2022 ATD Truck Dealer of the Year Kari Rihm was welcomed as a guest lecturer at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to share her professional journey with business students interested in entrepreneurship.
“Having the opportunity to share my experience with students at Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business was enlightening,” shared Rihm.
During the lecture, Rihm, president and CEO of Rihm Family Companies, Inc. in South St. Paul, Minn. shared her story of becoming a heavy-duty truck dealer. Rihm discussed with the students how to create a business strategy to define core values, core focus, and establish a ten-year target goal. She also emphasized the importance of role models and mentors in career development.
“I was so pleased that the students showed interest in both the operational and managerial aspects of commercial truck retail,” Rihm added. “My hope is to spur student interest in a career in a truck dealership, including the female students in the room who can also thrive in the commercial truck industry.”
Rihm took the helm of Rihm Kenworth, one of the oldest and largest Kenworth dealers in the United States, in 2010 and has increased total dealership sales by 248 percent and total dealership profits by 1,214 percent. Today, Rihm Kenworth has 274 employees across seven full-service sales, service, and parts facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in addition to leasing and rental subsidiaries, a body shop, a private label parts business and a truck parts export business.
The guest lecture appearance is part of the Truck Dealer of the Year awards program, which provides the opportunity for the winner to share their professional story with students. Business professors from Indiana University have judged the program for more than 20 years.
The national award – sponsored by the American Truck Dealers (ATD), Heavy Duty Trucking magazine, and Procede Software – recognizes commercial-truck dealers for business performance, industry leadership, and community service. The next Truck Dealer of the Year will be announced in Las Vegas in January 2024. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships in the U.S.