Danny Ford Receives Statewide Award
Danny Ford of Glen Sain Motor Sales, Inc. has been named Arkansas Business Executive of the Year by Arkansas Business magazine. The honor was bestowed Thursday evening in the 30th annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards banquet, held at the statehouse convention center in Little Rock.
Ford, of Rector, was nominated for the prestigous honor along with Richard Howe, of Inovu, Inc., and Drew Weber, of U.S. Pizza Co.
Ford oversees operations of four dealerships, including the flagship GMC franchise at Rector where he got his start in the early 1970s. The family business includes his sons, Kirk and Todd, and also operates Chevrolet-Buick and Cadillac dealerships in Kennett and Paragould and a Ford dealership in Paragould.
“I'm not sure how this happened, but I can sure tell you I appreciate it, thank you a lot,” Ford said in accepting the recognition. “I've been blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Gail, my children and grandchildren, and they're all here tonight-stand up. They're all here except for one grandson who's playing in a regional basketball tournament game and couldn't be here.”
Ford then shared the story of how he came to own the dealerships, and the early days of working for his father-in-law, Glen Sain following his graduation from ASU in 1972. Noting the importance of family in his success, he shared the experiences of spending the first year and a half in the auto sales business washing cars—something both his sons also had the chance to experience.
Despite having the last name of Ford, Danny and Gail purchased the dealership in 1983 from Mr. Sain, who was suffering from health issues. The namesake of the business died in 1987, but the Fords chose to keep the name alive.
“As we continued to operate the dealership we continued to use Mr. Sain's name, and we hope he's real proud of us,” Ford adds.
These days Ford isn’t as hands-on as he was in his younger days but he has no plans to retire. He said the secret to his company’s success is hiring good people.
“I’ve never claimed to be a real smart businessman, but I do a really good job of choosing people,” Ford said. “Most of my family is involved in the business. Surround yourself with really good people and then you can grow.”
Ford said the most important lesson he learned from his father-in-law was to always focus on serving the customer. Ford said that is why he deals with customers whose grandparents first bought cars from Glen Sain Motors; Ford said he has a rule that if he is at a dealership when a sale is made, he wants to meet and shake hands with the buyer.
“We don’t just sell a vehicle to a person. We try to build a relationship,” Ford said.
Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock presents the awards each year to honor businesses, nonprofits and executives in Arkansas. Arkansas Business readers nominate executives and organizations for the awards, and an independent panel of judges determines the winners.
Those wanting to watch Ford's acceptance speech may do so by accessing the video at the following link, www.arkansasbusiness.com/people/aboy/693/danny-ford