Jorge Gutierrez, 35
Corporate strategist, Bert Ogden Auto Group
Jorge Gutierrez aims to enhance just about every department within Bert Ogden Auto Group.
“That’s the beauty of my role,” he said. “It gives me the ability to fill any voids in our organization and helps us be able to improve culture.”
Gutierrez says he’s effectively the chief of staff for CEO Natasha del Barrio, a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree. In 2013, del Barrio was corporate strategist for the McAllen, Texas, dealership group, and Gutierrez was major gifts officer at the University of Texas-Pan American. Bert Ogden was one of the donors he worked with.
Del Barrio encouraged him to take a job at one of the dealerships as a finance manager. After two weeks of training, Gutierrez was promoted to the sales desk and then sent to help a struggling store. He soon took over as sales manager. Nine months later, he was overseeing two more stores, and a few years after that, Gutierrez was promoted to corporate strategist for the 18-store dealership group, working beside del Barrio.
“I had my hands pretty much in every cookie jar out there,” he said.
He put his finance and accounting background to use by turning the dealership group’s data into digestible reports to help map the company’s goals.
“A lot of the success we have seen is in part due to information, to reports. We’re not using feelings and emotions. It’s very fact-based,” Gutierrez said. “A lot of it has been investing in stores where we see the biggest return. It’s also identifying patterns and identifying which stores are struggling and why. What can we do? Where can we move people around? It’s a lot of playing chess.”
Gutierrez recently coordinated a campaign that reduced vendor costs by nearly $500,000. He also consolidated Bert Ogden’s accounting operations from five offices to one and revamped human resources so the top-performing employees could be identified through data. Gutierrez wanted to be sure those employees were getting the recognition they deserve and improve morale.
Gutierrez also helped launch a 401(k) plan for employees and initiated performance evaluations. Next on his list is developing a career path and mentorship program that pairs an employee with someone in upper management.
— Hannah Lutz