Joey Falcon, 39
Managing partner, Jerry Ulm Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram
Joey Falcon’s rise to partner status didn’t start in the showroom.
He was over in the service shop, learning how to manage a critical profit center and build relationships with technicians who are increasingly hard to find.
That knowledge and firsthand experience in the service lane has proved valuable now that he’s running Jerry Ulm Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Tampa, Fla. While the industry has been hamstrung by a shortage of technicians, Falcon has had no problems keeping talent around.
Falcon takes care of his crew. He said management isn’t “browbeating” the team or making it an unpleasant environment.
The store, one of the top sellers among U.S. Stellantis dealerships, has 60 technicians. The all-important service shop, he said, puts food on the table.
“Those are my dudes,” Falcon said. “You could wake up in the morning and come to work, and they’re all playing pingpong and having a pool tournament during roll call.”
He added: “If you make it fun, you talk to them, you teach them, you show them, ‘You did it this way; this is what I used to do when I was coming up in your shoes.’ Those are my brothers back there. I really, really, really care for them.”
Falcon became executive general manager for Jerry Ulm in January 2018 and managing partner shortly after.
He got his first taste of the car business as a detailer in Naples, Fla., after four years in the Navy and a stint at a structured settlement company. The dealer principal at the store informed him that if he wanted to learn the business, the best way was to do it from the service shop. He became a service adviser and moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., to work at a Jeep store, but it folded during the Great Recession.
So he spent 12 years working various fixed operations jobs for several dealerships, some with daily commutes of nearly three hours. They eventually led to the role of fixed operations director for Wesley Chapel Nissan in Tampa.
Falcon was about to take a new job as fixed ops leader for a 10-store group before his boss at Wesley Chapel convinced him to stay and become the general manager. Falcon received training at the National Automobile Dealers Association Academy and said he elevated the Nissan store to No. 14 in the country.
That experience served him well when starting at Jerry Ulm as executive general manager. Falcon said getting each department to work cohesively is key.
“A business, in my opinion, is just a big wheel,” he said. “Each department in these dealerships, you basically have new cars, used cars, wholesale, then you have parts, service. Each one of those categories feed each other.”
— Vince Bond Jr.