Our Summer Series on the People of RoadVantage would not be complete without a look at some the amazing talent that has helped make RoadVantage the company it is today. Our first Employee Spotlight is our Senior Vice President, Reese Hillard.
Reese is a third-generation “car guy.” His grandfather started selling used cars in the 1930s, and the family business evolved when first his father, and then Reese himself joined the organization. While he started working on the lots at age 14, Reese eventually grew to be the president and general manager of the Hillard Auto Group, which included Ford, Mazda, Buick, Suzuki, Lexus, Saturn, Kia and Chevrolet dealerships. In addition to owning and operating that group, Reese also sat on numerous boards in the automotive industry, including NADA, the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, Saturn’s National Dealer Council and the National Advertising Board.
At their height, the Hillard Auto Group employed as many as 570 people across the organization, but when he lost his grandfather and father in back-to-back years, Reese made the decision to sell the group to AutoNation, a Fortune 100 company.
Reese wasn’t ready to get out of the dealership space just yet, however, so he continued to operate Saturn and Chevrolet franchise until Saturn’s decline made him decide it was a good time to sell and take some time to reconnect with his family.
“When we were blowing and going with 13 franchises, I was traveling upwards of 250 days a year,” Reese said. “So it was a little hard on the family side of my life. That’s when I decided to simplify everything, sell the stores and concentrate on other things.”
Taking Advantage of Opportunity
After a year of focusing on investments and buildings in the Texas market, a new opportunity arose. “I had done business with Garret for 30 years,” Reese said of RoadVantage CEO Garret Lacour. “He sold his previous company shortly after I sold my last store. When Garret started RoadVantage, we met up — he was seeking someone to oversee the logistical side of the business, and I was ready to sink my teeth into something again. And here we are.”
Reese not only made the decision to invest his time and talent into the company, he also contributed on the financial side as well, becoming an investor in RoadVantage. Reese is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, overseeing the office and human resources for the company, as well as spending time sharing the RoadVantage story with potential new clients. And as if that weren’t enough, he also cooks a mean BBQ, regularly serving up brisket, pork loin and other treats for RoadVantage employees during the work week.
“I’ve always enjoyed the auto business,” he said. “And RoadVantage has been a great opportunity to expand my relationships throughout the country. I’ve always been a builder — whether it’s companies or infrastructure, buildings, what have you — I get great satisfaction in building. And not just places, but building people and making people successful, mentoring them. I thoroughly enjoy watching our team grow.”
Reese noted he is most proud of the culture we are building at RoadVantage. “My philosophy is, there are no degrees of integrity — either you have it or you don’t. I love building a company based on great integrity.” RoadVantage, he said, takes that philosophy to heart in all parts of the business. For example, he says, look at RoadVantage’s approach to paying claims. Unlike some companies who look for reasons not to pay, he appreciates that RoadVantage, from the start, took the opposite approach – looking for ways to truly help the customer. And that mindset is something he sees himself continuing to help nurture and grow for many years to come.
Reese is a living example of how everyone at RoadVantage, from the executive suite on down, has come in with a goal of making a difference – and as a result, evolving the way F&I is perceived, by everyone from the providers to the dealers to the consumers.
“We will continue to conduct business in the same way we’ve built the culture — across all departments we answer the phones, provide great customer service, deliver what we promise, do the right thing. That is how you sell more products, and then it all works out in the end – for us and the customers we serve.”
This post was written by: Garret Lacour, CEO RoadVantage
Published: August 1, 2016
Original Source: http://roadvantage.com/2016/08/01/employee-spotlight-reese-hillard