JLR SEM Kendall Richards swore he’d never go into the car business. “My dad owned a VW Audi dealership, and I wanted nothing to do with the family business,” he said.
After graduating from Hillcrest High in 1980, Kendall got his undergraduate degree at Stephen F. Austin. Then he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he spent seven years as an air traffic controller, the last three as an instructor.
“I served on the Honor Guard at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi,” he said. “It was a very special duty, but I thought I was done with that part of my life when I got out.”
While in the Air Force, Kendall got his MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After working in IT at EDS, he moved into the mortgage banking business until the economic bust of 2008, when a friend suggested he consider Lexus Plano.
“I can do this for a while until something else comes along,” he thought. He steadily rose up the ranks from Sales Consultant to Internet Sales, Finance Director to New Car and Pre-Owned Sales Manager before moving to JLR a year ago.“
A friend’s dad knew I liked to ride my Harley, and he asked if I’d be interested in joining the Patriot Guard Riders,” explained Kendall. The Patriot Guard Riders is a volunteer nonprofit that ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen active duty military, first responders and honorable discharged veterans.
“I was hooked from the first mission!” he said. “The majority of our rides are at DFW National Cemetery, but this one was a service for a 95-year-old World War II vet at a little country cemetery in Savoy, Texas. When his kids and grandkids got up and spoke, it made me want to be a better dad, grandfather and friend.
For the past year, Tuesdays have been Kendall’s day off. “The ride captain leads the mission,” he concluded. “I’m the first guy they call for a Tuesday funeral.” And that’s just the way he wants it.
The morning after he quit a sales job he loathed, George Johnson had a problem: he was 21, unemployed and still living at home. He needed to find a new job quickly. Luckily for George, a friend of his had just started at a local car dealership.
“I took a job selling cars until I could find a real job,” said George. Now, 38 years later, George oversees Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth as the executive general manager.
“I was always passionate about cars, but never realized how much so,” said George, when he recalled how his temporary gig turned into a career. “I think I really fell in love with connection with the client. I still remember the first person I sold a car to. She was so joyful and I felt such a connection after sharing this exciting moment in her life. I was hooked.”
This past year, many nonprofits in our community had to reimagine in-person fundraising events due to the pandemic. That included the annual Pickin’ for Preemies benefiting Cook Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With the move to a virtual event, we weren’t sure if we’d receive the same level of community support, but Park Place Motor Cars Fort Worth stepped up and generously chose to sponsor the online silent auction.
The Pickin’ for Preemies family was elated. Plus, it was a meaningful decision for George.
Years ago, when George and his wife Cathy were living in Northern California, they had their own experience in a NICU. Their youngest son Dylan was born two months early, weighing just 3 pounds and 11 ounces.
“You know, you just go into survival mode at that point,” said George. “What we were so impressed with was all the nurses and doctors in that NICU. They must be highly trained on how to handle parents. You have to keep the parents in the game.”
Dylan spent six weeks in the NICU before being sent home with his loving parents, and the experience left a mark on George and Cathy. George and Park Place supported Cook Children’s through contributions to Jewel Charity for eight years, making donations totaling half a million dollars, and Cathy spent time volunteering in the NICU as a baby rocker. When George heard about Pickin’ for Preemies, he saw a way for Park Place to directly help NICU families.
“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Cook Children’s because of what they do for children, especially with preemies, so when I saw that, it just kind of hit me over the head,” said George.
Without the support of corporate sponsors like Park Place and passionate leaders like George, Cook Children’s simply wouldn’t be the incredible place that it is today.
Park Place Dealerships recently hosted the GRACE Annual Poker Tournament at Jaguar Land Rover DFW. Craig Aires was the Tournament Winner, and won the grand prize package, which included a trip to Las Vegas provided by Travel Purveyor with air miles through American Airlines.
“We are proud to report that we far exceeded our goal, making it the most successful Poker Tournament to date,” exclaimed Shonda Schaefer, GRACE CEO. “I absolutely love this event. It was so much fun seeing everyone come together and play for such a good cause. The money we raised is going straight back to our community, and for that we are so grateful. I want to thank our sponsors, our players, and anyone else involved.”
Guest enjoyed cocktails and scrumptious appetizers such as Tuna Tartare Wontons and Stuffed Chili Peppers handmade by Scratch Kitchen throughout the evening.
“We have a long-term relationship with GRACE,” said Kara Connor, Park Place Experiential Marketing Manager. “In addition to the Poker fundraiser, we also will be hosting the organization’s Christmas Cottage Kick Off at Park Place Lexus in November.”
In addition, Park Place recently had 20 members (employees) volunteer to feed nearly 200 kids through GRACE’S Feed Our Kids summer program.
“Children throughout the area need assistance with lunches Monday thru Friday during the summer,” Connor continued. “We provided boxed lunches, Park Place coloring books and colors. Park Place volunteers came from our corporate headquarters in Irving, Jaguar Land Rover DFW, Lexus Grapevine, Motorcars Arlington, and Volvo Dallas to serve the children.”
GRACE was organized in 1987 as a response to the growing need for emergency assistance services in far northeast Tarrant County. Local churches responded to community needs with a plan for distributing available resources through Grapevine’s Ministerial Alliance. Today, GRACE continues to be a centralized, coordinated effort of churches, businesses and individuals donating food, clothing, monetary donations, and even professional services to Grapevine, Colleyville, and Southlake residents, as well as homeless and transient families in need. Programs have grown to include low cost medical services, transitional housing, and general emergency assistance (food, clothes, furniture, financial assistance, information and referrals). More info at gracegrapevine.org
Park Place Dealerships celebrated Mayfest with a special promotion to give back to the community. Each of the eight Park Place Dealerships in North Texas committed to make a donation to their area Boys & Girls Club for every car sold throughout the month of May. Park Place recently donated a combined $30,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs in Collin, Dallas and Tarrant County provide incredible programs to young people in their respective communities,” said Anam Ali Hashambhai, marketing director for Park Place Dealerships. “These organzations are especially important during the summer months when the kids are not in school. While providing a safe place for kids to play and socialize with friends, they also teach important life lessons.”
Participating Park Place dealerships included Jaguar-Land Rover Grapevine, Park Place Lexus Grapevine, Park Place Lexus Plano, Park Place Motorcars Arlington, Park Place Motorcars Dallas, Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth, Porsche Dallas, and Volvo Dallas.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas represents 35 clubs in Dallas County. In 2019, they earned a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Additionally, Charity Navigator gave them four stars, placing them in the top-tier of nonprofits nationwide in financial health, accountability, and transparency.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County will host in-person Summer Club Experiences, complete with hands-on learning and games, an infusion of technology, arts and music, and keeping active and healthy. According to their website, “Our team of professional youth development specialists are committed to building meaningful connections with each Club member to ensure that everyone has a safe, fun, and memorable summer experience.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County impacts more than 10,000 area children and teenagers with a safe place to learn and grow in the vulnerable hours between school and home. They also have a full schedule of summer activities planned.
The Park Place Cares program supports more than 250 organizations around the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout the year. Park Place’s 1,400 members are further challenged to volunteer their time and resources to serve local communities.
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.
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 parkplace.com.
Park Place Dealerships recently joined Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity to welcome Rosemary and Wilber Salmeron to their new home in Dallas. After nearly six months of construction, the Salmerons were given the keys to their new home and a housewarming gift from Park Place.
Breaking ground last October, more than 160 Park Place members spent 10 weeks transforming the home from a blank slab as they raised the first walls, put up roof support trusses, built interior walls and installed exterior siding. Most of the members had little or no experience in home building or construction skills. Dallas Habitat for Humanity created processes that kept the family, staff and volunteers safe throughout the entire build. Rain or shine, Park Place members worked from October to December helping build the three-bedroom home for the Salmerons and their two children.
“For more than three decades, Park Place has given back to the communities where we live and work,” said Tony Carimi, managing director of Park Place Dealerships. “But this is the first time we have embarked on a project of this scale. For 10 weeks, members from throughout our company worked together on this one initiative. It’s been very rewarding to watch the home take shape week after week. Many of our members have commented on how much it means to help create a home that will bring joy to the Salmeron family for many years to come.”
Serving families with an average annual income of $40,000, Dallas Area Habitat built 25 homes in 2020 despite the global pandemic.
Members from Park Place Motorcars Dallas, Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth, Bodywerks Fort Worth, Jaguar Land Rover DFW, Park Place’s corporate office, Park Place Auto Auction, Park Place Porsche Dallas, Park Place Volvo, Bodywerks Dallas, Park Place Lexus Plano, Park Place Lexus Grapevine and Park Place Motorcars Arlington staggered volunteer days to serve. This was Park Place Dealerships’ largest community relations project undertaken at any time in the company’s 34-year history.
“Working together helped strengthen our bonds,” said Anam Ali Hashambhai, marketing director for Park Place Dealerships. “You learn a lot about a co-worker when you’re lifting a roof truss onto a house or swinging hammers side by side. Throughout the process our members were emphatic they got much more out of the experience than they contributed.”
Habitat homeowners buy their homes, paying an affordable mortgage and the homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of labor working alongside volunteers. In order to qualify, families go thru an extensive vetting process and receive financial education and assistance to create a budget.
The Park Place Cares program supports more than 300 organizations around the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout the year. Park Place’s 1,400 members are further challenged to volunteer their time and resources to serve local communities. To follow Park Place Dealerships’ build of the Habitat for Humanity home, visit ParkPlace.com/HabitatforHumanity.
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. The local affiliate was founded in 1986 and has built more than 1700 homes over a 34-year history. Through affordable homeownership opportunities, financial education, advocacy efforts, and neighborhood empowerment programs, Dallas Area Habitat transforms families, revitalizes neighborhoods, and is working together to build a better Dallas. Strategically bringing together public and private funding, community leadership and vision, and thousands of volunteers – we will break the cycle of poverty and transform communities. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit DallasAreaHabitat.org.
Over the past three decades, Park Place Dealerships has become a well-known automotive choice for clients to purchase, service or repair a vehicle in Texas. Established in 1987 with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership in Dallas, Park Place added a Lexus dealership in 1991, along with Porsche in 1995. Distinguishing their employees as “members,” the company developed a reputation for a world-class client experience. Creating events that gave guests an inside look at new vehicles while supporting causes important to the community, Park Place established itself as a company with a big heart.
“Park Place is grounded on the principle that we are looking to cultivate a relationship, not just sell someone a car,” explains Tony Carimi, Park Place Dealerships Managing Director. “We strive to develop a relationships where we truly understand a client’s automotive needs. In fact, we’ve provided vehicles for multiple generations within a family because we developed that trust with the initial client.”
Park Place’s success has been built on a continuing commitment to their members and delivering exceptional client service. Many of the Park Place members have been with the company for more than 10 years because they love where they work, and they genuinely care for their clients and fellow members.
“I started with Park Place in 2002 as Service Director at the original Mercedes-Benz store,” said Carimi. “No matter a member’s title or position, they are the Park Place experience for our clients. That cannot be duplicated by any other company. We can never forget that our clients have a choice where they buy and service their vehicles.”
The luxury automotive group credits their core values as helping to build the company’s brand:
In its most simplistic form, Park Place members do the right thing because it is the right thing to do… no matter what. A technician found a pouch full of cash while servicing a car. He immediately contacted his supervisor, and the pouch was put in a safe. The next morning the client called frantically looking for a “package” he’d left in his car. The pouch contained $50,000, and not a single dollar was missing.
Park Place members passionately care about their clients, communities and fellow members. Frequently, clients report that a member has gone above and beyond to take care of them. It runs throughout the company from the moment someone walks into a dealership. Personalized interactions with the sales, service and collision centers, create an unparalleled experience.
Park Place empowers members to make decisions to take care of their clients. There’s no handing someone off to a supervisor because the member has the authority to make a situation right.
Members have the strength and character to remain optimistic and provide resolutions to challenging situations. That has never been tested more than over the past year as the dealerships were defined as “essential services” during the pandemic. Members take care of clients based on their individual needs and circumstances.
“It all comes back to our people,” emphasized Carimi. “We don’t just hire people with automotive experience. We hire people for their passion and servant’s heart, then we train them for success. And that means ongoing training throughout the year for every member to ensure their personal and professional success.”
Many of the company’s leadership development classes are led by senior executives, with 90% of its managers being promoted from within. Park Place established a Women in Automotive Council to mentor and encourage their female members. Women hold positions at the highest levels, including parts directors and service directors, as well as sales, F&I and human resources managers. The company has been named to the Dallas Morning News “100 Best Places to Work” list for 10 consecutive years.
Over the past 33 years, Park Place has supported hundreds of non-profits through grants, in-kind donations, event sponsorships, and unique experiences. Park Place Cares supports philanthropic efforts in the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy, and education.
Park Place employs more than 1,400 members and operates eight full-service dealerships, representing nine luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Park Place BodyWerks Collision Centers in Fort Worth and Dallas, and the Park Place Auto Auction, round out the company’s offerings.
Five local organizations were recognized for their efforts in the community amid difficult conditions this year. Park Place Motorcars Arlington chose the nonprofits based on their commitment to education, children, and health.
Five non-profits were chosen in celebration of Park Place Motorcars Arlington’s five-year anniversary. The dealership donated a total of $10,000 to the following organizations:
Mansfield Education Foundation
Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation
Boys & Girls Clubof Arlington
Arlington Education Foundation
Texas Health Arlington Memorial
“It is a privilege to serve Arlington, Mansfield, and the surrounding area,” said Malcolm Gage, General Manager of Park Place Motorcars Arlington. “As we celebrate five years in Arlington, Park Place continues to reinforce the importance of giving back in the community where our members live and work.”
The Park Place Cares program supports more than 300 organizations around the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout the year. Park Place’s members are further challenged to volunteer their time and resources to serve local communities.
Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987. For the past 33 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 parkplace.com.
It was probably one of the quietest Porsche test drives in recorded history. When you press the ‘start’ button on the all-electric Porsche Taycan, there’s no rumble… not even a purr. But don’t let the absence of engine noise or the lack of fossil fuels emissions fool you. Once the accelerator is depressed, the stylish sedan effortlessly rockets from 0-to-60 in less than three seconds. And it does so with the smooth handling that only pure Porsche DNA can provide. Don’t worry. Porsche offers an option for a simulated, electronic engine sound for fans of the rumble and roar.
Park Place Porsche Dallas recently held a day-long Porsche Taycan test drive event to benefit the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. For each Taycan test drive, Park Place donated $100 to DCAC to help improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and to provide national leadership on child abuse issues. More than 28,000 cases of child abuse were reported last year in Dallas County.
Guests enjoyed freshly grilled bites and refreshing, alcohol-free mocktails, courtesy of the culinary team from the Thompson Dallas Hotel. Located on North Akard Street at the heart of downtown Dallas, the new 51-story tower is set to debut in November 2020.
Boasting 750 horsepower, the 2020 Porsche Taycan (aptly rhymes with icon) is a four-door sedan that accelerates faster than a skydiver in free fall and can partially recharge for 62 miles of range in just over five minutes. While it can take tight curves like a sports car, it also offers the smooth ride of a luxury sedan.
The Taycan can go approximately 200 miles on a full charge. Owners can charge it overnight from the comfort of their home, or at one of more than 400 Electrify America charging stations across the U.S. With apps and services on their smart phone, drivers can control the charging process, check the charging status, or bring the cabin of their Porsche to a comfortable temperature, all from the comfort of their home or office.
Over the past 33 years, Park Place has supported hundreds of non-profits through grants, in-kind donations, event sponsorships, and unique experiences across Dallas/Fort Worth. Through Park Place Cares, the luxury automotive group supports philanthropic efforts in the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy, and education. Among the community service projects in which Park Place members are currently engaged, hundreds of members are volunteering their time and talents to build a home with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity in a low-income neighborhood.
DCAC is the only agency of its kind in Dallas County, working in agreement with public and private agencies to investigate, prosecute, and provide healing services for child abuse cases in Dallas County. The agency reduces the re-victimization of the child, removes barriers to investigation and treatment, and enhances criminal prosecution with a distinctive multidisciplinary and united approach to these complex and severe cases. More info is available at dcac.org.