Shaye Johnson, 38
General manager, Rick Hendrick Toyota of Fayetteville
Shaye Johnson ventured into auto retailing more than a decade ago, but the work ethic that propelled his career was shaped early on.
Growing up in tiny Grimesland, N.C., Johnson spent much of his childhood learning the value of hard work and dedication from his parents — a teacher and a farmer. Today, he uses those lessons as general manager at Rick Hendrick Toyota of Fayetteville in North Carolina.
Johnson this month marks his fifth year at the dealership, where he’s held managerial positions in sales and retail operations. His most recent accomplishments include an 85 percent increase in the store’s 2018 net profit from three years earlier, and the dealership’s recognition as the top-selling store in the Fayetteville market with retail sales of 1,958 new Toyota vehicles in 2018.
His staff’s customer-centric approach helped drive the store’s high sales, he said.
Johnson said the store is fortunate to be next to Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. Army base by population, because many of the store’s staff members are veterans who exude the same pride as employees as they did while in the military.
Johnson credits the Hendrick Leadership Academy with helping him become a better manager. Johnson, a member of the academy’s fourth graduating class, said the program is taught in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association and is designed to develop general managers and corporate leaders. He said the academy taught him good business habits that enable dealerships to succeed.
One of those habits: Clearing obstacles so his employees can do their best work.
“I just want to be a big cheerleader and make sure that everyone has all the resources they need to enable them to be as successful as possible,” Johnson said. “We just go out there and figure it out together, one problem and one customer at a time.”
As his career progresses, Johnson said he is open to any opportunities the company offers him. He said someday he would “love to be even more of partner in the group.”
— Danielle Szatkowski