Rick Reynolds, the 2018 Truck Dealer of the Year, recently spoke at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, sharing his personal story and leadership experiences with 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, Georgia. “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 his successes and failures as he moved through different departments within the business. He highlighed the strategy and execution of several acquisitions, as well as a recovery plan from the discontinuation of a major brand by an OEM.
Reynolds' 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.
“We talked about how we grew our business both organically and through acquisition and the market strategies involved in doing that successfully,” Reynolds said. “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, 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.