Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta (MDA) Announces the 2020 Alberta Dealer of Excellence Winners:
Garrett Scott & Kelly Temple Named Alberta Dealers of Excellence
The MDA extends congratulations from dealers across the province to our 2020 Alberta Dealer of Excellence award winners, Garrett Scott, Scottsville Automotive Group in Red Deer, and Kelly Temple, Eastside Kia in Calgary.
While Scott is a third-generation auto dealer and Temple is an employee-turned-partner, both share a passion and appreciation for the industry. “It’s an amazing gift to be able to make a living doing something you enjoy so much. You have the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people,” says Temple. Another thing they have in common is a recognition that achieving their MDA awards is because of the teams they feel fortunate to lead. “Success is not mine alone; there is a lot of people who have contributed,” says Scott.
At age 34, Garrett Scott is the youngest person to be named dealer of excellence. It’s not just the automotive business that runs in the family; his father, Gordon, won the award in 2008. The younger Scott may have been born into the business but he certainly forged his own path to success. Examples of his “be unique” business philosophy include the one-person approach to the customer experience (e.g., customers deal with the same person throughout their vehicle purchase) and building the world’s first auto dealership to be certified by Passive House, an organization that promotes high-efficiency buildings that minimize ecological impact. Customer feedback indicates his tactics are hitting the mark. “We are proud to have earned hundreds of positive reviews and that all our stores, including our body shop, having ratings over 4.5-5 stars on Google, Facebook and Dealer Rater,” says Scott.
Temple began his automotive career in 1992 as a salesperson for Eastside Dodge. In 2010, McManes Auto Group opened Eastside Kia with Temple as general manager. Two years later, he became a partner and ever since that time, the dealership has been ranked the number one Kia dealer in the southern Alberta market. Temple believes success is rooted in transparency and accountability. “Our business operates with an economy of trust,” says Temple. “If our customers trust us, they will do business with us. If our employees trust us, they will enjoy working for us and be successful.”
The MDA awards the Dealer of Excellence annually to one metro dealer from Calgary or Edmonton and one non-metro dealer from the rest of the province. The award criteria are business acumen, community involvement and association/industry involvement. The award candidates are nominated by their peers and the applications are examined by a panel of past award recipients who select the winners. “It is an honour to be included with so many other successful dealers who have won this award,” says Temple. Scott concurs, adding, “Being the second generation to receive this award makes it even more meaningful to me.”
“Garrett and Kelly have achieved success by demonstrating exceptional commitment to their customers, staff, industry and communities in which they do business,” says Denis Ducharme, MDA president. “They are fine examples of the many excellent auto dealers we are fortunate to have as members.”
2020 Alberta Dealer of Excellence (Non-Metro):
Scottsville Automotive Group
Garrett Scott is a third-generation auto dealer who, at age 34, is the youngest person to be named MDA Dealer of Excellence. In addition to a love of the automotive business, excellence also runs in the family—Scott’s father, Gordon, received the same award in 2008.
At age 11, Scott started working at the dealership filling vending machines, then parts shipping and receiving and eventually taking the reins of the dealership’s online presence before heading to university. He earned a commerce degree from the University of Alberta in Finance in Marketing in 2007 and the following year took over the operations of the Scott family’s recently purchased Subaru franchise. In 2012, Scott became COO and partner of the Scottsville Automotive Group which includes Scott Subaru, Kipp Scott GMC and Scott’s 180 Collision in Red Deer and a Subaru dealership in Cranbrook, B.C.
Scott says his business philosophy has been simple: “Be transparent, be informative and be fair, but be unique.” Driven to achieve efficiency, the dealership has a unique “one-person approach,” blending sales and finance roles, meaning the customer is taken care of by the same employee from the showroom to delivery. The same structure applies to the service and parts advisor roles. “This role blending provides an enhanced customer experience and allows us to actively attract and retain the industry’s best talent due to the uniqueness and compensation afforded with larger responsibilities,” explains Scott. “The blended role has become infectious within our organization and now spread to all dealerships we operate.” Customer feedback indicates that the strategy is hitting the mark. “We are proud to have earned hundreds of positive reviews and that all our stores, including our body shop, having ratings over 4.5-5 stars on Google, Facebook and Dealer Rater.
The focus on being unique and pursuing efficiency extended to the building of a replacement Subaru facility. When it opened in June 2019, Scott Subaru was the world’s first Passive House-certified car dealership, achieving the international organization’s ecological footprint standards. The dealership is twice the size of its previous facility but consumes approximately half the energy. “On top of the being energy-efficient, the building also provides one of the best living conditions due to the air quality, air circulation, consistent pressures, humidity, temperature, and quietness,” Scott explains.
Scott served on MDA’s board of directors from 2011-2018, including a stint as chair in 2015 and as a director of the Canadian Auto Dealers Association from 2016-2019. “I learned a considerable amount from my experience on those boards and the value they hold for our business,” says Scott. “Before joining those boards, I had little knowledge regarding legislation, regulation, and the motivation behind it in our industry. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to serve on these boards as it opened my eyes to that side of the industry.”
Scott’s commitment to his industry is replicated in his community involvement endeavours. With a focus on children and the education system, a major initiative has been the funding of a new kitchen for Red Deer’s Normandeau School as well as the operations of its meal programs for children in need. The dealerships also support a similar program at Red Deer’s Spanish immersion school.
The Scottsville Group supports many other charities including men’s and women’s golf programs at Red Deer College and the University of Alberta, the Red Deer Salvation Army, Women’s Fun Run and more. Scott’s commitment to his community extends beyond financial support, having been a celebrity dance off participant in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters and chair of the 2018 and 2019 Red Deer Mustard Seed gala, which raised over $200,000 both years.
When asked to list three keys to success in the automotive retail industry, Scott replies: “1. Work with the facts. Put good systems in place that capture accurate information and use that logically. 2. Invest in people and process. Build a team based on mutual respect, accountability, and make sure everyone understands their role. When that happens, we all have more fun in a great working environment. 3. Do not be afraid to be different. Evaluate the competitive landscape and always search for a way to stand apart.”
In reflecting on receiving the MDA award, Scott is quick to point out that success is not a solitary pursuit. “Success is not mine alone. There are a lot of people who have contributed,” adding, “I’m still young—there are a lot more successes, failures and experiences to come.”
2020 Alberta Dealer of Excellence (Metro):
Eastside Kia, Calgary
Kelly Temple sowed the seeds for his long career in the automotive industry when he took a job right out of high school as an auto detailer. However, it wasn’t until years later when those seeds took root. It was 1992, and Temple was in the midst of transitioning his family back to Calgary from Toronto, when a friend suggested he should try auto sales. He joined the McManes Auto team at Eastside Dodge and his career quickly progressed into management.
“I quickly learned that in our business we’re selling more than cars and service; we’re in the business of selling trust to our customers. If they trust us, they’ll do business with us. I’ve found that trust can be earned by working hard for our customers, being transparent and, most importantly, when we make a mistake, own it and take responsibility for it.” Earning and building trust is the foundation of Temple’s business philosophy, which extends to staff management. “Be honest, fair and do your best to have empathy. Our teams work hard and it is amazing that just letting them know we appreciate them will go a long way to earning trust. And, most importantly, never be afraid to apologize if you make a mistake,” he advises, repeating his emphasis on the relationship between accountability and trust.
In 2010, McManes Auto Group opened Eastside Kia with Temple as general manager. Two years later, he became a partner and ever since that time, the dealership has been ranked the number one Kia dealer in the southern Alberta market. Those results correlate to its consistently high consumer satisfaction index (CSI) and earning Kia’s 2015 Canadian dealer of the year award. Temple is grateful for the opportunity and support of company CEO Jim McManes. “He is the person in this industry that I respect the most … It’s an amazing gift to be able to make a living doing something you enjoy so much.”
Temple credits his parents for developing his strong work ethic and his team for the dealership’s success. “I’m proud to say that the team at Eastside Kia is the finest that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” he says. “I would also say that my wife of 35 years, Bonnie, our two sons, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren have not only helped me to be successful, they are how I would define true success.”
Temple served as president of the Calgary Motor Dealers Association (CMDA) and on the MDA’s board of directors. “I believe that both CMDA and MDA are extremely valuable to the dealers of Alberta. And, they are ‘our’ associations. With that in mind, I felt it was my responsibility to serve and give back if the opportunity came up. Unexpectedly, the greatest benefit to me personally was all of the relationships and new friends I made while on these boards.
In 2012, inspired to support a staff member who had been diagnosed with cancer, Temple rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 200-kilometre cycling event and has since supported financially supported riders every year. The dealership’s main community support initiative is its Eastside Kia Families program, supporting any cause or fundraiser that the children of its employees are involved. “Not only has the response been great, but it seems like I’m never in short supply of perogies and Spolumbo’s sausage,” Temple says.
Temple says he was very excited to learn he’d been named the 2020 MDA Dealer of Excellence. “It is an honour to be included with so many other successful dealers who have won this award,” he explains. While accolades and awards are nice, what Temple finds most rewarding about achieving success is helping others achieve theirs. “I have really enjoyed helping people on our team grow and be successful in their own careers the way so many great leaders have helped me.” One of those leaders was Gord Moors, a former dealer principal at Varsity Chrysler with the McManes Auto Group who recently passed away. “He told me to be the type of leader that I would want to follow,” Temple recalls. “I’ve always remembered that when working to build our team.”