Promoted for his educational background, experience and ambition, Carlos Sandoval, now Fixed Operations Director, is enjoying his transition into overseeing the service department operations at Bartow Ford Co. “The service department is the backbone of the dealership,” Carlos asserts.
Upon graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Business Management, in addition to certification in Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders, Carlos persisted to continue his education. Post-graduation he was selected for a new program, in conjunction with Arizona State University, for Ford’s initiative in Automotive Dealership Education Program for Minorities (ADEPM). Ford’s program was designed to transition graduates into owning their own dealership. However, due to the economy and industry slump, program adjustments were required.
Ford extended additional education for one year into the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Dealer Management Academy. NADA has its own training program for future dealers and managers to ensure a smooth-running, profitable dealership through leadership transitions.
While attending the Academy, Carlos learned how to comprehend dealership financial statements and his education encompassed
comprehensive overviews of a Ford store including in-depth working knowledge of each department within the store. His final project involved evaluating a dealer’s processes and making recommendations for improvement. Upon completion graduates were encouraged to seek management positions.
Accepting a golden opportunity to be aligned with one of Ford Motor Company’s top 100 dealers, Carlos moved from Phoenix to Lakeland with his wife, Laurie, their son Enrique, now 12 and accepted a sales manager’s position at Bartow Ford 6 years ago.
Benny Robles Sr., President of Bartow Ford, incites “After Carlos’ program ended we promoted him to Fixed Operations Manager.
I found Carlos to be an industrious young man with a potential to become a very successful Ford dealer”.
“Bartow Ford embraced me as part of their family when I relocated from Phoenix. I didn’t know anyone here.” Carlos added,
“Benny Sr. (president), Bob (vice-president), and Denny (secretary-treasurer) have all been great mentors to me.”
Bartow Ford’s new Fixed Operations Manager will be participating in the Leadership Bartow program this year with the Bartow Chamber of Commerce.
In his free time Carlos enjoys road biking, running, and spending time with his family. In June, he and Laurie were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Phoenyx. “Bartow is a great place to raise my family,” he says.
As Greg Corbin tells his story of great fortitude with his start at Bartow Ford in 1989, you are instantly warmed by his grand smile and boyish face.
As a young man, Greg started out working for an outside company contracted by Bartow Ford for cleaning new vehicles. Jonathan Smith, Used Car Department Service Manager, offered Greg his first position at Bartow Ford as a lot porter for used cars.
A few years later at the age of 21, recently marrying his wife Joanie, Mr. Corbin decided he needed to take the next step with his career.
So in 1992 he began training with the Sheriff’s Department. Having learned Greg had decided to attend school, Benny Robles Sr. offered him a career opportunity. Greg confirms, in retrospect, the event that changed his life.”Benny gave me a week off to watch training videos and suggested to buy myself some nice clothes. I came back a salesman.”
Greg’s first few months as a salesman didn’t go very well. “Benny came to me every month saying ‘You’re only selling 5 or 6 vehicles a month, we can’t keep you!’ Les Lawn (a legendary Bartow Ford salesman) took me under his wing and taught me how to sell. After that I was winning trips to Vegas and cruises every year!” he beamed.
Having wanted to become a manager for years, Greg persevered in learning from other leaders in the organization.”Benny would give me
bits and pieces of things to read and learn. When the manager position opened up, I was ready. I learned a lot from Benny Sr.,
especially people skills. Benny is the biggest reason I am where I am today.”
“The first car I ever sold was a 1992 Explorer Sport to a Lakeland Police Sergeant. I still remember the color! It was green.”
Greg continues to get excited when he reminisces about his sales career over the years. “Bartow Ford has grown and moved in the last
20 years, but we’ve always done business the same way. We’re a family operated company with family values. My favorite thing about
Bartow Ford is the people I work with. That’s where the fun is. I also have great customers. One buys his vehicles all the way from
St. Croix and even came to visit me!”
A favorite memory of Bartow Ford, about 10 years ago, is the day a customer brought along his spider monkey to shop for a vehicle.
Greg laughingly adds “Someone opened the car door and the monkey started running around the dealership!
Everyone was trying to help the owner catch him.”
21 years later Greg is impassioned about his career as a manager at Bartow Ford. His plans may also include a new purchase.
“My dream car is a red 2005 Ford GT. Those things are just cool.”
Tags: Arizona State University, Automotive Entrepreneurs and Leaders, Bartow Chamber of Commerce, Bartow Ford, Benny Robles Sr, Carlos Sandoval, congratulations, Dealer Management Academy, Fixed Operations Manager, Greg Corbin, Leadership Bartow, NADA, New Vehicle Manager, Parts and Service Director, promotion, spider monkey