Interning with American Tire Distributors Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence

American Tire Distributors (ATD) is one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the replacement tire market. Through our rapid distribution network, with unrivaled sales specialists, an industry-leading digital platform, and robust data analytic capabilities, we’re connecting our customers to the road ahead.

We launched our Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence (AACoE) to disrupt and revolutionize the replacement tire industry through better usage of data and analytics. Our team of analytics experts are finding creative ways to leverage 80-years’ worth of data to its fullest extent. Through the application of artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, our AACoE is able to deliver award-winning platforms to drive business results.

 

\

Being one the largest independent supplier of tires to the replacement tire market, ATD isn’t typically a top employer that comes to mind (yet) to those studying computer science. Our AACoE is changing that, one algorithm at a time. Shreya is a senior computer science major at UNC Chapel Hill, has helped organize North Carolina’s largest hackathon, HackNC, and has recently completed a summer internship with our AACoE. We’re excited for Shreya to share her journey.

ATD’s Bill Williams, Chief Financial Officer and Ravishankar Sivasubramaniam, Senior Machine-Learning Solutions Architect present Shreya with a certificate on completing the ATD Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence internship program.

ATD’s Bill Williams, Chief Financial Officer and Ravishankar Sivasubramaniam, Senior Machine-Learning Solutions Architect present Shreya with a certificate on completing the ATD Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence internship program.

When I was searching for a summer internship, the last place I would have thought to intern with was a tire distribution company. But that’s exactly where I found myself this summer. When I was accepted into the internship program, I was excited, but nervous. The internship promised the ability to complete a project from development to deployment, but I thought this might be too good to be true. I was unsure if this promise would devolve into just basic data entry, which is every computer science intern’s worst nightmare.

When I arrived at ATD, I didn’t feel like an intern, I felt like a valued member of the analytics team. The first thing I noticed was that the AACoE operates like a cutting-edge startup in the valley, who is on the verge of the next great industry-revolutionizing platform. I was ecstatic to find out that the promise of being able to complete a project from development to deployment was very much real! I was handed a project that had the whole package and I couldn’t wait to get started. The project was to analyze the usage of internal tools across the company and build a dashboard that displayed various trends.

This dashboard was to be used across the business for various leaders. This wasn’t a sandbox project, but a project that impacted the way ATD did business. I was able to meet with the leaders who would be the end users of the dashboard I was responsible for deploying. This allowed me to truly understand the business, get a better idea of how the leaders were going to use the dashboard and allow me to implement an interactive user interface that would benefit ATD.

When developing the user interface, I learned how to make a lightweight web app with Python and Flask. I wrote SQL queries into their databases, experimented with data frames and Plot.ly’s syntax, in order to create charts and then brought the dashboard all together with some Jinja2 in the front end. I built a data pipeline that moved Google Cloud’s billing data to Cloud SQL. I added in charts that broke down what services the AACoE were paying for, contrasting with the charts of actual usage of internal tools built on those services.

 

Shreya presenting the final project to members of ATD

Shreya presenting the final project to members of ATD

After the dashboard was built, I had the opportunity to deploy and demo it to ATD’s Chief Financial Officer. I was very confident in my project because throughout my internship, I felt like I was contributing to something meaningful and was delivering a tool that would make an impact on the business. I was challenged, but every step of the project I learned something new. Seeing this project through from start to finish really gave me more confidence in my abilities. The members of the analytics team were actively invested in having me learn new skills and have something to show at the end of it. Being asked to build a simplified tutorial of my work really reinforced what I learned. To read my simplified tutorial, please visit my GitHub.

Looking back, I couldn’t be happier having been accepted to intern with ATD and their AACoE. I was able to learn how tires are manufactured when touring one of their vendor’s tire manufacturing plants and participated in other team building activities like going to the U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Center. The AACoE team is constantly learning from one another and frequent Lunch and Learns offered opportunities for everyone to gain insight from the expertise of others, including what I had cultivated during the internship when I had the opportunity to present. It was only natural that I learned so many technical and non-technical skills in an environment where people constantly communicate about what they’re working on and openly knowledge share. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of this team.

ATD’s Advanced Analytics team members at the Continental tire plant in Sumter, SC

We are grateful that Shreya interned with us. Thank you for helping us revolutionize the tire industry! If you are interested in learning more about internship and career opportunities with our Analytics Center of Excellence, please reach out to CoEHiring@ATD-US.com.