Evelyn Sames Cain didn't intend to follow in the footsteps of her father, Hank Sames.
So when she graduated from college in 2002, she took a job in Fort Worth as a wholesale buyer of women's clothing for a department store. It was fine at first, but the hours were long, and the job was not fulfilling.
After about 18 months, her father had her sit down with a succession planner. Then it hit her: Her career path had been blazed decades ago by her great-great-grandfather.
"I didn't realize what I had back home," says Cain, now general manager of the family's Honda dealership and minority owner in the dealership group that celebrated 100 years in business this year.
"It was four generations of my family working hard at such a multifaceted business. It was my father's drive and passion. I took it for granted that Dad went to work and I went to school. I hadn't taken the time to learn the business or its history. My father didn't want to pressure me. He wanted it to come from me."
In 2004, Cain, who holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, moved back home and joined the dealership group part time, handling marketing, advertising and public relations. But she quickly learned that retail automotive is not a part-time business.
"It's far from it," she says. "It's long hours; it's retail; it's six days a week. It sucked me in, and I loved it and had fun doing it."
Cain graduated from the National Automobile Dealers Association Dealer Academy in 2009.