T.J. Willings, president of Volvo and GMC Trucks of Birmingham, AL, and Gerry Wardle, president of Gerry's Truck Center in London, Ontario, have been named U.S. and Canadian dealers of the year by Volvo Trucks North America.
Volvo's Dealer of the Year award recognizes U.S. and Canadian dealers that have achieved the highest score. Volvo first measures the overall financial performance of the dealers in its network. Next, each dealer's investment in their business in terms of people, facilities, training and expansions is evaluated. It includes a review of their achievements in customer satisfaction and overall support of the franchise.
"Today's savvy, sophisticated customers require more than world-class products," said Marc F. Gustafson, Volvo Trucks North America president and CEO. "They expect an ever-expanding menu of services and support."
Willings has worked in the trucking industry all his professional life. His father had owned the Detroit Diesel Allison distributorship in Alabama, and over the years Volvo had become one of its best customers. When Volvo sold its Birmingham factory-owned store, Willings became the new owner of Volvo and GMC Trucks of Birmingham.
Since purchasing the store in 1994, Willings has grown the dealership from 38 to 65 employees and more than doubled its customer base. With growth came the need for more space, and on March 1 the dealership moved to a brand-new, 46,000-square-foot facility on 14 acres equipped with 16 service bays, eight body shop bays, a 10,000-square-foot parts center and a new state-of-the-art paint facility.
Gerry and Sue Wardle and their three sons, Mike, Doug and Barry, operate Gerry's Truck Centre in London, Ontario. Owners since 1981, they have held the Volvo franchise since 1990. Gerry Wardle, dealership president, and Sue Wardle, secretary and treasurer, were not only presented with the Canadian Dealer of the Year award, but were also awarded Volvo Trucks Canada's Parts Performance Award for 1998.