Shawn Coyle figured out very early in his career that he wouldn't be satisfied with a conventional desk job.
Coyle, 39, is vice president of retail network solutions sales for North America at MSX International -- a job that has put him in charge of a customer portfolio worth $100 million. Much of that revenue stems from Ford Motor Co.
Since he joined MSX in 2013, Coyle has helped Ford develop programs for its Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers. The job requires Coyle to make frequent overseas trips to help Ford standardize its dealerships' customer service in other regions.
"I corralled our teams from Europe, Asia and the Middle East to look at our customers' programs and take knowledge from one region and share it with the others," Coyle said.
Coyle got into the auto industry by accident. As a student at Michigan State University, he was intrigued by the entertainment business and was offered internships at "Hard Copy" and "Entertainment Tonight."
As an afterthought, he also sent a resume to Cadillac and accepted an internship to work with dealerships out of a Cadillac zone office.
"When I went out on sales calls to dealerships, I was excited by the frantic pace," Coyle recalled. On any given day, a store's managers were juggling car-buying negotiations, service appointments, complaints and inquiries.
Coyle was hooked. After he got his bachelor's degree in marketing from Michigan State in 1997, he got a job at Ford as a customer service representative, then a zone manager.
After working his way up Ford's management ladder, he joined Penske Automotive Group in 2008 as senior vice president of manufacturer relations. From there, he went to MSX in 2013.
His job requires him to make six or seven overseas trips a year. It also requires frequent trips to dealerships -- a task that he enjoys. Says Coyle: "I can't work at a desk eight or nine hours a day."
-- David Sedgwick