Blake Salinas says the Marine Corps looks out for its own and develops them. He aims to do the same for his staffers at Friendly Ford of Crosby in Texas.
Salinas, 33, finished his service with the Marines in 2012 after a five-year journey that included a tour in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
Salinas, now new-car director at Friendly Ford, says his new mission is to help the dealership's employees advance their careers. His father, Fred, owns Friendly Ford and is preparing to hand it off to him and his brother, Austin, 36, the general sales manager.
Blake shared his thoughts on how the Marines helped shape his perspective of the car business.
Q: How different would your outlook have been if you had gone straight into the business without enlisting in the Marines?
A: I wouldn't have been nearly as good of a manager. One of the big things when you're in a big organization like that is to look out for your people and develop their careers. You always want to develop their careers. That was something I was able to bring back here.
With a lot of dealerships, it's, "What can do we do today? We've got to hit today's number." What I pulled from [the Marines] was that all these people come together to accomplish the mission or meet the goal. [I wanted] to bring that and help people develop. Make them better car people, make them better people and have them stick around. I think that creates loyalty. I really got that out of being in the Marines. They were there to develop me.
I got promoted in the Marine Corps and got more responsibility. [I brought] that back into this business.
Help guys go from sales people to management, help guys go from porter to sales, or service writer to technician to master tech. Just a career path. That's something we've implemented here, and it's worked well.