Ford to be Honored at ASU Homecoming
The Arkansas State University Alumni Association will present its Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2013 at Homecoming this Saturday, Oct. 12. This year's honorees include Danny L. Ford of Rector, Roy Ockert, Jr., of Jonesboro and Darrel Cunningham of Ft. Smith. All three are devoted alumni, highly regarded for extensive achievements in both their communities and professions.
Danny Ford of Rector is known as a successful businessman in the region, and is president and CEO of Glen Sain Motors, Inc., which operates General Motors dealerships in Rector, Kennett and Paragould and a Ford dealership in Paragould.
"I don't care what level you reach or how much success you have, it always makes you feel honored to get acknowledgement and receive an award like this," Ford remarked as he learned of the recognition.
Together Ford's businesses employ nearly 100 people. But, he is quick to point out the key to success lies with his employees. "I never have taken credit for being a businessman," he explained. "I do take credit for selecting great people to work with. We're just a big family."
To prepare for his career operating the dealerships, he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Arkansas State in 1972. In doing so, he became the first member of his family to graduate college. And, Ford is also quick to offer encouragement to younger generations and point out the importance of a good education. "There are always opportunities out there if you will apply yourself and work at it," he surmised.
As a member of the ASU Foundation, Inc., Board and the Chancellor's Cabinet, Ford's assistance to the university and its projects, especially the Johnny Cash Music Festival and restoration of Cash's boyhood home at Dyess, has been extensive.
He is a past chairman of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association and has served on the association's executive board for the past 18 years. He has received GM's top award in customer satisfaction annually and has been recognized as a top GM dealer in sales and service for the past 15 years.
Ford is well-known in Rector and the surrounding region for the financial support he has given to civic projects, including Rector High School's athletic facilities, the Rector Veterans Memorial Park, the Paragould Main Street Art and Stroll and the NEA Duck Classic. Bearing testament to his involvement, he has a large collection of photos, trophies and signed baseballs, and other items from teams he's sponsored in Rector, Kennett, Paragould and Senath throughout the years.
In fact, his involvement in youth sports is one of the activities he holds most dear. "I love the kids, I love the different organizations that mostly cater to kids. I keep up with what's going on around our communities and try to support the kids as much as I can. That's something I have always been interested in, going back to the days when I played baseball in Little League, Junior Babe Ruth and things like that," he explained. "I want the kids today to have the opportunity to be a part of the different programs that are available."
He also is known statewide for his longtime service as a member of the Arkansas Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission as an appointee of three different governors. During that time he also has served as chair and vice chair of the commission.
Also a 1924 Sustaining Life Member of the Alumni Association, he and his wife, Gail, are the parents of two sons, Kirk Ford and Todd Ford.
In looking back on the years since he left ASU, and the success he has enjoyed, Ford continues to live by a simple philosophy, as he observes "you can never go wrong by being nice to people."
This marks the 30th year the association has recognized the university's most outstanding alumni. A ceremony recognizing Ford, Ockert and Cunningham will be held at halftime of the football game with Idaho Saturday evening.
The distinguished alumni presentation is just one of many activities set for homecoming week at ASU. For a complete schedule of all events, interested individuals may visit the A-State Homecoming 2013 website, www.astate.edu/a/homecoming/2013/, or contact Alumni Relations at (870) 972-2586 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org