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Ready to Serve: Veterans Bring Skills, Training to America’s Auto Dealerships

Published November 8, 2022

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Sheryll Poe

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With approximately 18.5 million veterans in the United States (7 percent of the civilian population), there are plenty of veterans who might consider a career in the automotive retail industry. And Ricart Automotive Group in Columbus, Ohio would welcome them with open arms.

The Ricart family has been huge supporters of America’s troops since 1953 when Paul F. Ricart bought a tiny Ford dealership in Canal Winchester to serve area residents and U.S. airmen stationed at the nearby Lockbourne Air Force Base.

Today, the 67-acre Mega Mall automotive campus co-owned and operated by Rhett Ricart and Fred Ricart, employs a number of military veterans, including Hope Coverdale, who works in human resources at Ricart Automotive.

Coverdale was active duty in the Marine Corp for five years until 2016. While working on her undergraduate degree, she needed a job that would work with her schedule. “I wasn’t necessarily looking for the automotive industry. It just fell in my lap and it was just a perfect fit for me at the time,” she said.

What she found was so much more than a part-time job – Coverdale found a career where she could put the skills she had learned in the military to good use. “The leadership qualities and people skills you gain in the military – you’re learning how to manage people, you’re learning how to talk to people, and manage a diverse pool of people—and I think it has helped me in my HR role and just being in a large dealership like this with over 700 people.”

Ricart Automotive Sales Trainer Jerome R. Richards served “20 years, 25 days and three seconds” in the U.S. Army before retiring. But retirement didn’t suit him, so he went to a job fair where he learned about Ricart Automotive.

Richards says his attention to detail and discipline—both of which he learned while in the military—translates perfectly to his new career. “The only thing about salespeople is: We do like to talk,” Richards said.

Brandon Wymer was an engineer and heavy equipment operator with the U.S. Army before hearing about Ricart Automotive from a family friend. Wymer started working in the car wash area 12 years ago, moving up through the service area until the Ricarts came to him with an interesting proposition – opening a hot rod shop.

Now, Wymer is a customs automotive technician at Rabid Customs, a division of the Ricart Automotive Group, which is located in the original Ricart Ford building in Canal Winchester. “I met my mentor at the hot rod shop and blew up from there. I’ve done everything in the hot rod shop from paint cars to body work…. Now I’m up front, talking with customers,” Wymer said.

In honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday, NADA would like to say “thank you” to the hundreds of dealerships across the country that recruit and hire veterans and members of our military, including Marine Chevrolet in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Penske Ford in La Mesa, Calif. and, of course, Ricart Automotive Group.

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