Doggett Freightliner of Arkansas was named the winner of the 2019 Successful Dealer Award during a presentation Thursday at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
Sponsored by Automann, Interstate Billing and National Truck Protection/Premium 2000, the Successful Dealer Award seeks to recognize and honor North America’s best medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers for their efforts serving their customers and their communities.
A previous award finalist in 2015 and 2017, Doggett Freightliner earned this year’s award for its impressive commitment in both areas.
Acquired by Leslie Doggett Industries (LDI) last spring, the North Little Rock-located Doggett Freightliner of Arkansas has undergone significant improvements over the last 18 months. Its new parent company has enhanced its training and support structure and introduced a corporate culture of inclusivity that has helped spur sales growth across the board.
“The biggest thing [LDI] did was it empowered our employees. That’s a big part of their culture. They’ve allowed our people to take ownership of their own jobs,” says General Manager Brett Graves, who was joined by Vice President Paul Burk and New Truck Sales Manager Steve Hancock in accepting the Successful Dealer Award.
“For us it’s all about the customer,” adds Hancock. “Our owner Leslie Doggett pushes world-class service and believes if we take care of our customers and build those relationships, those partnerships allow both of us to succeed.”
Graves says employee engagement is up companywide since the acquisition was finalized, with associates now volunteering to stay late and work together to solve customer issues.
Additionally, he says many of the dealership’s departments have seen reduced employee turnover despite growing significantly. Service Manager Chris Gray says his workforce has more than doubled in less than two years — and he hasn’t had to recruit much to add those employees.
“It’s been a lot of word of mouth,” he says. “Our techs are telling their buddies to come work for us.”
Yet despite its individual recruiting success, Doggett Freightliner also remains engaged in strengthening the nation’s technician force. The dealer is a major donor to and supporter of Be Pro Be Proud, an Arkansas Chamber of Commerce program that educates high school students about vocational career opportunities, while also remaining engaged with the diesel and heavy truck vo-tech programs in the North Little Rock area.
The company’s civic engagements are equally impressive. In addition to support for local children’s hospitals, veterans’ associations, scholarship programs and youth sports groups, Doggett Freightliner of Arkansas also is a major supporter of the Arkansas State Police Department’s Truck Convoy for the Special Olympics — the largest charitable truck convoy in the U.S.
“We’re taking part in more events now than I can possibly recall,” Graves jokes.
Doggett’s win Thursday is the second in a row for the Freightliner dealer network. Four Star Freightliner earned last year’s award, and the Daimler truck brand also was represented this year by finalists Kansas City Freightliner, Truck Center Companies and Truck Country/Stoops Freightliner-Quality Trailer. Rounding out this year’s top five was back-to-back finalist The Larson Group.
Previous Successful Dealer Award winners were TEC Equipment (2013), Truck Centers Inc. (2014), Freightliner of St. Cloud (2015), River States Truck and Trailer (2016), Inland Kenworth (2017) and Four Star Freightliner (2018).
Graves, Hancock and Burk were presented the Successful Dealer Award by Trucks, Parts, Service Editor Lucas Deal and award sponsor representatives from Automann, Interstate Billing and Premium 2000/National Truck Protection.