Chantz Scott, 32
CEO, Chantz Scott Auto Group
Achievement: Bought his first dealership at age 25, his second at 31.
After a year of playing football at Elon University in North Carolina, Chantz Scott decided in 2004 to return home and sell cars at a Kia store in Johnson City, Tenn.
He had grown up in auto retailing, selling used cars for his grandfather.
"I grew up lower class to lower-middle class and I really didn't have a lot," Scott said. "To see what a little hard work does and the success it can bring has always driven me. So I was pretty confident about what I wanted to do."
Although he had never been around new cars, Scott quickly became the top salesman at the Kia store. In less than two years, at age 21, Scott was named the dealership's general manager.
In 2011, Scott, then 25, was awarded a Kia store. The dealer he worked for went in with Scott on the new dealership in Kingsport, Tenn. The store became the top-selling Kia dealership in the Tri-Cities area of Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City and has held that spot for six years in a row, according to Kia Motors America sales reports. The area has a population of about 500,000 people.
2011 shaped Scott going forward, he says, as some of the most exciting moments of his life collided with some of the most somber. He lost both of his parents within three months in 2011. Despite the difficulty, Scott knew people depended on him to push forward and he learned "to go harder."
In December 2016, Scott bought Auto World of Big Stone Gap, a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram store about 40 miles away in Virginia. And on Jan. 1, 2017, he bought out his partner in the Kia store and proudly changed the name to Chantz Scott Kia.
Sure, Scott says, he wants to see strong sales and spot the right acquisitions going forward. "But mainly, I want to take care of our employees," he said. "I always say if you put the company first, everything else will take care of itself. The vision is to grow."
Stephanie Hernandez McGavin