Vacuuming. Cleaning windows. Observing the daily operations of the business.
That was how Brian McFarland spent his first days as a Management Trainee at America’s Car-Mart of Siloam Springs, Ark. It was 1993, he was 27 years old, and Brian pondered his future. On the fifth day, Brian’s supervisor called him to his office where they chatted about Brian’s career. “Whatever he said inspired me,” smiles Brian. “I’ve never left.”
Since then, Brian’s Car-Mart 30-year journey has spanned five locations in Arkansas and Oklahoma, including the Corporate Office. He’s had seven different jobs serving as general manager, assistant manager, account manager, purchasing manager, associate development director, and now area operations manager.
“I learned the business, and Car-Mart stuck with me,” says Brian. As area operations manager, he oversees nine dealerships. “My job is to ensure the manager and lot are successful. I work for my general managers because I believe in servant leadership,” says Brian. “In my job, I get to see people grow and develop and become good at what they do.”
Indeed, Brian excels in his job, he knows the business, and he’s highly respected by associates and Car-Mart’s leadership. It’s no surprise that he won the prestigious President’s Award in 2014.
He’s proud of what he’s accomplished at Car-Mart. “It’s in my blood. I don’t know anything else. It’s the best of my life, I promise you,” says Brian. “My wife has been a big part of all this, too. Car-Mart is in everything I do.”
Brian recently celebrated his 30th service anniversary and reflected on his Car-Mart career:
Early days of Car-Mart:
Those people talked about the company and being successful. I thought, ‘this is crazy talk,’ but it happened. Sure, we’ve had hiccups along the way, but it happened. We’ve been fortunate to look forward and keep growing.
What Car-Mart means to him:
First and foremost, Car-Mart has given me a place where I have a voice. I’ve always been fortunate to speak my mind and not be reprimanded for that. I’ve always appreciated being able to have an opinion. I’ve never felt like a number at Car-Mart. I have ownership in what I do, and I feel like I can make a difference.
Plus, Car-Mart is a part of me. I’ve put my blood sweat and tears here. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’m fortunate to have this.
Lessons learned at Car-Mart:
Overall, I think I’m a better person. I’m a better husband. I’m better at being who I should be. It’s taught me to be appreciative. Being here has also taught me how to be a leader, how to set examples, and how to challenge people to better themselves.
Your Car-Mart legacy:
I want my legacy to be that I cared about the people and what we do. I care about Car-Mart. And I’m good at my job because I care.
Being one of the most tenured Car-Mart associates:
I’m proud of this. It’s an awesome feeling. I’m the most tenured area manager. I have a responsibility to be a voice. I’m honored. And I owe it to the people I’ve worked for. I owe it to the company to uphold our culture.
Uniqueness of Car-Mart:
It’s the people. I’ve never cared about cars. It’s just our product. I’m not a car person. We were started by great people, and we have a ton of great people. That’s why I get excited to go to work every day.
Most challenging job and project:
The most challenging job was Director of Associate Development. I was the second person to have this job and laid the foundation for our associate development program.
I was asked to develop a video about the company’s history. I spent a day with the founder’s wife, Jeannie Fleeman. I interviewed the CEO and other leaders. I didn’t want to let these people down.
The video was two hours and 45 minutes! I wanted to tell the whole story. But I was asked to cut it down. In the end, the video turned out okay.
Advice to others who want to build a career at Car-Mart:
First of all, you have to be a hard worker. Two, you have to know our mission, vision, and values that we live out every day. They’re not just a poster on the wall. We follow them religiously to keep our culture intact. And third, when you get here, work hard, even when you get down. The results will show for themselves.
Fast forward to today – Brian is still at Car-Mart and loving it!
I can safely say I worked as hard as I possibly could, and I’ve been as passionate about what we do – about our business and our people. It doesn’t get much better than that.
About Brian – Brian and his wife, Cindy, have two children and five grandchildren. They enjoy time at the lake, traveling, fishing, kayaking – anything outdoors, and especially with their grandkids.
Join our team!
If you’re looking for a career, check out Car-Mart. Come work with awesome people like Archie. Go to Car-Mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities at Car-Mart in our 12-state area.