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John Nichols is One of Six Nominees for 2019 Truck Dealer of the Year

Published December 31, 2018


Charles Cyrill

TYSONS, Va. – John Nichols, CEO of Palmer Trucks in Indianapolis, is one of six nominees for 2019 Truck Dealer of the Year. The national award recognizes commercial truck dealers for industry leadership, business performance and community service.

“To be recognized alongside numerous peers who I admire is a great honor for me, my family and the dealership team,” said Nichols. “I want to thank everyone involved for being part of the nomination process.”

Nichols career in the commercial truck industry began in 1985 working as a used truck consultant followed by sales manager at several dealerships. Over the following years, he climbed the sales ranks becoming president of Kenworth of Indianapolis and Kenworth of Cincinnati in 2001. Nichols became CEO of new newly-merged company in 2012.

“Over the past 30 years, I have seen a lot of enjoyable and challenging times for the industry,” he added. “I am honored to see my two sons continue as the third generation of leadership for the Palmer Trucks business.”

Today, Palmer Trucks includes 10 Kenworth dealership and service and parts facilities in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois with more than 600 employees.

“The industry is cut throat with narrow margins and the struggle for retention of talent. I am loyal to my customers, employees and suppliers, and I take my personal reputation as well as the fulfillment of obligations very seriously,” Nichols said. “I am open to new opportunities and apply calculated risk to help set the path for new technology in both product and business operations.”

Over the past 30 years, Nichols has financially supported the Community Caring and Sharing Center located in the impoverished neighborhood of Mars Hill, where its dealership in Indianapolis is located. The organization provides GED classes, a food pantry, reading and youth programs.

“Local neighborhood involvement means the most to me. Even in times of prosperity the needs of families dealing with poverty is still there,” he said. “Our organization rallies around this effort with employee support as well. Ultimately, taking care of both employees and neighbors, especially in their time of need, is the legacy I hope to leave.”

The national Truck Dealer of the Year award is sponsored by the American Truck Dealers (ATD), Heavy Duty Trucking magazine and Procede Software.

The other nominees are David Kriete from Kriete Truck Centers in Milwaukee, Wis.; Kim Mesfin from Affinity Truck Center in Fresno, Calif.; Terry Minor from Cumberland International Trucks in Nashville, Tenn.; Harry Moyer from Lowe and Moyer Garage in Fogelsville, Pa.; and Trey Mytty from Truck Center Companies in Omaha, Neb.

The nominees were selected by ATD board members and dealer association executives. Professors from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind., will evaluate the nominees based on dealership performance, industry leadership and community service.

The winner and runner-up will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, during the 56th annual ATD Show in San Francisco, which runs concurrently with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show from Thursday, Jan. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 27.

ATD, a division of NADA, represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships in the U.S.

For more information about the ATD Show, visit

This is the final article in a six-part series featuring each nominee for 2019 Truck Dealer of the Year.