The automotive business is a stressful one. You have to know and love cars, but you also have to understand people and possess the desire to help others. There are few things in life that are as frustrating to the average consumer as vehicle problems, so it is mandatory for those of us working in dealerships to be empathetic and diligent in our pursuit of a resolution.
Knowing this, it is easy to see why Jim Hudson Lexus service team member Jeff Cliatt answered his employee questionnaire the way that he did. Cliatt, who has been at Jim Hudson for more than a year but around cars his entire life, declares that his daily goal is not to lose composure under pressure. When asked which movie title best describes his life, he replies “Driving Miss Daisy”.
Cliatt is responsible for coordinating all work that goes through the shop. If there are 50 repair tickets in a given day, all with varying levels of urgency and difficulty, he has to make sure the right technician gets the right ticket at the right time, and that any issues are communicated back to the Service Advisor, who is responsible for keeping the customer informed. To say it requires a great deal of knowledge and patience is an understatement. At times it seems like he has to be a Maestro conducting an orchestra, listening for all of the nuances and re-directing the talent as the shop needs dictate. It definitely requires complete attention. If one thing goes wrong, the entire symphony can fall out of tune fast.
I call Cliatt by his last name because we have 3 different Jeff’s in our dealership family, but also because it feels natural to be casual around him. He is one of those approachable, authentic people who never pretends to be something he is not, and seems most at home when looking over a car problem with one of his techs. There is never a question that he knows his stuff under the hood, and he is amiable and respectful with his co-workers. He cites “professionalism” as his favorite thing about working at Jim Hudson Lexus, but also seems to appreciate the fact that Mr. Hudson is a Christian businessman. Cliatt’s questionnaire reveals that is inspired by Jesus, and includes “comprehending the whole bible” as one of his bucket list goals.
When away from the dealership, Cliatt can be found fixing up old motorcycles or doing some PC gaming. He is married to Jami Cliatt, who is also in the car business, and they have 4 kids. In the future, perhaps the family will travel to Washington, D.C., or go sky-diving, knocking out other items on Cliatt’s bucket list. For now, they enjoy hanging out together or riding a Jet-ski at the lake. Relishing in the blessings of nature and family sounds like the perfect way to balance out the stressful world of the car business. We are definitely glad that Cliatt is a part of our team. Knowing that he is the Maestro in the shop makes the dealership less stressful for the rest of us.
In our 5th Annual Holiday drive, Jim Hudson Lexus encourages the community to drop off new donations of items needed by local charities. This is their wish list for 2016. Drive is running now through December 15th at the dealership, 3520 Washington Road in Martinez. Thanks for all who have contributed!
|Item to be collected||Recipient Agencies|
|Kids Toys, Coloring Books and stuffed animals||James Brown Family Foundation
New Bethlehem Community Center
|Pet Toys and Treats (no rawhide)||Friends of Augusta Animal Rescue|
|Blue and Black Pens||The Lydia Project|
|Pocket Size Kleenex||Rape Crisis, The Lydia Project|
|Notebooks, Binders||Columbia County Community Connection|
|Bar Soap||ACTS Aiken, SafeHomes|
|Purse Size lotions up to 3 oz
(no hotel samples please)
|Lydia Project, SafeHomes, ACTS Aiken, Rape Crisis|
|White Towel Sets||Ronald McDonald House|
|Warm hats and gloves||Salvation Army|
|Kids Healthy Snacks (examples Yogurt pretzels, Granola bars, trail mix)||CCCC|
|Socks-women and kids||SafeHomes|
|Diapers-adults and babies||Salvation Army|
|Teen Appropriate Gifts||Child Enrichment
New Bethlehem Community Center
|Paper Towels/Toilet Paper||ACTS Aiken|
|Gallon Ziploc Bags||Rape Crisis|
Amanda Dunn always has a goal on the horizon. In the future, she sees herself as a Master-Certified team member at our dealership, and is focused on taking the tests and courses needed to achieve that objective. She loves numbers and aspires to a career in accounting. She even has a vision of which dog she wants in the future (a Yorkie). She is constantly reading books about finance, motivation, self-improvement: she is willing to do the work required to be successful.
Being goal-driven has allowed her to accomplish much in her life. She is a two-time graduate of Augusta Technical College. Her first degree was in 2011 in the field of Pharmacy Tech. Most recently, she earned a degree from the same institution in accounting. She scored 77.3 overall on the NOCTI Exam, well above both the State and National averages. She has also raised a son, 16-year old Tobias Antonio Frank, Jr., who is an athlete, AB Honor Roll student and rising Junior at Silver Bluff High School.
Perhaps her drive comes from being the oldest of six kids in her family. Perhaps it stems from her desire to be a role model for her son TJ. Amanda tells us she calls him “Li’l Man”, even though he is 6’3″. She said that “not a day that goes by that I am not thinking of a way to make things better for him. The sacrifices that I make gives me the fulfillment to provide a better life for me and my family.”
Regardless of the reasons for her work ethic, we are pleased to have her on the Jim Hudson team. Quick to laugh, and possessing a warm and sincere nature, Amanda gets along well with everyone she encounters in the Lexus family. She says that she appreciates being a part of a “well-established business with leaders who support my growth and well-being.” Amanda has been serving on the Guest Relations team for one year; her anniversary is next Thursday!
When not working at Jim Hudson Lexus, Amanda enjoys reading, billiards and playing soccer with TJ. She also enjoys driving her new Lexus, an Ultra-White IS200t purchased to celebrate her recent diploma. Whatever she does, she strives to do it well and enjoy the experience. As she says often, “you only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest!” We couldn’t agree more.
For those of us who have worked with Jeff Smith since he joined Jim Hudson Lexus almost 9 years ago, it has been a fascinating transformation to observe. While always a stellar associate with excellent customer service skills and attention to detail, he has recently demonstrated increased leadership and a sunnier disposition that is a pleasure to witness. Does the credit go to his fellow Parts department team members, who “are like family, and make the job easier”? Perhaps the credit goes to his fiancé Emily, who recently transitioned from a friend of 8 years into a partner on a “fairytale journey we can’t believe is happening”.
Regardless of the reasons for the new and improved Jeff, we are so happy for him and proud to have him as a Master Certified Parts Consultant on our team. We are delighted for his new adventures with Emily as they plan their wedding to take place on New Year’s Eve. Jeff and Emily’s home will include his new step-son Ben and his lab family, Lunar and Mad Moxxi. During your next visit to Jim Hudson Lexus, be sure to stop by the Parts window to congratulate Jeff. You may even run into him on his mountain bike, enjoying the many cool trails in the Augusta area. He is a fun, authentic and dedicated member of the community and the Jim Hudson Lexus family
Enter the service drive at Jim Hudson Lexus on any given day, and you might just hear someone singing. Loaner Administrator Don Johnson, who has been with the Jim Hudson Team for the past 4 years, is known for randomly bursting into song. A bright spot in our guests’ visits, Don’s upbeat spirit ameliorates what could potentially be a stressful place. Lexus owners who may be worried about an issue with their car are quickly relieved to be greeted by Don’s cheerful disposition. He knows many of them by name, and often serenades “Happy Birthday” to those who may be celebrating.
Those who know Don understand why he sings. A member of his church choir, his natural approach to each day is one of gratitude and service. He has worked in the automotive industry for 17 years, and feels at home in the Jim Hudson Lexus culture, where a joyous approach to customer service is embraced. Don truly enjoys helping people, and takes pride in being a part of the process of making sure that each person drives away from the dealership “safely and happily”.
When not working or singing, Don enjoys riding dirt bikes, playing basketball and spending time with his family: wife Tonya, daughters Madelyne and Tionna, son Donovan and grandkids Jaden and Jordan. Born in New Jersey, Don was raised in Statesboro but found Augusta to be a nice compromise between the small-town Statesboro life and the big-city world of Atlanta. We are so happy that he chose Augusta, as our lives are blessed to be able to work with him. Stop by and say hello to Don sometime. And if it is your birthday, prepare to be serenaded.
They say that we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family, and surely this is true in the car business. After logging 60-70 hours a week at a dealership, year after year, you grow increasingly impressed or vexed by everyone around you, as their true nature shines through eventually. You can only put on your game face for so long; inevitably, in moments of stress or crisis, each person’s character will shimmer to the surface for all to see.
Fortunately for the team of associates at Jim Hudson Lexus, the character of Bill Gibbs shimmering to the surface is one of exemplary leadership. If you were to ask a new acquaintance to describe Bill, you would likely hear words such as personable and outgoing. Dealership guests and new employees say that he makes them feel instantly at ease. He makes a point to introduce himself to visitors he has not seen before, never once throwing around his title or doing anything to reveal just how busy he really is.
Those who know him well, including countless top leaders in the Augusta community, always speak of his kindness and integrity. Bill has earned the respect of those with whom he works closely. Always the gentleman with unflappable manners, you will never see the type of angry tantrum which is so common in the automotive world, but he will be direct and let you know that he expects you to be your personal best, every day, without fail. It is no accident that there are so many amazing employees working at Jim Hudson Lexus. The most dedicated associates are attracted to Bill’s vision of a world-class dealership. He inspires a special kind of loyalty.
Even after working with him for over 12 years, I am still impressed with the decisions he makes every day, and the example he sets for us. He is diligent in ensuring that our dealership is only affiliated with partners and projects that reflect our world-class brand. In any customer situation, his point of view is not based on numbers, but by what is right. He empowers his team to make the choices they need to make to get the best results, without the micro-managing or belittling managing style that is prevalent in the business world.
Bill works 6 days a week, and yet still finds time for family, fitness, community service and church. Bill can also be found networking on the golf course, where his 5-handicap game and casual demeanor make him a welcome member to any foursome. He is often hosting visiting dignitaries and special customers at his home course of the Augusta Country Club, or supporting a charity tournament.
With guiding principles such as quality, integrity, passion and pride demonstrating the Lexus Covenant in action, it is easy to see why Bill Gibbs is such a good fit for his role in the Lexus family. He lives these values every moment, every day, year after year, both in the dealership and in his personal life. For the Augusta, Georgia community, Bill is Lexus. He has led the team through awesome and difficult times, unwavering in his own core values, and will continue to do so for years to come. Having the honor of working with Bill Gibbs makes it much easier to work a 70-hour week.
Although he has only lived in Augusta for five years, Eric Saunders and his wife Tiffany are completely at home here. He is an avid golfer, and enjoys the mild climate and friendly people. Eric has also made a home at our dealership in the sales department, leveraging an automotive career that dates back to 1986. Originally from New Jersey, Eric’s large family includes four children and three dogs.
Eric tells us that he enjoys selling because, at heart, he loves helping people, and gets along with all personalities. The environment at Jim Hudson Lexus has proven to be conducive to his commitment to customer service. “I like to treat people the way I would want to be treated,” Eric notes. “Listening is the key-working to learn the guest’s wants and needs will help the visit to go smoothly.”
Eric can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org