James E. “Jim” Bland, Vice President of TranSource Inc. in Greensboro, N.C. is one of five nominees for 2020 Truck Dealer of the Year – a national award that recognizes commercial-truck dealers for industry leadership, business performance and community service.
“I am tremendously thankful for my longstanding friendship with Jim and can think of no better recipient for this year’s ATD Truck Dealer of the Year award,” said Jon W. Pritchett, President and CEO of Nextran Truck Centers and the person responsible for Bland’s nomination. “Looking at Jim’s career, I see not only success in the past but also a tremendous investment in a prosperous future for the trucking industry, as well as any community that is lucky enough to have Jim as a member.”
Bland began his career in the trucking industry as a mechanic for Baker-Mayfield, an International Harvester Truck Dealership in Macon, Ga. in 1962. After serving active duty in the United States Army Reserves, he returned to work at the dealership working in both the service department and at Rebel Truck Rentals, the dealer-owned leasing company. By age 30, Bland had risen to branch manager for Georgia Mack Sales, where he worked for nine years and Jim became Vice President before being laid off during the economic recession in the early 1980s.
“Unfortunately, or fortunately, I became unemployed, which gave me the opportunity to take stock and look for opportunities,” Bland said. “My wife Gail and I vacillated back and forth trying to decide between taking a management position with another Mack dealership or pursuing our dream of owning our own business. We recognized that attempting to purchase our own business would literally put everything we had at risk. Ultimately, we decided to go for broke.”
The Blands formed Triad Mack Sales & Services and purchased the Winston-Salem branch of Mack Trucks, Inc. in 1982 and later moved the company to Kernersville, N.C. In its first 10 years, the company expanded into the Hickory and Raleigh markets and became authorized dealers for additional product lines, including Isuzu Trucks, Hino Trucks, Volvo Trucks and now the company is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. The additional product offerings and increased geographic footprint led the company to change its name to TranSource, Inc. in 2002, in order to better represent its true product offerings and additional markets.
Today, TranSource is a full-service medium and heavy duty commercial truck dealership group offering new and pre-owned truck sales, parts, service, leasing and rental, and contract maintenance at eight locations across the state. The company retailed and leased over 1,000 trucks in 2018.
“One thing that makes TranSource unique is our ability to provide a broad range of products and services consistently delivered across our market area,” Bland said. “TranSource operates satellite facilities near customer locations around the state and currently provides service in 75 counties in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. Our customers expect and receive the same level of service at all TranSource rooftops.”
Bland’s focus is on the future of both his industry and his community. He helped form the North Carolina Institute for Technical Education (NCITE) to revive diesel technician training programs at the state’s community colleges through donations, grants and countless hours of meetings with deans and instructors. “At the time there were 14 state community colleges, of which only four had viable diesel technician programs,” Bland said. “Now there are nine state technical colleges with successful diesel technology programs that offer diplomas with other community colleges offering certificate programs.”
In addition, TranSource, in conjunction with Mack Trucks and Volvo Truck, has donated engines, transmissions, differentials, electrical components and even trucks as training aides to community college programs such as Forsyth Tech, Guilford Tech and James Sprunt Tech.
Bland is also one of the founding members and the current president of the Kernersville Foundation, a community foundation started by a small group of local business people to raise funds and award grants for local nonprofit charities. As the 2019 Annual Campaign Chairman, Bland is responsible for raising funds, which allowed the Foundation to support 14 community organizations providing basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care and other assistance in emergency situations.
“As a charter member of the Kernersville Foundation, Inc., I have enjoyed seeing first-hand how the organization gives back to the community and it is very rewarding to know the Kernersville Foundation will continue giving well in the future because of the vision of the Foundation’s founding members,” Bland said.
The national Truck Dealer of the Year award is sponsored by ATD, Heavy Duty Trucking magazine and Procede Software.
The other nominees are Oscar Horton from Sun State International Trucks, LLC in Tampa, Fla., Thomas “Lance” Wilson from General Truck Sales & Service, Inc. in Memphis, Tenn., Tim Mitchell from Motor Truck Equipment Company/Kenworth of Pennsylvania in Carlisle, Pa., and Scott Pearson from Peterbilt of Atlanta in Jackson, Ga.
The nominees were selected by ATD board members and dealer association executives. Professors from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind., will evaluate the nominees based on dealership performance, industry leadership and community service.
The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, during the 57th annual ATD Show in Las Vegas, which runs concurrently with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show from Friday, Feb. 14, through Monday, Feb. 17.
ATD, a division of NADA, represents more than 1,800 heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships in the U.S.
For more information about the ATD Show, visit atdshow.org.