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The Power of Relationships: Family in the Fast Lane

November 14th, 2013 by

First in an occasional series on The Power of Relationships.  All stories

Everyone knows our batteries last a long time. You know what lasts longer? The relationships we build.

Whether it’s our 22-year racing relationship with Joe and J.D. Gibbs or relationships with Dealers, we believe in building on those ties.

Our founder John Searcy created Interstate Batteries on a foundation of strong relationships, and that legacy continues today.

In this ongoing series, we examine some of the relationships that continue to shape the Interstate Batteries brand.

Joe Gibbs in 1974 with a 5-year-old J.D. Gibbs, left, and 2-year-old Coy Gibbs. At the time, Joe was a running backs coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Joe Gibbs in 1974 with a 5-year-old J.D. Gibbs, left, and 2-year-old Coy Gibbs. At the time, Joe was a running backs coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Joe Gibbs Connection

Joe Gibbs – millions recognize him as the Washington Redskins head coach and the man behind NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

There are two people at Joe Gibbs Racing who know him by another name: Dad.

J.D. Gibbs was 23 years old and Coy was 20 when Joe made the jump from pro football to pro stock car racing. To make the jump, Joe was cold-calling sponsors, and one of his calls connected him to Interstate chairman – and future friend – Norm Miller.

J.D. Gibbs (left), Joe Gibbs (center), and Coy Gibbs.

J.D. Gibbs (left), Joe Gibbs (center), and Coy Gibbs.

“Our very first phone conversation, I don’t think I’ve ever had one like that. We must have talked for 45 minutes,” Joe said. In following meetings, Joe explained the scope: There were no drivers, no car shop and no cars. JGR, at the time, was just a dream – but one that Norm believed in.

Interstate became JGR’s founding sponsor in a gesture of faith – and business savvy. After all, many of the battery dealers Interstate had were (and still are) big fans of NASCAR and pro football.

Over the years, Joe and his sons learned the ins and outs of racing and how to run a family business. J.D. started out as a tire changer at JGR, and both brothers drove for the team. Today, J.D. is president of JGR while Coy owns and runs the motocross team, JGRMX.

J.D. has found several keys to running a family business, from using each family members’ gifts to purposeful communication. Communicating takes work, even if you’ve grown up in the business, J.D. said.

“Like any other business, success doesn’t happen by accident,” he said. “In addition, it’s important to make sure your children understand that just because it’s a family business doesn’t mean they are guaranteed a spot unless they work diligently, invest time and care for the business.”

Joe Gibbs and Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller.

Joe Gibbs and Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller.

Since 1992, JGR has run a car with the Interstate Batteries logo. The relationship goes beyond the paint scheme. When Interstate held an incentive program for its Route Sales Managers across the nation, JGR hosted the grand prize: a go-kart racing weekend with Team Interstate™ drivers.

And off the track, Joe and Norm’s friendship continues – whether they’re going on vacation together or working together in the I Am Second® ministry. And J.D. said that’s part of successful business, too.

“Finally, lots of prayer is always essential with any business.”

Posted in Battery Industry, Culture, Racing
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8 comments
Alan Winninger
Alan Winninger

This is two Angels doing his work one fan at a time... God Bless you both Norm and Joe

Alan Winninger
Alan Winninger

This is two Angels doing his work one fan at a time... God Bless you both Norm and Joe

Gayle Sherman
Gayle Sherman

Became a NASCAR fan when I saw you , Norm, and #18 IB car on a Christian tv show late late one night years ago. Bobby drove it then. Been a JGR fan ever since.

Gayle Sherman
Gayle Sherman

Became a NASCAR fan when I saw you , Norm, and #18 IB car on a Christian tv show late late one night years ago. Bobby drove it then. Been a JGR fan ever since.

Patti Neckar
Patti Neckar

Great pic of Joe and his family, what a great move he made moving to Nascar and teaming up with Interstate Batteries.....great story, thanks for sharing. Joe Gibbs Racing is my favorite team, including my favorite driver, Kyle Busch :)

Patti Neckar
Patti Neckar

Great pic of Joe and his family, what a great move he made moving to Nascar and teaming up with Interstate Batteries.....great story, thanks for sharing. Joe Gibbs Racing is my favorite team, including my favorite driver, Kyle Busch :)

About The Outrageously Dependable Blog

Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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