We Are Keystone

The Key to Our Success

Joseph Thomas

Inside Sales Representative - Dallas, TX
  • Feb 01,2016

Joseph Thomas, an automotive enthusiast, account manager and team leader at the Dallas, Texas call center and an active member of SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN), is well respected by his professional peers and admired by the community he serves for selfless acts of volunteerism.


Loud and Proud

Joseph Thomas has an appreciation for loud exhaust and revved engines, from the forceful bellow of a Cummins diesel to the smooth purr of a Mustang or the thunderous zoom of race cars in humming unison at the track. You can blame it on his roots… it’s in his blood.

Growing up in rural Texas, Thomas is passionate about fast cars and lifted trucks—a rite of passage in a small town. And while he has a notorious soft spot for Mustangs, he is knowledgeable about everything from speed and performance and truck accessories to motorcycle, four wheeler and side-by-side parts.

Broad experience in the aftermarket has contributed to Thomas’ extensive knowledge. “As an enthusiast, I know what enthusiasts are looking for. Various automotive jobs, years of experience and seeing the sale first hand has given me the advantage of perspective. It’s like the inside track of a customer’s next move in connection to accessorizing,” said Thomas.


Get Boosted

That perspective has become inherent, the kind of intuition and skill that distinguishes him as a leader on the sales floor and as a valuable member of BoostedGT Inc., a Texas-based racing team with regular appearances on Discovery Channel’s hit television show Street Outlaws.

“One of my best friends growing up had a race car we named BoostedGT. I fell in love with the scene and thought ‘I want to go fast, too.’” And so he did—Thomas served as part of the pit crew, spending every weekend at the track and living the excitement of winning Days of Thunder style:

• 2008 Chitown KOTS
• 2008 King of DFWstangs
• 2010 Outlaw Drag Radial Winner- Texas Raceway
• 2012 HTI Grudgefest

Today, with a growing family and active participation in his church community, Thomas has traded in the pit gear but remains involved in the long term success of BoostedGT Inc. as their Marketing Director. Rain or shine, the crew is at the track four days per week, doing what it does best at many large, no-prep events throughout the year. Thomas continues to satisfy a need for speed with a 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 featuring a 2” H&R lowering kit, FR 500 black machined wheels, BBK exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers. “I had oneyears ago and sold it. It was like ‘the one who got away’ and I spent quite some time trying to track it down until I came across this one, nearly a duplicate. I had to have it,” said Thomas.


A Leader on the Sales Floor and in the Community

Many people talk the talk, yet very few can walk it.Thomas’ enthusiast past time activities in combination with professional experience in automotive inventory purchasing, wholesale distribution and direct-to-consumersales makes him a well-rounded teammate at Keystone. Respected, organized, detail oriented and approachable, Thomas is the kind of employee who puts his customers first and leads the sales force by example.

“What’s it going to take to get it done? How can I get my stuff completed and help my teammates? How can we get to the next level together? How can I overcome a challenge and make it an opportunity?” said Thomas. “One of the greatest aspects of working at Keystone is the culture of commitment and integrity, from the front to the back of the house, and a huge team effort in everything we do,”he continued. “An entire group of people, from all areas of the company, are willing to jump in and do what needs to be done at any given time. Customers benefit from multiple eyes driving their account to success [day in and day out].”

It speaks volumes when an employee is willing to ask the hard questions and demand excellence not only of himself, but also the team that surrounds him. Thomas is a born competitor and the kind of leader whose strong values help him rise to the occasion and persevere no matter the circumstance—the kind of teammate you want on the track, on the sales floor and in the community.

He pours that same devotion into his family of three and church congregation. He and his wife, Piper, not only visit the nursing home and prepare residents’ meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also sponsor a family for holiday gifts and help provide hot meals to the homeless and local vets.

Thomas is a model of leadership and commitment, both to Keystone and the community he serves. His impressive workplace performance and commendable volunteerism have earned him the genuine respect of his peers and customers across the industry. Keystone is fortunate to have Thomas as part of its family.


Recent Profiles

Gary Churchill

Gary Churchill, a longtime speed and performance enthusiast, industry veteran and Keystone inside sales associate at the Greensboro, North Carolina call center, is one who lives the company values both as an employee and humanitarian.

College: NC State, BA English
Favorite Athletic Team: GO NC WOLFPACK!
Favorite Car: 1965 Shelby GT350
Favorite Truck: 1953-56 Ford F100

A Need for Speed

From the time Gary was small, he expressed a fascination for anything motorized and was eager to understand how things worked. “I was always attracted to cars, trucks, boats. You name it and I wanted to be hands on with it even if I couldn’t repair what I had taken apart,” he joked. This fascination morphed into his livelihood, as Gary spent 25 years at Carolina Mustang where he continued to sharpen his product knowledge and hone his professional skillsets.

Churchill’s attention to detail, relationship building and customer service are just a few of the qualities that distinguish him as a standout sales associate at Keystone. Having worked on both sides of the counter, he has a unique industry perspective and personal appreciation for the jobber business model.

“I want to know everything about my customers: the shop specialty, location and employee names, as well as how they market themselves, what their storefronts and showrooms look like and what we can do to help diversify their business opportunities,” said Churchill. “I want to be the face of Keystone to my customers, for them to know I’ll ask the right questions and go the extra mile to help them be as successful as they can be.”

Community Service

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Churchill is worthy of both. His professional experience certainly is noteworthy, but it’s his unwavering commitment to volunteerism that is nothing short of awe inspiring to read.

Churchill and his family participate in the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) through their local church. ASP is a non-profit organization that has provided assistance to severely poverty-stricken families located in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for the past 40 years. In the counties they serve, poverty is nearly double the national average. Almost half of the families have an annual household income below $20,000 and reside in substandard home conditions that are barely livable. Churchill and his 21-year-old daughter, Christina, have taken part in eight consecutive summer youth programs that gather numerous teams of two adults and 6-7 teenagers, each with a family to help and a home to repair.

“There are too many people [in the United States] that the federal government is unable to reach and help. That’s where ASP comes in. We repair more homes than any other agency servicing the area. Common projects include the replacement of rotted floors and roofs, the repair or addition of handicap ramps and porches and ensuring there are at least two safe entrance or exit areas in the home in case of an emergency,” said Churchill. The humanitarianism doesn’t end after a week of home repair. Churchill and his fellow volunteers continue to organize food, toy, school supply and book drives to help these families throughout the year, sometimes driving upwards of 10 hours just to drop off a trailer of donations.

Churchill discussed the huge impact this organization has on all those involved. Families in desperate need of home repair receive a helping hand and volunteers, especially the youth, are reminded to practice humility and count their blessings because many of our American neighbors are forced to live in extremely challenging situations every day. To date, Churchill has completed 13 mission projects and counting, eight with the ASP organization alone.

Churchill has proven time and time again how far leadership, commitment and a little elbow grease can take you in life. His excellent workplace performance, commendable level of personal and professional integrity, as well as admirable humanitarian efforts have earned him the genuine respect of his peers, customers across the industry and the communities he serves. Keystone is fortunate to have Churchill as part of its family.


Nelson Moniz

Nelson Moniz, a veteran sales account manager and lifelong automotive enthusiast, is based out of the Toronto, Canada call center. Knowledgeable about a variety of markets within the industry, he enjoys serving as a mentor to fellow teammates and connecting with jobbers both personally and professionally. “I’m a car guy -- always have been and always will be.”

Not many people can say they’ve been in the biz for 25 years by their mid 40’s. Moniz, who feels fortunate to be part of such an ever-growing and dynamic industry, expressed a sense of nostalgia as he talked about a long career in the automotive aftermarket and how it all began.

“I always enjoyed using my hands and began working on cars before I ever had a license.… started a lot of projects and didn’t finish them all [but the fun-factor was there nonetheless],” said Moniz. Primarily self taught, Moniz caught on fast and progressed even faster, yet he was pursuing another career. “I wanted to be an electrician. During high school my teacher retired and the school decided not to continue the program, so I had to make a decision: leave the school to continue on the electrical path or go with auto mechanics and stay put,” explained Moniz.

Customers First

While a career in the automotive industry was born out of practicality, there’s no doubt nitrous oxide runs through his veins.

Moniz has been intimately involved with auto parts throughout his career, from the warehouse and retail to wholesale and leadership, sharing extensive insight with industry professionals by day, using it to tear apart motorcycles and build cars in the evening and relishing in the excitement of drag racing on the weekends.

This industry is built on relationships. To Moniz, he has as much to learn as he does to teach. Communicating with customers not just as a sales associate, but also as a fellow enthusiast only deepens the bond. “I keep up on industry news and events; read about new brands, products and trends; attend shows like SEMA, the Keystone BIG Shows and PRI and then connect with my customers,” said Moniz. “I try to help them avoid tunnel vision [in an effort to diversify and grow].”

Lead From Where You Are

Every day employees are tasked to lead by example from where they sit. It’s not about the corner office and the golden name plate; it’s about coming to work each day and being passionate about one’s individual purpose. As a go-to guy on the sales floor, Moniz understands the value of remaining accessible to teammates, lending a helping hand with other accounts and devoting his time and talents to fostering customer relationships.

“I’m a car guy -- always have been and always will be.”

Eric Fairchild

Eric Fairchild, a highly respected industry veteran of 19 years and Director of Northeast Sales and US Customer Support at the Exeter, Pennsylvania call center exemplifies Keystone’s values not only as an employee, but also through his tireless community efforts and volunteerism.

College: Pennsylvania State University, BA Communications
Favorite Athletic Team: PSU football and Red Sox baseball
Favorite Car: 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback - driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt
Favorite Quote: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Yogi Berra

Lead with Passion

The automotive industry has remained at the forefront of innovation, design and engineering since the inception of Henry Ford’s first Model T in the early 1900s. From groundbreaking Hybrid and aluminum body vehicle models to advanced technology features and impressive horsepower, the industry is consistently reinventing itself to meet consumer and economic demand. There’s no denying the great impact of the automotive industry and its aftermarket on the global economy. “I find the industry and those in it to be fascinating. There aren’t many industries like ours. I appreciate the impact it has on our overall economy and the enthusiasm of those who are part of it,” said Fairchild.

Fairchild chooses to lead with passion, the same passion that is at the foundation of our industry’s remarkable beginning. During his tenure at Keystone, Fairchild has interacted with the jobber community in many capacities including, but not limited to, a Customer Support Agent and Sales Associate; team building, process improvement and Account Development Leader; as well as Regional Sales Manager and Director of Northeast Sales and US Customer Support. Despite his mounting industry experience and respect among fellow automotive professionals, Fairchild never forgot his humble beginnings at Keystone. He believes that in order to succeed as a strong leader, one must listen more than talk and trust the skill sets of supporting team members.

“I hold my teammates in the highest esteem. At one time, I worked side-by-side with those I now manage. Many of them, like Freddie Solano, Tim Space, Kathye Miller and Tom Sabetta, have been in the industry for decades,” said Fairchild. “I may be in charge of team growth, strategy and final decision making, but I value my teammates’ years of knowledge, customer relationships, instinct and collective voice to help us achieve great things together. Excellence can be achieved with great people, and we sure have them.”

The value Fairchild places on teamwork enables him to lead with passion. “[It’s sad] but in today’s day and age, we spend more time with our work family than actual family. But I couldn’t pick better people to spend the majority of my day with. My kids have grown up with these people – they’re more than workplace professionals. They’re friends... they’re like family,” said Fairchild. “There’s an outpouring of love, trust, affection and appreciation - you can’t put a value on that.”

Plan, Persist and Persevere

As challenging as it can be for someone new to gain a firm understanding of such an intricate and ever-evolving industry, a fresh perspective is exactly the kind of inquisitive objectivity needed to push the boundaries and achieve even greater success. “When I first started in this industry, I couldn’t even change a spark plug,” said Fairchild. “[Fast forward] 19 years later and I’ve come full circle, going from new guy to experienced guy. I can’t tell you at exactly what point it happened, but it eventually does,” he laughed.

The following words of wisdom are true no matter your company or position, whether you’re a store manager, technician, salesperson or marketing associate. “We work in a complex, challenging industry. It’s a tough environment. My advice is to be patient with acquiring the necessary knowledge, make a plan, stay focused on those things that will truly move the needle and uphold integrity in all that you do,” said Fairchild. Those who plan and persist will persevere.

Making a Difference, at Work and in the Community

They say it’s what you do off the field that ultimately defines you but in the case of Fairchild, serving as an athletic coach to his daughters and their teammates is a fulfilling, inspiring joy like no other. His workplace leadership, acute attention to detail and unwavering belief in the power of teamwork makes him an ideal role model at home and on the field.

“I participate in three leagues, two recreational and one travel. The standing joke around the office is ‘What team are you off to coach tonight.’ Depending upon the time of year, I have practice, a game or both every day,” said Fairchild. “But I love it and I’m fortunate to work for a company that values family as a priority, which allows me to be so involved and spend this quality time with my girls.”

Fairchild mentioned how inspiring it is to work with kids and doesn’t take the mentorship role lightly. Their eagerness to learn and succeed is contagious. “They truly appreciate all the time you spend with them and they’re so honest,” he laughed. “Kids are upfront and matter of fact. I admire their transparency. There’s no better feeling than when I hear ‘Hey coach!’ from a kid I haven’t seen in years. The [positive] impact we have as coaches is exactly why I do it,” said Fairchild.

Fairchild is a model of leadership, commitment and integrity, both to Keystone and the community he serves. His excellent workplace performance and commendable volunteerism have earned him the genuine respect of his peers and customers across the industry. Keystone is fortunate to have Fairchild as part of its family.


Rebecca Tanner

Rebecca Tanner, our Corporate Training Leader, recently celebrated her 20 year anniversary with Keystone. Although she doesn’t consider herself a product enthusiast, she is a customer enthusiast! Rebecca appreciates our customers’ passion and enthusiasm for their industry. Over the last several years, Rebecca has focused on employee training to drive consistently high quality experiences for our customers, whether that contact is over the phone, with a member of our Customer Care team or on our B2B customer site, ekeystone.com.

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people grow and succeed, customers and employees. That is what keeps Rebecca coming to work every day. “We are blessed to have such a rich history and culture at Keystone and yet, we also embrace new opportunities. We constantly strive to find new suppliers, products and services to our customers as well as providing growth opportunities for our employees.”

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