As a student in Xavier’s entrepreneurial studies program, Tim Glockner vividly saw the relationship between academia and the real world: Glockner’s father, Andy, would send him the financial statements from the family business, and Glockner and his roommates would pore over them as case studies.
Though his father urged the Glockner children to do what they wanted, Tim Glockner knew early on that he’d head back to Portsmouth, Ohio, after graduation to work for the family business, which includes the Toyota and Honda dealerships that Tim runs as well as a General Motors dealership, a motor-oil distributor, a leasing company and an insurance agency.
He’s the sixth generation to work for Glockner Enterprises, which began as a hardware and sundry store in 1846 and later expanded to transportation—first selling the buggies that attached to horses and later automobiles. Tim, a 1998 graduate, had planned on spending six months at each of the family’s businesses to learn them better, but after starting at the Toyota and Honda dealerships, he decided to stay.
“The Japanese companies are just notorious for continuous improvement,” he says. “They drill that into you all the time, and their representatives, when they come in, they’re partners with you instead of telling you what to do. I completely bought into that.”
Glockner takes care to honor the family legacy; he wears the Xavier class ring of his grandfather, Edward “Ebb” Glockner, who graduated from the University in 1948, and he volunteers his time with the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Shawnee State University and the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center.
But that legacy has not prevented Glockner from innovating whenever and wherever he can. A few years after taking over the dealerships, he knocked the buildings down and built new ones with an emphasis on family-friendly comfort. Last year the company introduced an iPhone application to let customers browse inventory and schedule service appointments. Glockner Toyota won a 2009 Toyota President’s Award for outstanding customer satisfaction.
“Everyone’s looking for something new and different, and we’re continually trying to stand out,” he says. “This business is so competitive and we’ve got to work to make it easy for people to do business with us.”