The American Truck Dealers (ATD), Trucks, Parts, Service and Procede Software are pleased to announce the nominees for the 2024 Truck Dealer of the Year, a national award that recognizes commercial-truck dealers for business performance, industry leadership and their efforts to serve their local communities.
The nominees were selected by state, metro and national dealer association leaders, and fellow ATD members. This year, seven commercial truck dealers were nominated. The nominees are:
Paul Burk, executive vice president of Doggett Freightliner (San Antonio, Texas)
Over the last decade, Burk has overseen the impressive growth of Doggett Freightliner. He attributes this success to his ability to attract the best leaders in the industry and create a winning culture through empowering his employees.
K.C. Heidler, president and CEO of Tom’s Truck Center (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Heidler spent years working alongside his father, who acquired the business after owning gas stations and a tow truck operation. A graduate of the first class of the American Truck Dealers Academy, he has more than 32 years of industry experience and continues to drive Tom’s Truck Center forward.
Katie Hopkins, president and COO of Truck Centers, Inc. (Troy, Ill.)
Hopkins is the third generation of her family to lead the company and has played a key role in TCI’s expansion beyond Illinois and the St. Louis region, ensuring the smooth integration of new team members, data, and processes into the TCI network. She was an early adopter of Daimler Trucks North America’s Elite Support continuous improvement/lean management program and has served on its Dealer Advisory Board.
Brian O’Donnell, president of Valley Truck Centers (Cleveland, Ohio)
O'Donnell served as minority partner and operations manager, then general manager before becoming president. Valley Ford was chosen to be one of the nation’s pilot dealers for the Freightliner franchise and has evolved from a single point into a network with a variety of brands across Ohio.
Bill Reilley, Jr., CEO and president of Lakeside International/Badgerland Idealease (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Reilley has nearly four decades of experience in the commercial truck industry, starting at an early age by working for his father at Lakeside International. Under his leadership, Lakeside International has grown to eight retail locations and a parts distribution center and has been recognized with Navistar’s Circle of Excellence and Presidential Award and the Idealease OneElite Award.
Jim Schroeder, president of Peterbilt Pacific (Surrey, British Columbia)
Leader of one of Canada’s largest Peterbilt dealers, Schroeder maintains long-established standards of excellence, proven durability, and high resale value for trucks. Since taking on the role of president, he has seen the company grow from five branches to 11.
Dennis Ross, president of Kenworth of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Starting his career as a design engineer at Kenworth, Ross held various roles within the OEM, including as district sales manager. When Kenworth offered "guaranteed loan" arrangements to convert internal employees into dealer principals, he jumped at the opportunity.
A panel of judges from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business will evaluate the nominees and select a winner. The winner will also have the opportunity to serve as a guest lecturer at the University to share their professional story with students interested in entrepreneurship. Additionally, they will serve on the ATD Board of Line Representatives for a one-year term in a non-voting role.
The 2024 winner will succeed 2022-2023 Truck Dealer of the Year nominee Kari Rihm, president and CEO Rihm Kenworth in St. Paul, Minn.
The winner will be announced during this year’s ATD Show opening general session on Feb. 2. The annual ATD Show runs from Feb. 1-3, at the Wynn Las Vegas. The four-day event runs concurrently with NADA Show 2024. For more information and to register for ATD Show 2024, visit www.atdshow.org.