By Charles Cyrill, ATD/NADA Director of Media and Public Relations

VIENNA, Va. – In keynote remarks to the American Truck Dealers (ATD) Academy Class 038, Rick Reynolds told the graduates to “do the little things that will make big things happen.”

“This is a philosophy espoused by the late, great college basketball coach John Wooden,” said Reynolds, 2018 Truck Dealer of the Year and president of Peach State Truck Centers in Norcross, Ga., in remarks at the graduation ceremony on Aug. 24, 2018. “High performance and production are achieved only through the identification and perfection of small but relevant details. Little things done well.”

Reynolds, whose son Burke was a member of the graduating class, challenged the graduates to continue to make investments in their customers, employees and themselves.

“Our business is and will always be a relationship business,” added Reynolds, whose dealership group includes 11 sales and service and parts facilities in Georgia and Alabama with 600 employees representing Freightliner Trucks, Western Star, Ford Commercial Trucks, Mitsubishi Fuso, Sprinter Vans, Thomas Built Buses and Autocar. “Continuing to invest in your customers, employees and yourself by doing the little things well will lead to great success in the future.”

Aaron Matthews, chief financial officer of Matthew Motors (Isuzu and Hino trucks) in Augusta, Ga., was elected class president by his peers in Oct. 2017. He was one of 15 graduates from the U.S. and Canada in the class.

“The past 11 months have been insightful, motivating and rewarding,” said Matthews, a certified public accountant. “There’s a lot I still don’t know about running a dealership. From fixed ops to truck sales, I saw how little I knew but how much I had to gain from the classes. Even though we consider ourselves to be professionals with varying levels of experience at our dealerships we all took away something from each week of classes.”

The ATD Academy program includes six, one-week classroom sessions over the course of a year, which includes financial management, fixed ops (parts), fixed ops (service), variable ops (pre-owned vehicles), variable ops (new vehicles) and business leadership.

The classes are combined with the students’ hands-on application in each department at their respective dealerships. As part of the curriculum, the students also attended a policy briefing at ATD’s legislative office and toured Capitol Hill.

“This class has been a great investment and hopefully everyone here will get to benefit from that investment at some point in their future,” Matthews added. “In addition to the knowledge we gained from the topics discussed in class, we also built relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Reynolds was named Truck Dealer of the Year at the ATD Show last March. The national award, sponsored by ATD, Heavy Duty Trucking and Procede Software, recognizes commercial-truck dealers for business performance, industry and civic leadership and community service.

ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, represents more than 1,800 medium- and heavy-duty commercial truck dealerships.

For more information about the ATD Academy, visit www.nada.org/academy, email academy@nada.org or call 800.557.6232.

Posted by NADA

National Automobile Dealers Association