Rick Musial VP of Underwriting America's Car-Mart Smiling with his 35 Year Anniversary Certificate

Celebrating Rick Musial’s 35-Year Career at America’s Car-Mart

A Story of Hard Work, Dedication, and Success

When Rick Musial was 20 years old, he ran out of money to pay for college. So, he detoured and took a job at America’s Car-Mart to earn the necessary funds to continue his studies. After six months on the job, he realized he was learning everything he had planned to study in school. Moreover, he discovered he liked the company.

“The company was young. I saw a lot of runway and growth potential,” says Rick. “Car-Mart was willing to train me to manage and operate a business. So, I decided to stick around.”

Rick is celebrating his 35th anniversary with Car-Mart as the Vice President of Underwriting!

Rick Musial, VP of Underwriting at America's Car-Mart.
Rick Musial started his Car-Mart journey in 1984 at age 20. Today, he’s our VP of Underwriting.

He started his Car-Mart career as a Manager Trainee in Conway, Ark., in June 1984. He sold, repossessed, and traded a car on his first day. A year later, he moved to Texarkana, Texas, as manager and became the general manager a few years later. In 2000, he relocated to Maumelle, Ark., to help establish the company’s purchasing department, which led to his promotion to Vice President of Purchasing.

In 2005, Rick left the company to run his own dealership but later returned to Car-Mart as an Area Operations Manager. “I wanted the stability of Car-Mart,” he says.

Two years later, the then-President asked him to move to the Corporate Office in Northwest Arkansas as a Business Analyst. Shortly thereafter, he was tasked with creating an underwriting department. Today, Rick leads the implementation of the company’s financial risk strategy and underwriting policies.

Recently, Rick reminisced about his Car-Mart journey.

Best memory – riding in a town car with Nan and Bill

“It was the night I learned I was going to be the manager in Texarkana. Nan Smith, the President at that time, called me at 7 p.m. one night. She asked me to wait there until she called me back. An hour passed, and I called Nan to ask her if I could get something to eat. She told me to come to the Corporate Office. When I arrived, she and Jeannie Fleeman (wife of Bill Fleeman, the company’s founder) were celebrating. Curious, I asked why they were celebrating. Nan looked at me and she offered me the Texarkana job. The next day, I rode to Texarkana in Nan’s town car with Nan and Bill. They used that time to tell me how things would be in my new job.”

Most proud – hiring the right people

“Years ago, I hired a young man from Iran as an office manager in Texarkana. While he could speak seven languages, English wasn’t one of them. He had moved to America with his family, and he had the most fascinating story. He held many positions at Car-Mart for 25 years. I’m most proud of that. Great man. Great family. Loyal.”

Most challenging project – enhancing the lending process

America's Car-Mart Associate Rick Musial sitting at desk looking at a spreadsheet on his computer
Rick Musial, VP of Underwriting, has been a key contributor to Car-Mart’s success for 35 years, introducing innovative processes and helping his colleagues.

“I’m still working on it! I’ve been working on the company’s loan origination system, an innovative tool that will help us streamline our sales process and expedite the processing of customer loan applications.

There are a lot of moving parts, scope length, and technical aspects. But once it’s fully implemented, it will be a transformational change for Car-Mart. And it will help prepare us for future growth.”

Best day at work – receiving a flagpole and U.S. flag

“The best day was when we paid off the capital note for our Texarkana dealership. Car-Mart had borrowed the money, and naturally, we had to repay it. After we paid it off, we were given a flagpole and a U.S. flag for our accomplishment. It was a special moment for my team and me.”

The moment you knew you made the right decision to work at America’s Car-Mart

“The longer I was at Conway, the more I learned about the company, its growth, and its future plans. That excited me.

There’s also a story here. After about six months on the job, I saw Bill Fleeman at a gas station. He excitedly told me that he had bought property in Little Rock for a new Car-Mart location, even though he wasn’t supposed to share the news. Seeing the enthusiasm of the owner about his company made me realize this company was going places.”

Car-Mart’s biggest accomplishments – leading the used car industry

“Through the years, we’ve been able to offer better products and services to our customers. Things like our optional service contract with oil changes and roadside assistance. Plus, our optional accident protection plan. We’ve also improved facilities and the vehicles we sell to our customers.

Car-Mart has grown and continues to be a leader in the used car industry. To still be in that position for over 40 years is no small task. We don’t take this for granted. We continue to set the example to lead the way.”

Lessons learned at Car-Mart – enjoying the work

“A couple of lessons stand out. Number one, enjoy the process of work. I may not be the smartest person, but I can work harder than anybody else. When things are tough, you can work. When things are good, work some more. Work solves an awful lot of problems and rarely creates any problems. Hunker down when things aren’t going your way.

Number two, get back to the basics. You don’t need the newest fad or technique. It’s really getting the basics right, which, for Car-Mart, are, we buy the car, we clean the car, we sell the car, and we collect the money.”

Why Car-Mart? – loving the people

Rick Musial VP of Underwriting for America's Car-Mart sitting at desk smiling while working
Rick Musial, VP of Underwriting, enjoys the time he spends collaborating with fellow associates at Car-Mart’s corporate office.

“My favorite part about Car-Mart is the people. It’s the opportunity to work with so many talented people. I always love to learn. I always wanted to be around people who were smarter than me, and I’ve been around people like that for 35 years. Plus, it’s challenging and stimulating.

Car-Mart has given me a lot, the opportunity to learn, grow as a person, support my family, and a great place to work.”

Rick’s Car-Mart legacy – helping people

“I want my legacy to be one where I am known for helping associates grow and prosper and also helping the company prepare for its next phase of growth.”

About Rick: “I was a Car-Mart person before I married,” smiles Rick, who has been married to Ann for 33 years. They have two children, Christi, and Nick.

35 years of hard work, dedication, and success

All of us at America’s Car-Mart are glad Rick took a detour when he came to work for Car-Mart. For 35 years, Rick has played an integral role in the success of our company by introducing new and innovative processes and procedures and being there for associates. His contributions have helped make our company better. Rick’s passion for his work and our company are an inspiration.

Congratulations, Rick, on your outstanding 35 years at Car-Mart.

Join our team!

If you’re amazing like Rick and want to build a rewarding career, come work at Car-Mart. Go to Car-Mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities throughout our 12-state area.

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