Allen Tate, 37
Managing Partner, Mid County Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram
Achievement: In a smaller market, his store sold more new vehicles in 2015 than half of the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in the Houston area
When Allen Tate returned home to Beaumont, Texas, to take a semester off from college, local dealership owner Randy Bowman asked Tate to work for him. Tate declined. When Bowman asked why, Tate replied, "I have integrity."
Bowman explained that Tate could sell cars "the right way" and succeed in the business. Tate agreed to give auto retailing a try, and soon learned to love it.
"Hard work and persistence in this business are more important than education, and most of the time, more important than talent," Tate said.
By 2013, Tate had been working in dealerships for more than 10 years and had been with Quattro Auto Group for two. The group was planning to buy Mid County Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Port Arthur, about 20 miles southeast of Tate's hometown, and asked him to take pictures of the site.
Tate told the Quattro executives, "I'll do whatever you ask me to do, but have you ever been to Port Arthur? You don't want a dealership in Port Arthur."
He remembered the city as a swampy marshland, but during the visit he was surprised by its significant development over the years.
Quattro Auto Group decided to buy the store in August of 2013, and named Tate as the managing partner. Tate said he worked to instill a culture of persistence, honesty and integrity, and it paid off.
In 2015, it sold more new vehicles than half of the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram stores in the Houston area, Tate said, despite its location an hour and a half from Houston.
The month before Quattro Auto Group bought Mid County, the store retailed 77 new and used vehicles. Tate's team took the dealership to an average of 182 vehicles a month in 2015.
Tate said that only 385,000 people live within 40 miles of Mid County, yet the store sold 1,337 new vehicles in 2015. The next highest-volume dealership within 60 miles sold about 900 new vehicles, he said.
Tate, being a Texan, compared success in running a store to coaching a football team.
"Everyone's income, winning or losing, is affected by everyone else who works here," Tate said. "We have to expect professionalism at all times, and the stronger teammates have to pick the other ones up to help them reach higher levels so we can all win."