Featured Story: Meet Dr. Hearne

Relationships

Dr. Nate Hearne first met Tony Carimi while coaching his high school basketball team. Years later, when Dr. Hearne was looking to fulfill his wife's dream of driving a Mercedes-Benz, he knew who to call. Tony was an executive at Park Place, and their close bond of friendship helped lead to a magic moment.







 


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MY PLACE NEWS

Chris Duong's My Place Story: Passion

“It has this scream at the top of the RPM range that can’t be replicated by any other engine.” 

Since he was a kid, Chris Duong has been immersed in the world of sports cars. The iconic sight-lines and sounds attracted him and his dad to automotive events, races, car shows, and dealerships to simply look at cars. He made the official leap to a Porsche brand advocate when he was still a child.

“I remember seeing Will Smith drive the Porsche in the Movie ‘Bad Boys,’ says Chris. “I started researching and learning about the racing heritage. I fell in love the brand. I fell in love with 911s- the shapes of them and how they developed over the years.”

And a true brand advocate he is. When asked to describe the feeling of driving a Porsche, Chris didn’t hesitate and began taking us along for a journey.

“You feel like you’re enveloped in a cock-pit. Everything around you disappears and you hear every little sound and detail. When you step on the gas you can hear the intake valves opening and the vibrations of the engine through the stick shift.”

After such a sensory description of what it’s like to sit in the cockpit of Porsche, it’s no wonder Chris needs a dealership that not only matches but challenges his passion for the brand.

Cue Park Place.

“If I had to describe Park Place with one word, it would be Passion,” he shares, “Not only for people but for the brand and the cars themselves. It’s almost like we’re speaking the same language.”

Listen to the rest of Chris’ story and how Park Place didn’t just sell him a car, but rather created an ownership experience driven by friendship and a shared passion for an iconic automotive brand. 

Relationships

Couple values culture in workplace, at home, and in doing business with other companies

Nikole and Mike Rose know firsthand how culture in the workplace and in the home is important for success.

“We are married and we work together,” says Nikole Rose. “We have been married nine years and we take life one day at a time.”

In addition to creating a happy marriage, the Rose’s have been building a successful business, Mojo Media Labs. “Not every business puts people first,” stated Mike. “I grew up in a business where my dad took care of people running a small, Italian deli. That always stuck in my head.”

Relationships are important to the Rose’s and in every aspect of their lives, they choose to treat everyone with respect, and they expect the same from others. “We made a decision to focus on culture and we put that in front of everything else,” says Nikole about Mojo Media Labs. “We think it’s a pretty simple equation, that happy people equals happy clients.”

When choosing an automotive partner to provide their family with everything they need, the Rose family picked Park Place Dealerships. “We want to support businesses that think the same way,” commented Mike. “We know that Park Place will take care of us and the people we work with which is important as well.”

Over the past 10 years, the Rose’s have purchased nine vehicles from Park Place. Nikole articulates that she can feel Park Place members have a passion for serving clients in a real, genuine way and that they are happy in their careers.“I have been to three different dealerships and am always treated with incredible respect. I love the relationship with Park Place,” proclaims Nikole.

Mike conveys he has always admired the friendly relationship with Park Place and says, “Park Place is My Place because of the people.” Nikole adamantly agrees.

The Roses are sharing their story in a new “My Place” campaign about Park Place Dealerships. “Nikole and Mike Rose exemplify My Place,” explains Dave Evans, Park Place Dealerships Chief Marketing Officer.

“They have a unique perspective about the culture they are creating and likewise, they have the same expectations of companies with which they do business. We are sharing the Rose’s unique story through the “My Place” campaign.”

From the Car Wash to the Corporate Office

El Salvador’s Balmore Salmeron Dreamed of a  Brighter Future and Found it at Park PlacePark Place recognized something special in Balmore Salmeron, and gave him the chance to realize his dreams.

IRVING, Texas (November 06, 2019) – Soft spoken, thoughtfully articulate and almost always smiling, Balmore Salmeron dismisses praise about his life’s achievements with uncharacteristic modesty.

“I’m not special,” he says. “I just did what I needed to do.”

But the facts are undeniable: When he came to this country from his native El Salvador in 2001, he had no official education degree, just some university computer science training. While he could read and write a little English, his speaking skills – and thus better job opportunities – were slim. 

He was, however, eager to prove himself. And Park Place was just as eager to give the young man a leg up in his adopted country. 

“My mother-in-law had a friend in the detailing department at Park Place Lexus Grapevine, so I was referred and hired,” he says. “I worked on cars during the day and on my communications skills at night.” 

Three years later, his managers rewarded Balmore’s determination with a promotion to the dealership’s service drive, where a quick understanding of client needs along with a cheerful and professional demeanor are must-haves. 

By this time, he was also taking accounting courses, since he’d always felt comfortable with the language of numbers and figures. And knowing that Park Place likes to promote from within, he kept his eye on potential internal opportunities. 

“To be better than yesterday – that’s something we should always strive for,” he says.

Nearly two years later, he found what looked like a fit when an internal financial analyst position opened up. At each step of the interview process – and there were a lot of steps – he impressed managers with his gumption and positive attitude. But he worried that he didn’t have the necessary skills. 

He didn’t need to. 

“We hire for attitude and determination,” declares his manager, Park Place Controller David Orenstein. “If a great candidate has that, like Balmore, then we can provide all the training they need.” 

“The Park Place philosophy is about helping members improve and move up,” confirms Balmore. “Much as I enjoyed my job at the store, I knew I was capable of more, and Park Place gave me that opportunity.” 

Since then, he’s been instrumental in refining the company’s accounting processes to be faster and more accurate – always a good thing when it comes to numbers. 

He became a U.S. citizen in 2010, completed his accounting degree at Richland College in 2014 and embodies the idea that, with hearty backing from your organization, you can achieve your dreams.

So all in all, it’s pretty clear why Balmore calls Park Place “My Place.” 

“America is a dream of freedom, built around the idea that one person can make a difference,” he says. “For me, Park Place is my place because I’m a part of something great and they’ve helped me to achieve my dreams.”

Ken Schnitzer founded Park Place Dealerships in 1987 with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oak Lawn. Today, Park Place Dealerships employs more than 2,100 people and operates 17 full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, McLaren, and Maserati. For more info, visit parkplace.com.


The Star in the Room

Grammy award-winning artist Kirk Franklin was raised in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kirk Franklin was raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and was adopted by his 64-year-old Aunt, Gertrude Franklin.

“I had a rough childhood,” says Franklin. “I didn’t know my mother or my father. I had a lot of abandonment issues. So, I got into a lot of trouble and didn’t do well in school. But Gertrude really believed in my musical gifts. So, from the time I was four I would take piano lessons once a week.”

Gertrude paid for his piano lessons by recycling aluminum cans and old newspapers.

“Unfortunately, Gertrude died before she heard any of the music that I recorded. So, she didn’t get a chance to see me get my life together. I kind of live with that ‘chasing the ghost’ type of energy in my life.”

Franklin organized "The Family" in 1992, forming a 17-voice choir with neighborhood friends and associates. Their debut album, “Kirk Franklin & The Family,” was released in 1993. Eventually earning platinum album sales, it spent nearly two years on the Gospel music charts, as well as moving up the R&B and Pop charts.

It was the first gospel music album to sell over a million units.

The group released “Whatcha Lookin’ 4” in 1996, sealing Franklin’s stardom. The album was certified 2X Platinum, and earned Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.

Since his debut in 1992, Franklin has received six platinum certifications on his albums, including the 3X Platinum “Gods Property,” which won him a second Grammy for Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album.

Franklin has worked with a variety of artists over the years, including Cheryl “Salt” James of Salt-N-Pepa, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Bono, and TobyMac. The winner of more than 40 Stellar Awards, 16 Dove Awards and 14 GRAMMY Awards, Franklin states, “I really believe it happened because I am a firm believer in the message I preach.”

“One thing about music is that you can’t have a bunch of musicians playing what they want to play,” explained Franklin. “They have to play what the song demands. So, what you don’t want to feel is that everyone is playing different notes, because it’s not a melody… it’s not a nice harmony. And it doesn’t sound good, nor does it feel good. The star in the room is always the song.”

“What I love about Park Place is that the star in the room every time you go is always the client. You can tell that they have been rehearsing, that everybody’s playing the same note.”

“Park Place team members are committed every day to create an ownership experience that can’t be found anywhere else,” explains Dave Evans, Park Place Dealerships Chief Marketing Officer. “Our clients tell us fabulous stories about Park Place members who have gone above and beyond to make their experience memorable. We want people to think of Park Place as My Place.”

“Coming from a past where a lot of things in my childhood were very inconsistent, consistency has been something I have always strived for,” Franklin concludes.

“Park Place is ‘My Place’ because they make me feel like a classic song.” 

Klembara's "My Place" Story Earns Couple Trip to Academy Awards

Garland Couple’s Leading Role Takes Them to Hollywood

In today’s rough-and-tumble world, it’s refreshing to meet a couple like Teresa and Gary Klembara of Garland, Texas. 

Married for 36 years, the magic between them remains palpable –twinkling eyes, gentle touches and warm banter speak to an enduring love story that rivals anything in the movies.

It’s easy to imagine the sparks flying when they first met at J.C. Penney –he as a senior manager and she a manager trainee. They dated off and on for seven years before they, as Teresa says, “came to our senses and got married.”

Gary transitioned into a successful career as an international IT businessman and, after opting to leave her own successful retail management career at JCP, Teresa joined him on the road whenever she could. She also kept busy with sports and civic activities –“Keeping the home fires burning,” she says brightly.

Teresa’s bubbly laughter comes easily and often, especially when her affectionate rescue pooch, Brody, jumps into her lap for yet another smooch and snuggle. Gary shakes his head indulgently and pats Brody. This is, indeed, one lovingly pampered pup who, not surprisingly, embodies the couple’s lifelong commitment to each other and others.

They have a long-standing date for dinner and a movie with friends.“There are several couples we’ve been friends with for the past 30 years,” explains Gary.“When we’re in town we get together for dinner and a movie every Saturday.” 

When asked about their favorite movie to win an Oscar this year, Gary favored “Bohemian Rhapsody” while Teresa leaned towards “A Star is Born.”

It’s not all butterflies and unicorns 

Lest they sound entirely too Pollyanna-perfect, however, just watch Teresa at a Dallas Stars hockey game. (They’ve been season ticket holders for 24 years). Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that her otherwise ladylike demeanor gives way when the puck drops. “She’s hilarious to watch,” says Gary. 

Then there’s their latest shared musical obsession –the Chicago-based heavy metal band Disturbed. “Their version of ‘Sounds of Silence’ is haunting,” she says.


You’ve got to have passion for people.

The intersection of education and sports forever changed two local men's lives.

Dr. Nate Hearne grew up in poverty: one of eight children living in a small three-room house that lacked indoor plumbing. His mother worked as a domestic helper and his father a gas station attendant in a small West Texas town. He struggled with trust issues. But he left a lasting legacy on many young people along the way.

“I grew up wearing hand-me-down clothes with patches sewn on them,” says Dr. Hearne. “I hated elementary school. I wanted to quit. But when I started seventh grade, I had a science teacher, Mr. Clyde Hague, who greeted me every day with a smile, a firm handshake, and an encouraging word. Because of his affirmations in the classroom, I came to a self-awareness that those C’s and D’s I made in elementary school were not an indication of my intelligence.”

Dr. Hearne met another strong influencer when he tried out for seventh grade football.

“Because of my football coach, Mark Wallace, who affirmed me on the field every day, I came to the awareness that those clothes with patches on them and holes in my shoes were not indications of who I was going to be.”

Hearne went from being a kid who hated school to wanting to be a coach and a science teacher.

“Those men saved my life. I continued making good grades. I went to high school and made the honor roll. I attended college on an academic scholarship. I coached football and taught science for 25 years. And the only reason I went into teaching and coaching was to live out those two men’s legacies. Every athlete that I coached, I wanted to give him that big Coach Wallace hug and tell them, ‘I knew you could do it.’ I wanted to affirm every student that came into my classroom as Mr. Hague had done for me.’’

Dr. Hearne was an assistant coach in the Permian High School football program when they won six State Championships. In 1988, an author followed Permian through their football season and wrote “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream,” which made the New York Times “Top Ten Bestsellers” List. In 2004, the film was released. A few years later the television show became an Emmy-Award winning series.

“When my book, “Friday Night Lights: Untold Stories from Behind the Lights” was released, many former students reconnected with me,” said Dr. Hearne. “One of those students was Tony Carimi. I was his basketball coach when he was a 16-year-old high school sophomore. Recently, Tony invited me to speak at the annual executive leadership meeting for his company, Park Place Dealerships, and we reminisced about the good ol’ days.”

Today, Tony Carimi is the Chief Operating Officer at Irving–based Park Place Dealerships.

“Coach, do you remember that conditioning drill you had us do called snakes?” Carimi asked. “I said, “Yes, I definitely do.”

For this drill players would run out of the main gym and up into the stands. They would run up and down the stairs, snaking their way through the stands, across all the stands. And they’d have to do this before practice even began.

“Tony could run those snakes drill all day and never break a sweat. He ran his hardest and never quit… never slowed down. I remember one day hearing the upper classmen berating Tony.”

“Carimi, slow down. You’re making the rest of us look bad, if you don’t slow down we’re going to get you after practice,” his teammate said.

“I blew the whistle to end the conditioning, and called Tony over. I looked him in the eye. ‘Carimi, don’t you EVER let anyone else dictate your behavior on this team. You have been blessed with a special gift, and I want you to use that gift every single day,’ I told him.”

“You have individuals and experiences that leave an everlasting impression on your life,” remembers Carimi. “Coach taught me valuable leadership and character qualities. He invested in cultivating and growing not only great athletes but even better humans. He personally helped maximize my potential for the short-term goal of winning a game, while planting seeds to help maximize my potential in the larger game of life.”

Dr. Hearne and Carimi recently teamed up to make a dream come true for Dr. Hearne’s wife, Callie.

“I wanted to do something special for my wife’s birthday,” recalls Dr. Hearne. “As I drove by the Park Place Motorcars store in Arlington one day, I remembered how Callie always dreamed of driving a Mercedes-Benz. But I absolutely hate the car buying experience. It’s just hard for me to trust.”

Park Place has just the right touch with its “One Touch” solution, providing clients with a single person to walk them through the entire purchasing process. This allows the sales associate and client to build trust to help with all of the client’s needs.

Dr. Hearne remembered Tony was in upper management at Park Place and gave him a call. Carimi said, ‘Coach, don’t worry about it. Call your wife and have her meet you at the dealership.’

“When she sat in the car, I asked how she liked it, said Hearne. “Of course, she said she loved it. And then I told her it was hers. Even the receptionist was crying. It was a magical moment.”

“For me, it is an honor to be part of something so special in his life,” said Carimi. “To help Dr. Hearne purchase Callie’s dream car was a role that was decades in the making. For me to be a member of an organization that reflects the constant striving for excellence that he helped impress upon me as a young man, brings the story full circle. Through my role at Park Place, combined with the relationship I have had with Dr. Hearne for more than 30 years, I was able to leave an impression on his life.”

“My wife and I had never been treated with such respect and professionalism before in the car buying experience,” concluded Dr. Hearne. “Park Place is ‘My Place’ because it’s all about the service.”

“It is more than just games won or transactions that business creates,” said Carimi. “To know that Dr. Hearne is able to look in his rearview mirror as he leaves our dealership and say, ”wow,” makes all of those snake drills worth it!”