How World War II shapes the workplace culture at Vernon Gene's

Vernon Gene's location

Vernon Gene’s Mega Store may a newer business venture for Doggett Equipment Services, but the work ethic the company was built on? That was forged during World War II.

Vernon Gene Doggett served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Battle of Berlin. After the war, he returned home and graduated from Texas A&M University before embarking on a successful business career.

Known for his hard work and resiliency — one of his favorite sayings was “Of course you’re tired. We’ll stop when we’re done.” — Doggett imparted those same traits in his children. His son, Leslie Doggett, founded Doggett Equipment Services on the same principles in 1993 and over the last three decades, the business has grown into one of the largest construction and trucking dealer groups in North America.

Vernon Gene’s teaching had a lot to do with that. When the company opened a trailer and used truck business within its trucking division in 2019, Leslie Doggett chose to call it Vernon Gene’s. His father taught him the value of smart business planning, product selection and customer service, and Vernon Gene’s was created to embody those traits.

“When we were creating this business, Leslie wanted to do something in remembrance of his father,” says Jon Boeve, director of trailer sales and used trucks. “We felt what better name could we give this business than the name of a war hero who did so many great things?”

Within a year, the business was receiving accolades from its OEM partners for its sales and service excellence. It also is celebrating its four-year anniversary this fall as one of five finalists for the inaugural Trailblazer Award, powered by Successful Dealer.

Vernon Gene's cashierThanks to its association with Doggett Equipment Services, Vernon Gene's has a workforce with lots of industry experience despite the company's recent inception.

Vernon Gene’s is carrying on its namesake’s legacy behind a value proposition and mission statement that strives to deliver consistently excellent customer experiences. Says Boeve, “Our goal is to provide end to end solutions to empower our customers to thrive in their operations.”

He adds, “We believe our innovative approach, customer centric mindset and ability to adapt enable us to stand out in this industry.”

The company is definitely standing out in its area of operation. Boeve says one of the company’s trailer manufacturers was selling very little product in Texas before Vernon Gene’s earned the region. Since taking on the line, Vernon Gene’s has been a top seller in the OEM’s entire dealer network two years in a row.

Boeve credits the company’s customer-centric approach for the success, which he says starts with getting to know customers and their needs. Cookie-cutter service doesn’t work in the trailer dealer space, Boeve says, and Vernon Gene’s avoids trying to fit customers into predetermined segments. Instead, the company’s sales team is instructed to learn the ins and outs of a customer’s operation and create proposals to meet their distinct needs.

[RELATED: Doggett Freightliner wins 2019 Successful Dealer Award]

A continuous improvement team also supports those interactions, ceaselessly searching for ways to strengthen Vernon Gene’s customer responses and business effectiveness.

“We bring tailored solutions with significant value to each customer operation,” Boeve says.

Vernon Gene’s works hard to make sure customers’ understand its operation. Boeve says a lot of the business’ marketing is geared around showcasing the full scope of its business. In addition to its trailer brands, Vernon Gene’s has a large used truck business as well as diverse service line card and full parts inventory. And as a business within Doggett Equipment Services, Vernon Gene’s also can support customers with new equipment or other industry needs by connecting them with the company’s other divisions.

Boeve says conveying all those services and actively seeking to uncover and solve customer challenges make for busy days, but the company’s workforce is up to it. He says the company namesake’s “we’ll stop when we’re done” quote embodies the company’s culture.

“There is a sense of unity and shared purpose within everyone on our team,” he says.

Recruitment has a lot to do with that. Boeve says Vernon Gene’s has “an incredible HR department” that excels at community outreach and creating visibility for the business. And once hired, employees are thoroughly trained on daily business practices and product lines.

Boeve also notes the company’s career development paths as a key to success. He says when associates are hired, they are briefed on the upward mobility potential within the business, which often motivates associates to commit to the company’s vision and strive to raise the bar on customer service at all times.

“We’re very blessed that we don’t have a lot of turnover,” he says. “We have a lot of people who have been with us [within Doggett Freightliner] for 30 to 40 years … I think that helps us because new people quickly see the culture we have.”

The Trailblazer Award was created in 2023 recognize and honor North America’s trailer dealer community for their essential support of the transportation industry. The Trailblazer Award is graciously sponsored by Hendrickson and Procede Software. To learn more about the program, go the award page.

Vernon Gene's trailersIn a short period of time, Vernon Gene's has been able to gain huge market share in its region. The business has already been honored by multiple trailer OEMs for sales success.

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