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Champion in Life

“Every one of them came from humble origins or been humbled by the ravages of the hard times in which they had grown up. Each in his own way…had learned that nothing can be taken for granted in life, that for all of their strength and good looks and youth, forces were at work in the world which were greater than they. The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility-the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole-and humility was the common gateway through which they were now able to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.”

Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat

 

I am reading the Daniel James Brown book called The Boys in the Boat, the true story of the rowing team who competed for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Like most people, I didn’t realize how physically grueling the sport could be, and what levels of stamina and teamwork are required. The reason this particular story is so compelling is that the central character, Joe Rantz, endured the kind of hardships no young person should have to endure, and how those struggles are what made him a successful athlete.

 

That quiet, strong resolve in the aftermath of adversity made me think of my co-worker at Jim Hudson Lexus, John Lockhart. For the past 2 years since he joined our team, I’ve been curious about this tall, slender man with a bright smile and outgoing personality. Every time our paths crossed, he always made a point to speak, greeting me in the most warm and sincere manner imaginable. I have never seen him grumpy or angry; I’ve never once heard him complain or gossip. I sensed that there was a story behind the enthusiastic demeanor, one which hinted at hardships in his past. I was right.

 

Yesterday I decided to go visit him and do an impromptu interview while he was working in his tint booth, where he was at work on a new Lexus RX350. It is neat to watch him in action, where it is evident that his excellence in craftsmanship is a result of a meticulous nature, a structured process and 12 years of experience. I started with the easy questions, getting him to tell me what he likes about working here. He said that he appreciates the fact that everyone on the team is important, no matter what their role might be. He has been impressed by the kindness of the people, saying that he has never felt as valued at other jobs as he has been here.

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Craftsman at Work

 

It is just like someone who is so kind to notice kindness in his co-workers. As is often the case with good people, they attract what they project. One could never be anything but exceptionally nice to someone like John, who lights up a room with his genuine love for others. I came right out and asked him his secret, as if there would be some magic formula he could share which would make me happier in my own life. “How are you able to be so friendly and upbeat all of the time?” I told him I had never met anyone in my 51 years who exhibits as much joy as he does. As I expected, he said that in general, he had always been outgoing and laid back, but after a particularly dark period in his life, from 2006-2010, he emerged on the other side of that struggle with an outlook of gratitude and helpfulness. “No matter what,” he explained, “you have to know how you can inspire others. They do not want to hear about anything that is not positive. I strive to go overboard when I help people. I have a passion for  progressing in life, for education, for growth.”

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That smile is a blessing to us

 

His passion for education has resulted in a Masters degree in organizational leadership, which he received last month. He aspires to become a teacher, ideally with an online college which would allow him to continue his tinting work with the dealership during the day. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his wife Latasha and dog Champ, going to the movies and watching sports, especially the Atlanta teams (Falcons and Braves). His large family is from Waynesboro and Louisville, but all of his 6 siblings live in the area.

 

If the measures of a successful life include such accomplishments as knowledge, happiness, family, overcoming adversity and inspiring others, then our 34-year old Lexus tinting specialist is one truly successful young man. And he is only just begun. Keep a close eye on this one, my friends, as I see continued awesomeness in his future. Like the humble athlete who became an Olympic champion, John Lockhart has learned that perseverance and the right outlook will take you as far as you want to go. We are blessed to have him on our team, and we are inspired by his approach to life every day.

A Detail Genius

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Meet Chester Butler, Detailer Extraordinaire

Chester and I like to talk about Prince. Shortly after the unexpected passing of the music legend, I learned that Chester is a fan and bought him a Prince biography. As Chester reads the book he tells me about it, fascinated by the man who endured painful trials in his life and still produced so many amazing songs. We enjoy talking about it when we periodically drive back and forth between our two dealership locations, delivering cars.

I first heard the term “musical genius” in association with Prince back in the 90’s, when a music-savvy friend of mine declared that no matter what you thought about the songs, there is no questioning the talent. I tend to agree. Genius is defined as exceptional ability, gifted, clever. When I think of that word, I cannot help but associate it with Chester himself, in his role with us at the dealership.

When any of us need a car detailed to absolute perfection, Chester is the man we seek. His nature does not allow him to turn in a vehicle which is not showroom immaculate. He will not be rushed, he will not skip steps, he will not compromise. It is a part of who he is as a person. His personal Lexus is a testament to his high standards, and  there is not a vehicle which is not dramatically transformed while in his care.

A Savannah native, Chester has been living in Augusta and working with Jim Hudson Lexus since 2006. When asked how his family and close friends would describe him, he replies that they would use words like “caring, easygoing, cool”, which is a good fit for his disposition. Chester tells us he is passionate about God and his goal in life is to live it to the fullest. When not at work, he enjoys playing tennis (including competitions) and time with his peeps. He has 3 kids: Margaret, Torian and Pierce.  His wife Valerie, a loyal Lexus owner, attends all of the Jim Hudson Lexus functions with Chester and is a valued member of our extended work family.

We are grateful to Chester for his inspiring work ethic and commitment to excellence, as well as his courteous nature. It would be difficult to imagine a Jim Hudson Lexus without Chester Butler, our detail genius.

A Millennial Creative

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I’ve always thought Ashley seemed mature for her age. When she started working with us at Jim Hudson Lexus more than a year ago, I prepared myself for at least of the few of the well-known characteristics of workers commonly referred to as Millennial: short attention span, self-absorbed, impatient. I was pleasantly surprised  to find that these less desirable traits of her peers do not describe her at all. With the exception of a few attractive attributes: entrepreneurial, compassionate, team-oriented, I really couldn’t honestly place her in that group. The more I read about Millennials for this blog, the less I associated Ashley with them. So I wondered, what is a better personality category for her?

 So, on a hunch, I looked up the qualities of a creative personality and thought, now we are getting somewhere! Loving, emotional (a bit of a worrier), productive, ambitious, concerned with religion/values, many interests. Ashley thrives when her work allows her to blossom in a broad range of tasks, such as helping guests, making gift baskets, learning new things in the office. She is passionate about living in the moment and being a friend to others. If you ask Ashley to describe herself, she will say that she is a good listener, honest and creative. When asked which adjectives her family and friends might use for her, she thinks they would likely drop words like caring and sassy (which I love, and wholeheartedly agree).

 A good way to get a sense of a person is how they spend their free time. Family and friends are important to her, as is her dog Marley, a Labrador-Great Dane mix who, like Ashley, is full of energy and enthusiasm for life. True to the creative profile, her hobbies are diverse: she is known to spend her day off doing everything from baking and DIY crafts to off-roading or going to see action movies with her boyfriend James.  She has also been having a lot of fun selling Scentsy products, a line of wickless candles and other fragrance items.

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Marley at rest

 

In whatever way you might describe Ashley, two things are for certain: she is her own authentic self, and she is a good fit for this dealership. In her time as a member of the Guest Services team, she has been warmly embraced by the dealership staff and customers appreciate her genuine nature. She tells us that she enjoys her job very much, saying that the Jim Hudson Lexus atmosphere is a supportive one, and filled with determination for success. So the next time you visit us and see her friendly face, know that you are encountering a truly unique Millennial Creative.

 

 

Articles reviewed as research for this blog:

 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402091133.htm

 https://www.mindtickle.com/blog/10-millennial-personality-traits-hr-managers-cant-ignore/

 http://www.morriscreative.com/personality-traits-millennials-market-generation/

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/millennials-poll_us_55e87b8be4b0c818f61b1558

 http://luckyattitude.co.uk/millennial-characteristics/

 http://thesecondprinciple.com/creativity/creativetraits/

 http://iheartintelligence.com/2014/09/30/creative-people/

 https://www.fastcompany.com/3016689/10-paradoxical-traits-of-creative-people

 

 

Meet Dana Kent

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There are very few jobs in the automotive industry which are as stressful as the role of Service Advisor. It requires a rare combination of technical aptitude, organizational skills and an ability to relate to a wide range of personalities. Dealing with the public is always a bit challenging, but when you are in the front lines of the service drive, earning the trust of guests who may be upset about issues with their car, the difficulties grow exponentially. Success in this capacity over many years says a lot about a person’s character: their tenacity, personality and integrity.

 

Which is why we are so proud to have recruited a well-respected successful advisor to our Jim Hudson Lexus service team! Dana Kent has been earning customer loyalty as an Advisor or Manager for over 30 years, and when you meet him, it is easy to see why he has been a star in the field. He is polite, helpful, intelligent and honest. He tells us that his friends and family would describe him as a planner, and our observations from working with him fit that completely. He doesn’t get rattled, pays full attention to the person or task in front of him, and does what he needs to ensure future success.

 

Originally from Swainsboro, Georgia, Dana has overcome much in his life to reach this place of esteem in his career. When asked to describe a past challenge, he tells us about how he lost everything in the stock market crash after 9-11-01. He credits a lot of prayer and patience with recouping his losses in only 7 years. Prayer is noted as an important part of his life, with his primary goal becoming closer to God. It is these kinds of conversations with Dana that help you to understand why he doesn’t let the stress of today get him frazzled; he has the confidence of a man who knows what is important in life, and how to give that his full priority.

 

In addition to his faith, Dana’s family is a definite priority. Married to the lovely Melanie for more than 20 years, he credits his wife with the strong family life he enjoys. The Kents have a 16 year old son, a 13-year old daughter, 2 dogs, a cat, 4 turtles and 2 goldfish. When not at work, Dana enjoys spending time with all of them, and also enjoys raising cattle and lifting weights. We are honored to have a person like Dana represent our team, and have already seen many of his loyal customers tell us that their car will be serviced here because they only trust him to offer them guidance. If you have not yet met Dana, be sure to say hello during your next visit! We all look forward to working with Dana for many years to come.

 

Meet Taylor Meehan

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At times I compare our service department to the game of Jenga, a meticulously arranged stack of blocks which only stands strong if there are enough pieces staying in their designated place. Each chunk of wood removed represents a threat to the structural integrity of the unit, and if too many are pulled out, the tower will crumble completely. One never knows which block, when removed, will cause the ultimate demise of the whole.

 

The Lexus service process is a similarly complicated configuration of moving parts, and while the removal of one or two people is not catastrophic, if too many people are gone, or the wrong person is not there, the entire process seems to disintegrate. Taylor Meehan is one of those individuals, a critical piece of the puzzle, who makes sure the service drive operates efficiently. In any given moment, he knows which guest belongs to which car and who is working with which advisor. He is helpful to everyone, with a concern and courteous nature of someone dedicated to the success of the team.

 

The impressive part about Taylor’s attention to detail in the service drive, is that this is not his main responsibility. As the new Delivery Coordinator, Taylor is in charge of making the arrangements anytime a guest requests a vehicle pick up or return. This is a new position for the dealership, and Taylor was brought in to take on the challenge a mere 4 months ago. In that short time, his quick and complete integration into service drive structure has impressed co-workers and customers alike. Not surprisingly, when asked what is the most important personal attribute he brings to his job, he says it is adaptability.

 

That adaptability has served him well in his new environment. Not only is Taylor new to Jim Hudson Lexus, he is relatively new to the Augusta area, having only moved here 3 years ago from Dallas, Georgia. When not at work, he enjoys kayaking, movies and spending time with family and friends. He cites “traveling the world” as one of his lifetime goals, and says that the people who know him best would describe him as “optimistic, a hard worker and organized.”

 

As for me, I would describe him as one of the most important pieces to this puzzle we call the Jim Hudson Lexus team. I am grateful that he accepted the challenge of his new role and that he gives it everything he has, every day. He has been a tremendous blessing to the team, and if you have not yet met him, swing by the dealership to introduce yourself and say hi. Tell him I sent you. 😀

 

The Perfect Joseph Quote

Joseph loves motivational quotes. Every January he buys one of those “page a day” calendars with a different message to help him start each morning. He texts the inspirational thoughts to his sales team, inserts them into speeches and frames his favorite ones to share with friends. Naturally, when the time came to write a blog about Joseph, I went in search of the perfect quote. I found it difficult to choose just one.

 

It turns out that all motivational quotes could apply to Joseph, because he is a charismatic leader and a genuine people person. This thought by Marie Forleo resonated: “Show up in every single moment like you’re meant to be there.” I like that for Joseph because he gives his full optimistic, dedicated effort into everything, never shying away from a challenge or complaining about his enormous responsibilities. When asked how he handles conflict, his approach is simply to “put himself in the shoes of the other person and work to understand how they would want to be treated.”

 

Another important quote is from Horace, who explains that it is important to “mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly in the right moment.” Part of Joseph’s success is his gift for knowing how to weave fun into work and life. He says that his family and friends would describe him as a “happy, goofy, class clown” and these descriptors give you a sense of how the pressures of life seem less of a burden under his joyful attitude. At any moment, you may hear Joseph laughing across the showroom, often taking child-like delight in his own humor, even if he is laughing alone. He has been known to arrive at work dressed up as the Cat in the Hat, carrying around a plate of green eggs and ham in honor of the Dr. Seuss book. It is common to see him dancing at the sales meetings, wearing sports team shirts on a Saturday and giving out gag gifts to his team when they rank 3rd place in a contest. This jovial approach is leadership by example; his team sees that an upbeat approach to selling helps build rapport and trust.

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Joseph finds his leadership role to be the most rewarding aspect of his job, taking great fulfillment in seeing team members improve their lives. He cites “providing a good environment for co-workers” as one of his significant goals. Another goal is providing a better life for his family, a tremendous source of pride in his life. Nothing makes him happier than time spent with wife Katie and kids Ay’den, 8, Charlotte, 4 and Julia, 8 months. He also enjoys traveling to visit his grown kids, Nelson, 22, Ashlee, 26 and Aryn, 32. When not working or hanging out with family, Joseph can be found working out at the gym, a hobby with roots in his days as a young bodybuilder.

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With as much time as he spends at work, and as dedicated as he is to his health and family, one wonders how Joseph is able to manage it all and keep his sunny disposition. But these impressively balanced responsibilities brings me to my final Joseph-inspired quote, a thought from Simon Sinek about the blessings of work, health and family: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” This might be the perfect Joseph quote, after all.

Leap of Faith

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Making a significant life change is difficult. You have to gather information, weigh options, look at the big picture and factor in long-term goals. In the end, it all comes down to a leap of faith that the potential future happiness far outweighs the immediate discomfort which comes from new challenges. In the case of Cassandra Bussey, she took her time to assess the opportunity, and then made the leap to join the Jim Hudson Lexus sales team. She has been a tremendous fit already.

Cassandra has always had a successful career, something she credits to conversations with her mother as a young girl. Ruth Bussey always told her daughter that she could achieve anything she set her mind to; as a result, Cassandra grew up believing in her ability to take on a challenge and thrive. As an 8 year old girl, she auditioned for mascot at the local high school and performed in the spirit team with girls twice her age. When she graduated and began working, her confidence and people skills made her a natural in sales. Her job path began at Macy’s and traversed to companies such as Haverty’s, HH Gregg, and Conn’s.

It was in one of those retail stores that the General Manager of Jim Hudson Lexus received amazing customer service from Cassandra on multiple occasions and knew that she would be a perfect fit for selling Lexus vehicles. After several recruitment attempts, she finally made the leap to the dealership team in May 2017 and hit the ground running.

When asked about her first impressions of the dealership, she states that the one word to describe the organization is class. “I admire the people, the style and what the dealership represents: integrity, honesty and customer service.” Cassandra’s easy transition from selling furniture and electronics to selling luxury vehicles can be attributed to her work ethic and desire to make people happy. “I love to meet new people and work toward a positive outcome,” she explains. “I am passionate about my faith and my work.”

When not at work, the Augusta native loves gardening, movies and time with family. Those close to Cassandra describe her as dependable, independent, caring and loving. Her coworkers at Jim Hudson Lexus describe her as hard working, determined and helpful. We are grateful that she made the leap of faith, and look forward to serving guests alongside her for years to come.

Cassandra can be reached at cbussey@jimhudson.com or 706 830 1644