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Robert C. Vackar Awarded the 2021 GMC Dealer of The Year!

He Dedicated the Award to Mr. Bert Ogden. Bert Ogden Auto Group Is the Winning Team

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From L-R: Greg Ross, Regional Director Buick-GMC, Steve Kuhl, Zone Manager Houston-Austin-Rio Grande Valley and Baton Rouge, Robert C. Vackar and Janet Ogden Vackar principals and Natasha del Barrio CEO, Bert Ogden Auto Group. Photo taken during the celebration of Robert C. Vackar 2021 GMC Dealer of the Year. Images Roberto H. Gonzalez.
From L-R: Greg Ross, Regional Director Buick-GMC, Steve Kuhl, Zone Manager Houston-Austin-Rio Grande Valley and Baton Rouge, Robert C. Vackar and Janet Ogden Vackar principals and Natasha del Barrio CEO, Bert Ogden Auto Group. Photo taken during the celebration of Robert C. Vackar 2021 GMC Dealer of the Year. Images Roberto H. Gonzalez.

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

It didn’t take long to figure out why two high-ranking representatives from Buick GMC were present at the celebration of the 2021 GMC Dealer of the Year Award given to Robert C. Vackar. The Bert Ogden Auto Group principals, Bob and Janet Vackar, were recognized with this award; few dealerships in the nation get it.

Greg Ross

Greg Ross, the regional director for Buick GMC General Motors of the south-central region, took part in this important event. He is a seasoned veteran in the auto industry with 31 years in the field. His territory spans from South Dakota down to the tip of Texas; it is a total of 13 states.

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It was a big celebration because, like Ross said, “Every year we award the top one percent of the most prestigious of our dealers.” He continued, “Bob hit all the metrics required to hit, including sales targets that are above and beyond, and taking care of his customers was the most important.” 

“Bob exceeded all his peers in his group. That is why he won the 2021 Dealer of the Year.”

Ross continued, “There are a little over 2000 GMC dealers in the nation; out of 500 dealers in my region, there were only four winners.”

He noted that even during pandemic times, with the stringiest of CDC protocols, the Bert Ogden Auto Group was able to come out ahead to win this prestigious national recognition.

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“That’s the leadership of this team. Then the team members that worked while everybody else was at home, wondering what to do, they came to work, masked up under the safety protocols in place and were able to take care of everyone who had needs in the marketplace.”

Ross told Texas Border Business that 2021 was a challenging year to win, showing that Bert Ogden’s team was able to pivot when maybe other dealers around the country couldn’t shift as fast.

“I have known Bob for five years and find him an amazing guy.  So, if you think about it, he never looks stressed out; he is calm and cool.” Ross said, “He is running all of these manufacturers, franchises, and everything that goes into those relationships. And then pivots to a relationship with his leadership team and the people who work with him. That is amazing.”

Ross also pointed out that Bob mentioned the Bert Ogden Auto Group retailed so many cars last year. He said, “I am only here representing General Motors, but that is pretty amazing.  I mean, this isn’t California, this isn’t Miami, this is Texas in the lower Rio Grande Valley, which is awesome!”

The award celebration took place at the Buick-GMC dealership in Edinburg. It was Cinco de Mayo, a special day in Mexico. However, it became more of a special day when General Motors Company recognized everyone in Bob and Janet’s team.

That day, the marketing team played a video with testimonials from employees that work at Bert Ogden Auto Group; all the messages were positive. They talked of being grateful for working with amazing people and thankful for being part of a phenomenal company, which has changed their lives for the better.

It was an afternoon of hubbub where Natasha del Barrio, CEO of Bert Ogden Auto Group, recognized the contribution of Billy Kelley, the general manager of the Buick-GMC dealership. Billy was not present; he was receiving the Chevrolet Dealer of the Year Award. Janet and Natasha organized those attending to give Billy a standing ovation. 

“We are so proud of this Buick GMC dealership,” Natasha said. “They never ceased to amaze us.”

Steve Kuhl

Steve Kuhl is the other high-ranking official attending the celebration; he is the zone manager from Houston. However, his zone spans the area from Austin to the Rio Grande Valley and all the way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Steve attributes Bob’s success to having done a great job of hiring the right people. “They put their processes in place with those people, and quite frankly, Bob runs a great organization.” He said, “Between the people and the processes they’ve become successful; it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time.” He added, “This is Bob’s first GMC dealer of the year, but I think there’s many more on the horizon.”

Steve pointed out that it’s also a good feeling for the employees, knowing that they work for a very successful business.

How long have you known Bob?

“Since December of 2008,” Steve said.

As a Buick GMC rep, what is your impression of Bob?

“Bob’s a great guy. He’s very proud of what he does in the community. But he’s probably prouder of being able to develop and grow people to make them leaders in the community and at his dealerships. I think that’s what Bob’s all about,” he said.

Steve told Texas Border Business that he had given very few 50th Anniversary recognition plaques and trophies. He said, “Every one of them makes me shake a little bit because if you think about it, 50 years ago, they became a dealer, and we’re standing here today, honoring him. Many dealers don’t make it for 15 or 20 years. And he made it. So, it’s quite an honor.”

During the ceremony, you had two trophies, one large and the other small. Is the small trophy a representation of the larger award?

“The larger trophy was the Dealer of The Year. The small trophy is for a dealer to put on his desk. I know it was a joke, but I thought it was an honor to have Janet hold the big trophy and Bob hold the small one,” Steve said.

Natasha del Barrio

Indeed, it was an honor to hold the trophy because it recognizes as Natasha said, the ‘best of the best’. When Bob spoke, it was as if he was reflecting on the years it took to get to this level of success. Bob said, “I wanted to talk first about what a great year we had, the changes we made, and what Natasha has accomplished.  Also, Billy, he is not here, but he is just like the cherry on top of the sundae. He’s done a fantastic job.”

He said that typically, one person couldn’t do it in two dealerships. “Billy has done it by putting in quite an effort and bringing leadership to these two dealerships.  We appreciate you, and thank you so much for everything you’ve done,” Bob said.

Natasha also said, “We’re very blessed to have y’all truly. It’s important also that you guys know it’s not just the dealership that’s the best of the best. The dealership is comprised of people. So, if this dealership is the best of the best, that means every one of you is the ‘Best of The Best’. Stand firm and know who you are.”

Marsha Green

Marsha Green, the Vice President of Marketing for the Bert Ogden Auto Dealer Group, said, “We are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the occasion makes it bigger than Cinco de Mayo. It’s an opportunity to celebrate Mr. and Mrs. Vackar, for winning the dealer of the year award for Buick and GMC.” She continued, “This is the first time this dealership has ever won it. We celebrated in December the Dealer of the Year for Chevrolet. Because Bob won both for the year of 2021; he’s the only Texas dealer that has won both in the same timeframe.”

Bob considers the award the most prestigious award you can receive from General Motors and had this to say, “As I said in the presentation, the GMC was Mr. Ogden’s dealership. So, the award is for him.” He said, “I tell you, if he and Dorothy were here today, I think they would be very proud and in awe of everything we’ve done.”

Janet had a lot to say but settled on saying, “Bob and I are so grateful for all those loyal people that stuck with us, that helped us, that have been with us for so many years through the good and the bad times. We really love and appreciate that about our team, what they do for us, and how loyal they are. We want to make sure everyone knows how much we care,” Janet finalized.

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