My August trip was a quick one—a direct flight from Chicago to Denver. For anyone who has never been there, Denver is The West. It’s not just in the western part of the United States. It is The West—cowboy hats, belt buckles, buckin’ broncs’, wide open spaces West. It may just be a short flight from Chicago, but it is a world apart.
I was there to meet with George Eidsness, owner of a conglomerate of car, truck, and trailer dealerships, leasing, maintenance, parts and manufacturing companies including All Fleet Services NationaLease. We started at their newest location in Brighton, CO, but we didn’t stay long. George treated me to a tour of not only that location, but several of his others in the area, as I spent the day learning about his operation. George started out selling cars in Fargo, North Dakota, then in 1990, had the chance to purchase a dealership in Colorado. At that time, the dealership had about 100 employees and one location. That small dealership has now grown to over 20 locations in five states and one Canadian province. In addition to the dealerships, All Fleet Services NationaLease provides leasing, maintenance, parts, truck and trailer parking, fuel, and even office space for their customers who need a location to operate their business.
As we visited the various facilities, a couple of things stood out. They are all decorated in beautiful but rugged Western style. Lots of stone, wood, leather, and hides, along with Western art on the walls give you a clear sense of where you are. Sprinkled into the décor are items that commemorate their support of the community, especially the agriculture community, which is so important to this area. After doing a little research, I found out that they give significant support to 4-H, Miss Rodeo Colorado, Mile Hi Barrel Horse Association, many top professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, as well as The National Western Stock Show. Another thing I noticed in each building was a large framed document called “The Transwest Code of the West.” It goes like this:
- Live each day with courage.
- Take pride in your work.
- Always finish what you start.
- Do what has to be done.
- Be tough, but fair.
- When you make a promise, keep it.
- Ride for the brand.
- Talk less and say more.
- Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
- Know where to draw the line.
As I thought about that Code, I realized that despite attributing it to the West, it’s not that different from the way all our members do business. While our Easterners might not say “Ride for the brand,” the sentiment is the same, whether West or East, South or North. Take care of your customers. Do the right thing. Keep your promises. It really is quite simple when you think about it; however, that doesn’t make it easy. It can be hard work to do what’s right. Fortunately for our customers, NationaLease members have never been afraid of hard work. Despite our geographic differences, our members’ work ethic and commitment to taking care of their customers remains the same. They all “ride for the brand”—even the ones whose only ride is on the subway.