of management more visionary, democratic or coaching-based?
It’s an interesting question. I don’t believe I fit only one of these profiles. I like to think and plan strategically while I work with a team, to come up with the best plan possible. I try to create a strategy and then to act as coach, in other words, to encourage and work together with my team to achieve a common goal.
Can you describe your typical working day for us, Doug? Do you have some ritual you start the day with?
My working day usually starts quite early. Obviously, the first data I look at are the sales figures for the previous day, the team’s activities, our customers, the market. When the rest of the team arrives, Minoo Mehta (President of BKT USA) and I connect up to analyze the various key issues we need to address.
With the pandemic, we started remote “BKT Coffee Breaks” to give each team member the chance to speak to the others. This lets Minoo and me communicate with the whole team.
We deliberately avoided a “rigid” agenda of points for discussion. We think that by doing it this way, the team is more willing to share anything that is new for them. Every day can be very different and this makes things exciting.
Are you a good listener?
I’d like to think so. I think that a good leader must listen and trust their team to identify and take the best path forward to grow and to be successful.
You’ve traveled in Europe for business, right? Where exactly and which countries do you like best?
I’ve been to a lot of places for work; all of Europe, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, India of course, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
I love Europe. What I like most about traveling is being able to visit outside the normal “touristy” areas. For me this is more important because you can get close to the “real” country and its people.
It’s hard to choose my favorite country. I must say Greece, which I’d like to go back to visit for longer, and Italy – Rome and Sardinia are certainly in my top 5. Australia too is fantastic, as was the experience of a sauna and jumping into the snow in Finland and also the trip to the Czech Republic.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I walk a lot with my wife and family. I also like music and sitting behind my drums and playing some favorite songs. I’m a big fan of Pink Floyd, Genesis and other progessive-rock groups.
Being a native English speaker you’ll be fine when traveling, but have you ever had any problems? Do you speak other languages?
Yes I do, when I worked for a French-Canadian company I had to travel a lot to Québec in Canada. I learned a lot of phrases to get by and I got to the point where I could even follow a conversation in French.
If you could be someone else, who would you like to be?
I’m a drummer, I dream of being able to play one day with Phil Collins of Genesis in a concert. That would be really fantastic.
And if you had a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to fly. I love how eagles soar in flight. I’d like to be able to fly like an eagle and enjoy the view from up there.
No question you’re a successful man. You’re positive, you’re a role model. But is there something you can’t do?
Well, I can be quite self-critical. While I can accept that people around me make mistakes in trying to achieve their goals, I’m much tougher on myself.
Are you a traditional TV watcher or do you prefer Netflix? What’s your favorite film?
I watch both TV and Netflix. I like films with some historic basis, but The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are among my favorites. What is your long-cherished dream?
Talking of flying … I’ve always wanted to take a trip on a combat jet breaking the sound barrier. There’s a combat jet called “Eagle.” It’s my favorite plane and I’d love to take a flight.
The final question is obligatory in all our “Inspiring Talks”: what is your greatest passion?
I have to say my family. My wife and I have been blessed with our children and their wives. I love being able to watch them grow and see them realize their dreams. But also the people I work with. To be honest, I think that our BKT USA team is the best team I’ve ever been part of.
So my passion is also seeing our team, and BKT, succeed in achieving its goals.
Here is the original episode in full: https://www.bkt-network.com/inspiring-talk-with-doug-kershaw-episode