Park Place Dealerships Celebrates Teachers of the Year

Park Place Dealerships have been supporting teachers of the year in numerous school districts for years across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This year Park Place recognized teachers in Plano, Carroll, Allen, Colleyville-Grapevine and Prosper ISD.

“Teachers inspire and encourage kids to explore and learn new concepts from kindergarten to high school,” said Park Place Dealerships Managing Director, Tony Carimi, “It’s hard work and everyone at Park Place recognizes and applauds their efforts which benefits our entire community.”

The Plano ISD and Park Place Lexus Plano recently recognized Plano ISD Teachers of the Year Sierra Imper of The Colony and Ericka Lindsey of Frisco.  Sierra Imper was named Elementary Teacher of the Year for Rose Hagger Elementary School. Erika Lindsey was named Secondary Teacher of the Year for Vines High School. 

Carroll ISD and Park Place Jaguar Land Rover recognized Carroll ISD Teachers of the Year Scott Bishop and Claire Hinkle. Scott Bishop is a third-grade teacher at Old Union Elementary.  Claire Hinkle is a math teacher at Carroll High School. 

Allen ISD and Park Place Lexus Plano recognized Allen ISD Teachers of the Year Kaley Mancuso and Trey Stolp.  Kaley Mancuso is a third-grade teacher at Marion Elementary. Trey Stolp is an eighth-grade teacher at Curtis Middle School. 

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Park Place Lexus Grapevine recently recognized Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Teachers of the Year Lynette Hollinger and Carolyn Province. Lynette Hollinger was named Elementary Teacher of the Year at Glenhope Elementary. Carolyn Province is the Secondary Teacher of the Year at Grapevine High School. 

Prosper ISD and Park Place Lexus Plano recognized Prosper ISD Teachers of the Year Heather Clay and Margie Raper. Clay was named Elementary Teacher of the Year at Cockrell Elementary. Raper is Secondary Teacher of the Year at Rock Hill High School. 

The CISD teachers were offered a summer in a Range Rover Evoque. Teachers in Plano ISD, Allen ISD, and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD were offered a summer in a Lexus IS or NX.



Clicklane – 100% Online Purchasing Experience

The online car buying process has been evolving over the last decade and Park Place Dealerships has rolled out Clicklane, a seamless online experience that has simplified the car buying and selling process, saving the consumer significant time to complete the transaction.

“We want to meet clients where they are most comfortable and Clicklane gives the buyer or seller complete control,” said Tony Carimi, Managing Director of Park Place Dealerships. “Some clients enjoy in-person car shopping while others want to make the transaction as straightforward as possible. Through Clicklane, our clients can skip the visit to the dealership and complete the entire purchase online.

Clicklane is a unique platform that allows the consumer to buy or sell their automobile in approximately 15 minutes. While the online car-buying experience has been available for some time, Clicklane modifies the process to six easy steps that include:

  • Find Your Dream Car – New, Pre-Owned or Certified (3 minutes)
  • Easy Trade – Enter VIN to get value of your car and real-time payoff amount (3 minutes)
  • Pick Your Payments – Select a payment structure that works for you (3 minutes)
  • Get the Best Rate – Choose the rate you want from more than 30 lenders (3 minutes)
  • Digitally Sign Paperwork– Sign all documents via DocuSign® (3 minutes) and wait for the car to be delivered to your home or business within a few days.

“Park Place is best known for its great customer service and Clicklane extends this experience right to the front door of our most loyal clients, as well as attracts new clients,” continued Carimi. “Online shopping will continue to grow and we expect the automotive category will represent a shift in this trend from first-time buyers to high-income earners.”

Clicklane has a seven-day, 1,000-mile money back guarantee on all online purchases. The consumer can return the vehicle to the dealership at their expense in the same condition as it was upon delivery with no questions asked.

Unlike other online buying platforms, Clicklane gives real-time information such as trade-in values calculated to the penny, as well as loan payoffs. Payment figures are based on local taxes and fees so the consumer can be confident the calculations are accurate during the online purchasing experience.

Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987. For the past 34 years, the company has been engaged in the community through its support of the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy and education. Park Place employs more than 1,400 members and operates eight full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. For more info, visit


Gary Venner, Park Place Jaguar-Land Rover DFW general manager, was recently inducted into the Carroll ISD Athletics Hall of Honor for achievements in baseball, track, and football. He graduated from a class of only 53 students at Southlake High School in 1976.

Other Class of 2020 Hall of Honor inductees included:

  • Shannon McGowan, Class of 1977, Track & Field
  • Shelly Adamcik, Class of 1999, Volleyball/Track
  • Jessa Vacek, Class of 2001, Track & Field
  • Doug Strickland, Fan/Supporter
  • Justin Leonard, 2004 – Present, Cross Country Coach
  • 2004 Golf Team

“I’ve been part of some very successful teams,” said Venner. “I was catcher at Ranger Junior College in 1978 when we won the NJCAA World Series. There was not a single player good enough to carry the team and win that title. But together we achieved something remarkable.” 

Venner also played baseball at the University of Texas, where his team finished fifth in the College World Series in 1979. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1980. He played and coached four seasons for minor league clubs in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa.

“I worked off season selling cars,” explained Venner. “I was making more money in the car business than I was playing professional baseball. I spent the next 18 years at Hudiburg Chevy before joining Park Place in 2003. I was named General Manager of Lexus Plano the next year. Then I was GM at Lexus Grapevine from 2007 to 2014.” 

In 2005, Venner was part of the team that helped Park Place Lexus win the Malcolm Baldrige Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence. Park Place Lexus was the first automobile dealer to ever win the prestigious award. 

“Winning the Malcolm Baldrige Award was a high point in my career,” he said. “It’s not what I achieved, but what we achieved together as a team that makes me proud. Just like in athletics, I’ve made life-long friends working in the car business; both with the people I’ve worked with and the relationships I’ve been blessed to cultivate with clients who I now consider friends first.” 

Venner served as president of Park Place Dealerships from 2014 – 2017, but he missed the one-on-one interactions at the dealership level. He returned to Lexus Grapevine as GM, then in 2019, he became GM for Park Place Jaguar-Land Rover DFW in Grapevine.

“I reached the pinnacle of the career ladder and realized it wasn’t what really made me happy,” he explained. “I love the day to day operations of the car business. I always have. I enjoy working with my team to achieve our goals while helping them grow as individuals. Most of all, I love helping clients realize their dreams when it comes to their car ownership experience.”

Gary is married to Kayla Venner, a former second grade teacher at Southlake Elementary School. In November, the couple will celebrate 40 years of marriage. They raised their children (Morgan, 31, and Colton 27) in Colleyville. 

Park Place Jaguar-Land Rover is located on the south side of East State Highway 114 in Grapevine. The dealership has been the recipient of the Pride of Jaguar Retailer Excellence Award for the past three years in a row. Park Place Dealerships has been named among the “Top 100 Places to Work” by the Dallas Morning News for the past nine consecutive years. Park Place Dealerships also ranked in the top 10 for corporations in Dallas/Fort Worth and was named the best company for training.

Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987. For the past 34 years, the company has been engaged in the community through its support of the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy and education. Park Place Dealerships employs more than 1,400 members and operates eight full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. For more info, visit

Dallas Mercedes-Benz Team Wins National Competition, Places in Top 15 Worldwide

DALLAS (May 19, 2021) – Park Place Motorcars Dallas recently was crowned the best Customer Experience team in the country during the Mercedes-Benz Global Customer Experience Challenge. The team included Motorcars Dallas team members Darren Densman, centralized diagnostic technician of Kaufman, Texas; Brian Johnson, sales experience manager, of Dallas; Alfonso McClurg, master technician, of Dallas; C.J. Harper, service manager, of Heartland Texas; Matt Overs, Shop Foreman, of Mesquite; and Erik Bohdan, sales experience manager, of Dallas.

Mercedes-Benz teams from across the country competed online in various quests focused on connectivity. By proving their expertise, the Motorcars Dallas team finished first to win the National Championship. The Park Place Motorcars Dallas team then went on to place 14th worldwide out of 889 teams and 4,830 participants from 25 countries in the Global competition.

“This is a tremendous honor for our team,” said Tony Carimi, managing director of Park Place Dealerships. “As an organization, Mercedes-Benz is known as ‘The Best of the Best.’ It certainly applies to this talented group of professionals who are committed to working together and delivering only the best for our clients.”

Mercedes-Benz USA recognizes only the top 22 percent of its dealerships with the Best of the Best Award. That means only one out of five dealerships receive this esteemed award. Park Place Motorcars Dallas has been awarded this prestigious honor more than a dozen times.

Park Place Motorcars Dallas, located at 6113 Lemmon Avenue near Love Field Airport, has 350 members; more than 50 who have been with Park Place for more than a decade; 40 have 15 – 20 years tenure; 16 have 20 – 30 years; nine have served 30 or more years, and two people more than 40 years. 

“I’m very proud of our team,” said Park Place Motorcars Dallas General Manager Robert Morris. “This achievement is about our members, and what they do every day to earn trust through honesty and hard work. Our team continues to find innovative ways to deliver an outstanding client ownership experience.”

Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987. For the past 34 years, the company has been engaged in the community through its support of the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy and education. Park Place Dealerships employs more than 1,400 members and operates eight full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. For more info, visit

Member Spotlight on Bryan West: Rockin’ It Since 1987

It was the year that President Reagan called on the Soviet Union’s General Secretary to “Tear down this wall!” “Dirty Dancing” and “Moonstruck” were lighting up America’s silver screens. U2 and Michael Jackson dropped their respective albums, “The Joshua Tree” and “Bad.” Cell phones looked like (and weighed as much as) bricks, women wore power suits with shoulder pads and stonewashed jeans were a definite thing.  


That’s when Bryan West started working in the parts department at the very first Park Place location on Oak Lawn in Dallas.

“I was five years old,” he chuckles.

Today, as Parts Director at Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth, the Irving, Texas, native certainly has a lifetime of memories to look back on.

“I’d been working the parts desk at another dealership on the far west side of Fort Worth,” he recalls. “My manager at the time signed on with Park Place, which had been open for only a month or so, and told Ken (Schnitzer, the founder and then-owner), that he had a young man he’d like to bring with him. I interviewed, we agreed, shook hands and that was it. That’s how we did things back then. And it worked out pretty well, since I’m still with the organization and still having fun.”

He also remembers – vividly – when the first shipment of 1986 560 SLs arrived. The hugely popular roadsters were updated with a powerful new 5.6-liter V-8 engine boasting a mighty (for then) 227 horsepower, 287 lb-ft of torque and an attendant suspension boost. “A big shipment was delivered down the street and the cars needed to be driven back to the store. So a bunch of us volunteered to help.” 

It’s worth noting that West grew up in a family of competitive drag racers, so the SL’s 227-hp was chicken feed compared to the 750-hp monsters he knew. “My dad had a competition license for years and did very well, so I followed in his footsteps. But it’s an expensive hobby and when my family started to grow, it became a bit much. Plus, various rule changes made it harder for the average guy to compete, so I trailered everything and then sold it all. Sad day, but I’m perfectly okay with being a spectator.”

West rose steadily through the Park Place dealership organization, taking advantage of opportunities as the business expanded into the Mid Cities and the Fort Worth store where he won promotion to his current role in 2005.

“Park Place is fantastic,” he says. “I started out driving a truck but have always been allowed to grow and have never felt like a number. Our culture is built on growth and that’s a big deal to me. A career is about much more than just a job and Park Place has certainly delivered.”

Along the way, he’s been recognized by the company and his peers for leadership, quality and expertise: Coach of the Year (four times), Mercedes Benz Accessory Board, Dealer Parts Council, Master Guild Award (2008), president of the Texas-Oklahoma MB Parts Club, among many other organizations and associations.

He’s also the first to admit that it’s fun looking back on nearly 34 years of a satisfying, challenging career. But he much prefers focusing on the road yet to be traveled. In particular, paying it forward.

“I care a lot more about people than they might think, given this sort of stern face that I have,” he laughs, then turns serious. “It really matters to me that people get more out of their work than just a paycheck. I want my legacy to be that I helped people get where they wanted to go. My job is to listen, pay attention to their needs as well as those of the business and make sure we get results that benefit everybody.”

Wait a sec – did he say “legacy?” Going somewhere?

“No, no, no! I’m just saying that one day, I’ll retire to this little ranch we have up in southeast Oklahoma. I’ll take care of this and that, do some hunting, tinker with whatever needs to be done. I’m no ace when it comes to fixing stuff but I can stumble through things now and then. But no, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been a great ride so far,” he concludes. “There’s still a lot left to do!”

Spotlight on Henry Ortiz: Getting Better All the Time

Dallas-born Henry Ortiz grew up in nearby Euless, graduated Trinity High (Go Trojans!) in May 2006 and like most grads, wondered what to do with himself. His job at a local Tom Thumb grocery store was okay for the moment, but in his quiet, determined way, he aspired to more. Much more.

So when a customer casually mentioned that Park Place Mid Cities was hiring just down the road, he jumped. A month later, he was a parts runner with the parts team, learning and absorbing everything around him, focused on achieving his goal – working his way up to a service technician role and becoming a master of all things Mercedes. 

“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” he chuckles.

He took advantage of a transfer opportunity at Motorcars Fort Worth, where he met his new boss and mentor, Diki Terry, who was serving as Assistant Parts Manager. And when Terry was asked to serve as Parts Director at the newly-opened Park Place Motorcars Arlington store in October 2015, she asked Henry if he’d like to join her team.

He couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.

Now, as Parts Manager (he was promoted in the summer of 2018), he’s still saying “yes” – happily – to service techs, to parts customers around the metroplex, to the occasional client who wanders in and, of course, to Terry, too (hey, she’s the boss). See her Spotlight here.

“Henry is a great asset, not only our department, but to Park Place Arlington as well,” Terry says. “He provides an outstanding client experience to both our internal and external clients. He’s quick to jump in to assist in all areas and he’s a great mentor and leader to our team. Henry is passionate in caring for our members and our clients. He’s knowledgeable and shares his experiences with others to lead and develop them in their career.”

“She’s famous for her daily 15-minute tune-up meetings with our staff,” he says. “It’s a great way to identify and solve whatever challenges we face that day. On the rare occasion when she’s not here, we do them ourselves.”

Ortiz has no regrets about sticking with parts instead of pursuing a service tech role.

“From day one, it was clear that the company was interested in my professional development by extending opportunities to me,” he says. “I could’ve gone the tech route, but I felt super-comfortable with the way things were rolling. The whole management team is really invested in making growth investments in our team members. Where else can you find that?”

Along the way, he’s also been able to indulge his curiosity about the many technicalities of Mercedes engineering. “My parents had a late Reagan-era Mercedes and even though I was just a kid, I knew it was different from everything else: really solid and built to a different standard of quality than anything else.”

When he joined Park Place, he was immediately enrolled in, and continues to attend, various and sundry Mercedes certification course. “There’s so much history behind the brand,” he says. “After all, they invented and patented the first automobile more than a hundred years ago. There’s just so much that you might not know unless you own one and take the time to look into it. Fantastic vehicles.”

Although he works primarily behind the scenes, he remembers one pre-owned client who he helped with exceptional service. She decided that she wasn’t all that crazy about her wheels, and Ortiz helpfully stepped in with several recommendations that raised her satisfaction level to a perfect 10.

“After that, she’d stop by now and then and we’d always have a nice chat,” he says. “On one visit, she mentioned that she was expecting, so I got her a little Mercedes stuffed bear to say congratulations. She sent us a handwritten thank-you note about how blessed she felt to have friends at our store. It was a really sweet moment for all of us, since we don’t often get a chance to build relationships directly with clients.”

Speaking of families, Ortiz and his wife Veronica have two boys, Jude and Liam, and recently welcomed a baby girl, Emry, in January. But it’s his first-born’s name – Jude – That reveals his respect for a certain well-known classic British band from Liverpool.  

“I play a little piano and guitar and a few years ago began noticing that all the songs I really liked are Beatles tunes, especially ‘Hey Jude,’” he says. (Ortiz plays a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul-style, which speaks volumes to those in the know.)

“So Veronica and I decided, hey, Jude! All his teachers would sing it to him, because everybody on the planet knows the song. He’s probably sick of it,” Ortiz adds with a grin. 

Did they ever consider that Emry might be a Lucy instead?

“For about a minute,” he laughs.

On the Fast Track with Anam Ali Hashambhai, Park Place Marketing Director

It’s an oft-quoted inspirational maxim – “Find a job you like and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Variously attributed to Mark Twain, Confucius and your local HR motivational poster, it’s been repeated so frequently that it’s become a tired cliché.


But when you meet someone who loves what they do so much that they accomplish feats far beyond the mere mortal, that old platitude springs vigorously to life.

Say hello to Anam Ali Hashambhai, Marketing Director for Park Place Dealerships. In her quiet yet determined way, this Dallas native and SMU grad (BBA) seems to be everywhere at once, without seeming to break a sweat, much less ever losing her cool.

To her credit, she laughs at such an over-the-top description. She does, however, admit to being “probably more of a planner than is really necessary, but it’s just how my mind works.”

The ability to plan her work, then work her plan, serves her well at Park Place – the company’s 11 dealerships account for dozens of marketing and community projects every month. Organizing is a trait she picked up in her youth, when she took an active role in her family’s entrepreneurial enterprises during summer vacations. “I was always creating flyers, ads and posters, anything that promoted our businesses. It was lots of fun because family was always around, easily 20 or more at any one time. I still lean on them for a lot of help and support,” she says, adding with a laugh that “sometimes I feel like I have four moms!”

During and after college, she kept her creative hand in at the family businesses and interned at several local companies, including Southwest Airlines and Park Place. That’s where she met Kara Connor and the two got along like the proverbial house on fire.

“I was an intern and then a temp for Kara, who was most recently at Motorcars Arlington, and now she’s back on our corporate marketing team,” she enthuses. “She’s a real mentor as well as a great friend.” (Here’s a recent Spotlight on Kara.)

Quickly recognizing Anam’s relentless work ethic, Park Place hired her in 2013 as their full-time Experiential Marketing Manager. Her role required her to build and maintain more than 300 partnerships and sponsorships while developing new and innovative ways to create exceptional client experiences.

A good part of that development work involved expanding and consolidating the company’s community outreach programs. The result – “Park Place Cares,” an umbrella initiative focused on four philanthropic areas: arts, education, children’s advocacy and medical research.

In August 2020, in recognition of her hard work and community commitment, she was named Park Place Marketing Director. But she’s quick to point out that any credit for her success goes to her “awesome” marketing compatriots and to the company’s team members, “because they always pull together during thick or thin.” 

“I’m incredibly proud of our 1,400 members and their dedication to community volunteerism, especially during these unsettled times,” she says. “We’ve expanded our holiday season gift donation efforts with the Community Partners of Dallas, and we’re helping build a home with the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. We’ve also teamed up with the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) to provide Dallas ISD students and a local charter school with free backpacks filled with supplies. And that’s just for starters. It’s our duty and honor to help those in need.”

Hard-working as she is, the old adage about “all work and no play” still rings true. To a point. She and her husband Aamir run a real estate side-gig that takes up what free time she has. But it’s something she absolutely adores.

“Renovating homes is a lot of work, but it’s so much fun,” she says. “I love designing but I’m also pretty handy with power tools, and can patch up walls with the best of them!”

They also enjoy cooking together. “Thai food every day, my absolute favorite without question,” she says. “We also love Indian curries and of course, our standby Tex Mex.” She also confesses to being an avid meal planner – natch – and spends most Sundays prepping meals for the week.

While cooking, she listens to her two favorite singers of the moment, Jana Rae Kramer and Kelsea Ballerini. “I guess I’m into country girlie music,” she laughs. “Is that even a genre? I just made it up. Guess that’s why I’m in marketing!”

What’s Anam’s favorite thing about Park Place? “I love the people and the relationships we’ve built. Serving the community and curating the client experience reflects on our brand and I really and truly love making that happen.”

“Anam’s passion and care for our communities and members exemplifies the Park Place spirit while setting the bar high for all to emulate,” says Tony Carimi, Managing Director of Park Place Dealerships. “She truly defines and creates unparalleled experiences!”

Member Spotlight on Robert Morris: Thirty Years and Counting

Robert Morris loves tacos. So when south-of-the-border cuisine graces the dealership’s quarterly Team Park Place luncheon menu, he’s a happy guy. Even if he IS always last in line and the lettuce is wilting.

General Manager Robert Morris at Park Place Motorcars-Dallas, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Irving, Texas. (Michael Ainsworth)

That’s because his favorite part of the event – more than the tacos, which is saying something – is recognizing fellow team members.

“Team Park Place luncheons are a tradition across the company,” he says. “It’s our time to share camaraderie and recognize achievement. Recognition is huge. We’re all one team, pulling in the same direction – to provide exceptional client experiences – and every single person here deserves our respect for what they do to make that happen.”

During the luncheons, he visits every table, greets everyone by name and thanks them for the great job they’re doing. Then he’s at the front of the room, mic in hand, honoring above-and-beyond performance. He’s particularly fond of service anniversaries, which are remarkably long at this flagship store (as they are throughout Park Place). Out of a total 345 team members at their store, 52 have been with the company for 10-15 years; 40 have tenures of between 15 and 20 years; 16 have logged between 20-30 years; nine have served 30 or more years, and two people have been with the company for more than 40 years.

His own longevity is a case in point – 2021 marks his 30th anniversary with Park Place. 

“Clearly, we’re doing something right,” Morris smiles. “Great people, great brand, great vision.”

His path to the automotive industry was circuitous as well as fortuitous. Raised in Livermore, California, his family moved to Bedford, Texas, when he was in seventh grade. And while most teenagers might have balked at such a drastic cultural dislocation, Morris welcomed it.

“I was into sports and attended Trinity which had, and still has, a great soccer team,” he says. “So I engaged with the community right away and the transition was easy. Go Trojans!”

A little digging uncovers the fact that, as team captain, he led them to numerous tournament championships, which speaks to an early flair for his refreshingly humble leadership style. Around the same time, he and a buddy started a landscaping business and sweated out a few Texas summers. A client suggested he might enjoy a much cooler job (literally and figuratively) in the automotive wholesale industry.

“I started as a porter and general go-fer, then learned how to do appraisals and look critically at paintwork and mechanical conditions,” he says. “Then I hit the road driving high-line cars all over the country and attending auctions from New York to California and everywhere in between. It was great fun to take side trips to visit national parks and watch the seasons change. Great experiences.”

One of his most favorite customers – Park Place Motorcars Dallas.

“I’d buy used vehicles off the backlot and saw right away that Park Place was a really good company with great people,” he says. Friendships with team members led to a job offer as a pre-owned sales consultant in 1991. He took the leap and never looked back.

His motivation was personal as well as professional, since he’d also taken the leap into marriage in 1989. “Being gone three weeks out of every month was a challenge, so the stability of Park Place was ideal,” he says.

He rose through the ranks, becoming pre-owned manager in 1994 and in October 1999, transferred to the Bedford store where he was named GM in 2000. In 2005, he was named GM of Park Place Motorcars Dallas, the company’s flagship facility.

“Frankly, we all wondered how we were going to fill up this massive 11-acre area,” he laughs. “But it wasn’t too long before we were looking for more space, so I guess we were doing something right.”

Mercedes Benz certainly thinks so. The manufacturer has given their coveted “Best of the Best” award to the store an astonishing 13 times. Morris notes that Covid-19 has resulted in the program’s suspension, but promises that “when they crank back up, we’ll get back on track.”

He’s confident of success because his business management philosophy is simplicity itself.

“It’s a cliché, but it really is all about the people,” he says. “I’ve always felt that I needed to surround myself with people who are smarter than me, people who inspire and make everyone better. I think we’ve done that.”

He attributes that same philosophy to his marriage. “Dana definitely makes me a better person,” he cheerfully admits.

They share similar interests in anything outdoorsy, including yardwork, where his prior experience as a landscaper comes in quite handy. They’re also proud parents to two rescue Labrador Retrievers (their third and fourth). And they’re avid hikers at Texas’ Big Bend National Park and – before the pandemic – went on what he calls “a dream trip” to southern Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. In fact, they’re planning a getaway to Palo Duro Canyon soon, where he’ll unpack his trusty Nikon (a Christmas gift from Dana) and indulge a passion he developed nearly 10 years ago – photographing nature.

“Birds, lizards, rabbits, deer, anything really,” he says. “The idea popped into my head and now I’m hooked. What’s really interesting is that you never know what you’ve got until you pull them up on the computer and then it’s like a big discovery.” (Hint – more Dana pics.)

Which brings us to their “meet-cute” story.

“Back in 1985, I played on a league soccer team in Bedford sponsored by a local restaurant,” he recalls, “and we’d head there after games and practices. One night, this really pretty waitress came out the kitchen door with a loaded tray. Our eyes met and she took an involuntary step back. I was speechless and told the guys, ‘I think she’s the one.’ She told several other waitresses, ‘I think he’s the one.’ We talked, then talked some more and that was it for both of us. Kind of crazy but true.”

Thirty-two years later, they’re still going strong.

Which brings us back to the Team Park Place luncheon. As the event winds down and members head back to their respective responsibilities, Morris has a few moments to reflect on a quote about business leadership that he greatly admires:

“Your ability as a leader will not be judged by what you have achieved personally, or even by what your team accomplished during your tenure. You will be judged by how well your people and your organization did after you were gone. Your lasting value will be measured by succession.”

John C. Maxwell

“It’s about leaving a stronger set of people in your wake,” Morris says. “If I can help build that, then I’ll have done my job. Not that I’m going anywhere anytime soon,” he adds with a chuckle. “After all, the tacos are calling!”

The 2021 Rangers Seasons Brings a New Ballpark and New Parking Experience for Lexus Owners

Do you drive a Park Place Lexus? Do you like the Texas Rangers? Then celebrate an exciting new season at the ballpark with exclusive Lexus parking benefits! 

The new 2021 Lexus parking experience will bring you closer to the action. Lexus owners will receive complimentary self-parking in a dedicated Lexus parking lot. The Lexus lot is located directly across from the southeast entrance at globe life field and the brand-new Lexus club. Current guests of Park Place Lexus and may obtain the 2021 Lexus parking window decal beginning March 1, 2021. 

Lexus complimentary self-parking is available in the Lexus lot located at 715 Stadium Drive, just east of Globe Life Field.  Complimentary self parking will be provided exclusively for Lexus owners driving their Lexus to any home game, with the required 2020 window decal present. Once the Lexus lot reaches capacity, guests will have to pay to park in any available cash lot. 

Visit the Park Place Lexus Service Department to request your 2021-2022 season parking sticker, free of charge!

Interested in complimentary parking but don’t yet have a Lexus? Come visit us at Park Place Lexus Plano or Park Place Lexus Grapevine to check out our inventory of new and used Lexus vehicles.

For more information on Texas Ranger Lexus owner benefits, click here.

Member Spotlight on Wagner Martins: Brazil, Balance Sheets and Breakaways

To say that Brazilian native Wagner Martins likes soccer is an extreme understatement.

After all, Seleção Brasileira, the country’s national football team has won the FIFA World Cup championship a record-breaking five times and is regularly ranked among the world’s best. So of course, he’s a proud fan and supporter.

But his respect for the game transcends mere fandom. As a volunteer coach for two youth teams at the FC Fusion soccer academy, he sees the game as a great training ground for handling life’s challenges with fairness, fellowship and cooperation.

“If I’m not at work or at church, I’m at the soccer field,” he says. “Both our kids are on separate teams (Eric, 15 and Esther, 13), and I coach both. I’m mindful that competing successfully is about more than just running breakaways and winning. It’s about getting to know them and dealing with them as a person, not just a player. If they’re not performing as usual, I try to help them figure out what might be bothering them, what’s affecting their mood and mindset. I see my role as being a mentor as well as a coach.”

His passion for people comes from his deep and abiding faith.

After a four-year stint as an MP (Military Police) in the Brazilian Air Force, he packed his rucksack and moved to Texas to attend the Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, where he earned his ministry license and master’s degree in theology. His subsequent missionary work over the past 15 years has taken him all over the world. “Spain, Portugal, Mexico, all over Europe and many African countries  – wherever there was need, that’s where I was.”

He also spent a decade in the food-service industry with Ohio-based international restaurant chain Wendy’s. “I started in 2001 flipping burgers and rose to store manager,” he smiles. “It was a lot of hard work but a lot of fun, too.” But in 2009, Wagner was one of many caught up in a company-wide series of layoffs.

So, on the advice of his wife Ana, (17 years of wedded bliss!), he had a long chat with his father-in-law, Miguel Gonzalez, who has worked at Park Place for 18 years as of this writing. Impressed by what he heard, Wagner applied for a valet position at Lexus Plano, scored an interview and was hired the very next day.  He rose through the ranks quickly, working in areas of increasing responsibility such as the loaner car department, cashier, lead generation and inventory.

Thanks to his Wendy’s managerial experience and familiarity with accounting functions (along with his natural facility with numbers), he moved into an accounting role. In 2015, he was tapped to bring his expertise to the corporate office and he now works as manager in the Accounts Receivable and Payable department.

In this current role, his team keeps an eye on more than 400 AR accounts to ensure correct and timely payments, as well as posting all transactions from the dealerships on a daily basis, assisting with invoices and repair orders, wire transactions, and many other functions.

“Every day is a fun challenge,” he says. “I might field 15 to 20 calls a day. It might be a client, or a parts vendor and every one of them is important. Sometimes reaching a resolution might take just 2 or 3 minutes, or maybe a half-hour. Sometimes I look up at its already 2 p.m. I love that. It makes for a busy day but a rewarding one, too. I like solving problems.”

What he likes most, though, is the Park Place culture.

“You feel like you’re part of a family,” he says. “Everybody helps everybody. The spirit here is really special and not found at other companies.”

In his rare spare time, he takes comfort in reading the Bible and listening to gospel music, especially Hillsong Worship, an Australian Christian music group.

He also professes an abiding fondness for any of the Brazilian steakhouses in and around town. “The meals are always a terrific celebration,” he says. “I really enjoy taking the family. It’s where I feel most close to home. And the food’s great!”