Charles W. Gilchrist, President of the Weatherford, Texas Southwest Ford auto group, was voted to be the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) vice chairman by the 63-person board on October 2, 2017. The vice chair position will likely lead to Gilchrist succeeding Mark Scarpelli as chairman in 2019.
30 Years Of Auto Industry Experience
Gilchrist’s career began 30 years ago as a public accountant for Coopers and Lybrand, a professional service firm, after graduating from the University of Texas. He then transitioned into auto dealer operations as a controller for Ford Heavy Truck dealerships. He moved on from a controller to General Manager of SouthWest Ford and Nichols Ford, and this ultimately led him to purchase what is now SouthWest Ford in 1986 where he is currently President.
The auto group’s franchises include Ford, Buick, GMC, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, with a total of eight dealerships in the immediate area. Gilchrist took his connections to the Texas’ auto dealer industry to the NADA by representing the Northern Texas’ franchised new car dealers as a board of director.
Community Service Is A Significant Part Of His Auto Group Mission
Gilchrist is active beyond the auto industry in his local Weatherford, Texas community. He is a board member of the Texas Bank, Weatherford’s College and High School Foundations, East Parker County Chamber and the city’s Chamber of Commerce. He is an awardee of the James Doss Citizen of the Year Award by the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce, and an eight-time Ford’s President Award winner. Due to his success with the Ford brand, he was elected as chair to the Ford Division National Dealer Council. This council acts as a forum for Ford Division Management to openly communicate with dealers. The concern for the community also extends to Gilchrist’s auto group who has donated over $1 million to various nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on educational empowerment such as Communities In Schools, United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and many others.
Gilchrist’s Business Reputation Is Community-Centered
In 2009, Gilchrist partnered with Chance Donaghe, a local businessman to purchase the Greenville Ford Dealership in Greenville, Texas. The dealership was renamed SouthWest Ford Lincoln Mercury and is now SouthWest Buick GMC. When Donaghe was asked about the opportunity to work with Gilchrist he had this to say:
“He’s been really good to the community and the community has been really good to him. We know that can happen here if we invest the time and get the community around us; we think the same thing will happen here that’s happened over there for the last 25 years.”
In addition to representing new dealers from Northern Texas on the NADA board, Gilchrist has also been the chairman of Industry Relations, and a member of the Regulatory Affairs, and Empower Quality Control Committees at NADA. He will bring 30 years of experience in the auto industry to his new position at NADA.