BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Rick Reynolds, the 2018 Truck Dealer of the Year, was invited to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to share his personal story and leadership experiences with both graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in entrepreneurship classes.
“It was a privilege to share my experiences with these young students who are already walking into the world of starting up and owning their own businesses,” said Reynolds, president of Peach State Truck Centers in Norcross, Ga. “As an entrepreneur, there are certain challenges for which you can develop a plan to properly manage the situation, however, at the same time you have to be ready for those challenges you are not planning for.”
Reynolds shared with the students the successes and failures he experienced as he moved through different departments within the business. Additionally, he shared his strategy and execution plans of several acquisitions as well as a recovery plan from the discontinuation of a major brand by an OEM. Other topics of discussion included brand strategy management and talent management.
Reynolds, whose dealership group includes 11 sales, service and parts facilities with 600 employees in Georgia and Alabama representing Freightliner Trucks, Western Star, Ford Commercial Trucks, Mitsubishi Fuso, Sprinter Vans, Thomas Built Buses and Autocar, also discussed how he made the transition from previous careers in public accounting and commercial real estate into the truck-dealership industry and into a family business.
“We talked about how we grew our business both organically and through acquisition and the market strategies involved in doing that successfully,” Reynolds added. “As a business leader, there's a broad range of issues to handle. This resonated with some of the students as they looked at their own careers.”
The guest lecture appearance is part of the annual Truck Dealer of the Year awards program, which requires the winner to speak to the students. Business professors from Indiana University have judged the program for more than 20 years.
“There’s so much opportunity in the marketplace today, and there’s a lot of money on the sidelines ready to invest in those opportunities,” he told the students. “Be open minded and pursue those opportunities.”
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 2019 award will be presented during the ATD Show in San Francisco in January. ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships in the U.S.