Automotive News 40 Under 40

Brian Heney

AGE: 39

POSITION: Director of operations, Kelly Automotive Group, Danvers, Mass.

Brian Heney

At Kelly Automotive Group, new business opportunities keep coming. That's why it's important to keep people trained, committed to their jobs and content in their work environment, says Brian Heney, the group's director of operations.

"Our people are going to help us grow," says Heney, 39, whose father-in-law, Brian Kelly, is president of the eight-dealership group in Danvers, Mass.

"Brian's philosophy is to take care of your employees. Treat your employees well and they will treat your customers well. You'll have happy employees, the customers will keep coming back to you, and your shops will be busier than ever."

There are 385 employees at Kelly. Late last year Kelly added a Nissan store. This year the company will add Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The group is also completing construction on one of the largest new Volkswagen stores in the country, with 56,000 square feet. Future deals are under discussion.

"The car business has changed a lot in the last few years," says Heney, a Vermont native who started with Kelly as a salesman in 2001. He has worked his way up through sales management and finance, completed courses through the National Automobile Dealers Association school, owned his own Harley-Davidson store for a while, and then returned when Kelly asked him to help run the group.

"Brian works with me seven days a week," Heney says. "He's got a great business mind. I've been lucky in that I've had good guidance.

"I've learned from his example. We try to treat everyone here like they're a brother or a sister or your mom or your dad," he says.

"Everyone wants to be appreciated. You treat people with respect and show common courtesy. It doesn't have to be monetary. It can be time off. It can be recognition.

"If everybody here practices that, we'll have a better work environment and better retention."

-- Lindsay Chappell