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The Leland Charm


When I meet a young adult with a strong sense of self, invariably I learn that there was a mentor who helped guide them during their formative years. It was no surprise, then, to discover that this was the case with Leland, a delightful young man who helps us with Roadside Assistance cases. Leland learned about cars and the value of a work ethic from his Uncle Donnie, who had a contagious enthusiasm for helping others. Leland said his positive attitude is also inspired by the example of his grandparents, “Nana and Pop-pop”, who faced tremendous obstacles and continue to live their lives with great determination.

Although I’ve never met Uncle Donnie or Nana and Pop-pop, I can imagine that they are very impressive individuals, based on how well Leland turned out. He has been a part of the Jim Hudson Lexus service team for over a year, and has always been a beacon of light in that department. He accurately describes himself as having the “Leland Charm”,  a preternaturally smiling disposition and warmth which endears him to others immediately. This charm makes him a good fit for the dealership, where our customer service culture is reliant upon such outgoing personalities and helpfulness.

Leland’s considerate ways have inspired us to transition him away from working on cars in the shop and encourage him to spend more time helping guests in the service drive.  The move has been well-received by guests and co-workers, who tell us that Leland is a caring individual who makes the environment more pleasant. Leland tells us he is happy with the move, since he truly enjoys helping others and strives to be the best at whatever he is doing.

When he is not at work, Leland has many hobbies, including  riding four-wheelers, singing, landscaping, building things and drawing. He shared a couple of his recent sketches with us, and we think there is some real potential there! Whether he has art or cars in his future, we know that he will do well in life, because he has something that nobody else has: The Leland Charm!


Kind-Hearted Rosie

Murphy from Rick’s Paint and Body called me yesterday, hoping to learn our secret to finding the best receptionists in town. “Your team is always so helpful and incredibly friendly,” he said. “I want to find people like that to work for us.” I’m afraid I did not have any advice for him, explaining that all of the credit goes to our Guest Services Team Leader Rosanne Helm. I told him that Rosanne does all of the training for the front desk staff, and that she is the best because she truly cares.

Murphy may not be able to duplicate what Rosanne has accomplished, but he does know what success looks like. When a guest calls or visits, it is imperative that they are received with a warm, upbeat greeting and a courteous, supportive attitude. Rosanne has built a team who delivers these attributes on a consistent basis. She recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary in the position, and is as enthusiastic in her role today as she was when she began, perhaps more so. I wish I could explain to Murphy, or understand myself, what makes Rosanne so amazing. There are few people on the planet I admire as much, and I have met some pretty impressive people in my 51 years.

A couple of years ago, when I received an award from the local Girl Scouts organization, I had to make an acceptance speech in front of an audience of over 150 community leaders. During my comments, I asked Rosanne to stand and I explained to the group that I would not be able to accomplish what I have, or receive any civic accolades, if it were not for this phenomenal young lady. I told them that I have watched her overcome personal struggles, including years as a single mom who worked and went to school. Happily married now with 2 children, she is constantly doing something kind and unexpected for her family, her co-workers, her customers and the community.

Today’s community service is a leadership role in the dealership’s participation in an event called “Halloween with a Heart”, a chance for disabled children to enjoy a Trick or Treat experience in a safe environment. Rosanne is in charge of recruiting, organizing and decorating the Jim Hudson Lexus table every year, and blows us away with her creativity. This year’s theme is “Emoji Halloween”, and she has each of the guest services team members dressed in a different emoji, and her table decorated with #Lexus hashtags. She included her daughter Mercedes in the planning and preparation of the event, sharing in the lesson of giving to others.


L-R Morgan, Judy, Rosanne, Ashley, Amanda: Best Guest services team ever!

Seeing how Rosanne manages an event like this tells you what kind of person she is. Never one to just do the bare minimum, she approaches this endeavor with the energy it deserves, creating lasting memories for the kids and for her team. She is organized, thoughtful, communicative and diligent. She cares that it is done well, taking personal pride in excellence. She understands that it reflects on the dealership, but also knows that her efforts are rewarded with a high level of respect from her peers and important lessons for her daughter.

Rosanne has been offered promotions in our dealership many times, and I am fortunate that she has turned them down in favor of remaining in her current position. Believe me when I tell you that I do not take her for granted. I am grateful every day for the blessing of working with someone of her caliber, because I am a better employee and a better person as a result. There is not an employee in the building who does not adore Rosanne; her concern for others is genuine and easy to recognize. Murphy and others who call and visit may aspire to her level of customer service, but her kind heart cannot be duplicated.

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 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 cross, he makes 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.


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 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.”


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 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


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


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.


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:



Meet Dana Kent


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


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. 😀