Julie Kimes: Wonder Woman
A picture perfect family and a successful career? It is often debated on whether or not women can have both. Julie Kimes, General Sales Manager at O'DanielAutomart/Mazda proves that it really is possible to have it all. An inspiration to other women in the workforce (especially for statistically male dominated realms such as the car business), Julie brings to the table 23 plus years at O'Daniels and an entire family history tied to the car lot. Her mother and stepfather met at a dealership, and later owned their own where Julie and her brothers and sisters all grew up. Family values tie in easily for Julie, and O'Daniel's promise is to create an environment of mutual trust and respect. With a background of growth and avant guard development in the way cars are sold, Julie has spent her career dedicated to delivering extraordinary service and value. The hard work has clearly paid off, with the Mazda store winning the 2013 Indiana Dealer of the year by DealerRater (which is a very big honor in the car world). It is understandable then, that Julie's proudest moment was earning that award this year. "I take great pride in providing exceptional customer service and making it easy for a customer. I have two children and work full time. I know how priceless time can be."
Notoriously ... sticky ... the car industry has a bad rap that's hard to shake. Julie is determined to break free of old stereotypical reputations. Her main objective when she took over as GSM for O'Daniel Automart/Mazda was to create a dealership where buying a car was a pleasant experience. "We don't play games, we don't use gimmicks, we value a customer's time, and provide customer service second to NONE." Clearly, this was also a general consensus among the local population. Based solely on independent customer reviews, the DealerRater award also earned the Mazda store a national finalist nomination, yet another great accomplishment in the industry.
Having fun is a key ingredient of success, and Julie admits to enjoying everything about her job, including the people she works with every day. People are the real fabric of society, and are what can make or break any situation. Thankfully, Julie has a great team and just couldn't say enough glowing words about them. "I'm truly blessed to work with such an incredible staff that share the same values."
MidWestern wholesomeness doesn't stop at work either. When she's not taking care of business at the dealership, or organizing an aggressive and innovative online presence, she is spending time with her husband Bob, daughter Ashley and son Daniel. A gourmet chef to those who've had the privilege to taste her cuisine (this author included), Julie's whole family also shares a passion for golf. In short, Julie Kimes has ascended the automotive ladder and maintained not only her dignity and honor, but a well rounded family and personal life as well.
For anyone out there thinking about joining the car business, these parting words: "I would say 'DO IT!' But I would add: 'Be a professional, and always take care of your customers.'"
A sand dragon made by Julie and Bob on vacation in the Gulf Shores.
Photo Credit: Tony Frantz