Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Back Issues March 2006 The Weston way: the top small Best Company

The Weston way: the top small Best Company

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2006 100 Best Companies The Weston way

It’s all in the family at Weston Dealerships, where employees say they are rountinely helped through life by the Westons, including CEO Jay.

By Oakley Brooks


It’s sometimes hard to tell who gets the best deal at the Weston family’s 31-year-old dealership in Gresham — the customers or the 125 employees.

The customers? Well, there are 38,000 of them out there and last year they bought $75 million worth of cars and service. The Westons don’t advertise their Pontiac-Buick-GMC lines anymore — word-of-mouth does the trick. The staff? They’re a collection of ebullient folks who take home a turkey at Thanksgiving, a fat bonus at Christmas and can often recount a time when a Weston — current CEO Jay, brother Jan or semi-retired dad Jim — bailed them out of life’s little jams. Current employees average 16 years at the company.

Chuck the management fads and the MBAs. Running a company like a family still works, and works well.
“They believe that if they take care of people, people will take care of them,” says Dan Schofield, Weston’s service manager, who’s going on 24 years with the family.

Schofield, 42, benefited from the Westons’ largesse. A decade and a half ago when he and his wife adopted a child on short notice, Jim called him into his office and handed him a check for several thousand dollars. Kids are expensive, Jim said. Later, looking to move from technician to management with a new bachelor’s degree under his belt, he figured he might have to change companies because Weston’s higher positions were sown up. But Jay appeared at his graduation and offered him a slot opening up because of a retirement.

“I can’t see working anywhere else,” Schofield says.

The Westons’ style springs from a strong and visible Christian faith.

“We operate from a moral compass,” says Jan, the CFO. “We believe in right and wrong and God is the source of that.”

The dealership closes on Sunday and church vans are often fixed for free by the service department.

The family also strives to differentiate its work environment from the stereotypical dealership. Smoking is discouraged, the shop is immaculate (they spent $100,000 on new lighting last year) and young technicians are sent to expenses-paid training courses in Seattle and Irvine, Calif., early in their careers.

In an industry where mechanics tend to move every three to five years, that’s a risky proposition. But the Westons figure it’s a strong signal to techs that they want the new hires to stay in the family.

Jay and Jan, both in their mid-40s, play humble leaders and tend to keep the inner workings of the company tight to their chest: no open-book, all-company meetings here.  They say they do it — as any upstanding father figures would — to keep employees from worrying. “There’s no sense putting an undue burden on someone if there’s nothing they can do about it,” Jan says. Late last year, after General Motors announced massive layoffs and chatter about GM’s uncertain future spread around the dealership floor, Jay called together the employees. He told them Weston would be around for another 30 or 40 years.

Longtime workers recalled a similar situation in the late 1980s when Weston’s lease was pulled out from under Jim on short notice and the dealership had to move. Technician Brad Huwe remembers when Jim, who had temporarily relocated the service department to a dark warehouse, huddled the mechanics and told them he’d take care of them if they stuck around. Standing in the new 57-bay shop today, Huwe says unequivocally: “He has.”


Have an opinion? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

OB Video: Dress for Success

News
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
DFSOBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.


Read more...

Understanding Oregon medical marijuana dispensary tenants

News
Friday, June 13, 2014
061314 thumb grassrentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST BLOGGER

This article summarizes the key considerations a building owner must keep in mind when thinking about leasing to a medical marijuana dispensary.


Read more...

EPA Standards: A breath of fresh air for the region

News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
EPABY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

OB Video: Building trade ties with the EU

News
Monday, June 16, 2014
BritEmbCampionBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.


Read more...

100 Best Green Companies Keynote Speech

News
Friday, May 30, 2014

green2014-069Watch the 2014 100 Best Green Companies keynote speech by Eric Friedenwald-Fishman.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS