Dads are everyday heroes offering encouragement, support, wisdom, and love. From playing catch to teaching us the rules of the road, dads do so much for us. This inspiring story from our own Doug Campbell, President at America’s Car-Mart, illustrates the lasting legacy of father to son.
Working on cars with his dad became Doug’s playground growing up. Everything revolved around cars for Doug and his dad, Douglas, Sr., who was in the U.S. Army stationed in Europe, mainly Germany, where he started as a mechanic in the Army’s motor pool later retiring as an officer in the Army.
Motorsports were huge in Europe. His dad belonged to an auto club where Doug set up cones, was a time keeper, warmed up cars, and changed tires. “As a kid, I hung out with my dad on the weekends where we tinkered on cars,” Doug says of his unique bond with his dad, who currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Father and son bond over their love of cars
Fast forward to today, and father and son will occasionally get together at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings to enjoy F1 races on tv even though they live across the country from each other. They’ll talk on the phone, enjoy coffee, and watch Formula 1 Races during the season.
Douglas Sr.’s first vehicle of choice was the Porsche, when moving back the U.S. was the Corvette. Today, Corvettes are Doug’s favorite vehicle.
Doug remembers one particular vehicle, a 1982 Porsche 911 Targa. “Dad worked on that car all the time. It was the nicest thing he owned. That was a cool car,” he recalls. “It’s the first car I ever drove on Hockenheim race track. However, but it was dark chocolate brown, probably the worst color, but his dad told him he got a great deal on it.”
“I had a unique childhood. At the time, especially as a kid, you don’t think of this time as special. We moved around Europe quite a bit and spent the majority of my childhood outside the U.S. It was, ‘Hey, wake up, we’re going to the track, and I’m helping my pops,’” continues Doug. “Looking back, the different skill sets I learned translate into your real life. And I grew closer to my dad.”
Life lessons taught while working on cars
While they tinkered, they talked and laughed. The conversation centered around school and the importance of education, especially as a first generation American, and Doug soaked up the lessons.
“My dad taught me a lot about perseverance, being focused, articulating your thoughts, and connecting with people,” says Doug, who describes his dad as a serious, no-frills guy. “His leadership style was unique, and he had a distinctive ability to connect with people. And he was a great storyteller.”
Doug also learned the importance of confidence from his dad. “That comes from having a high sense of self-worth,” Doug notes. “My dad has that.”
In Doug’s early 20’s, Douglas, Sr. taught this important lesson to his son in a life-changing moment. “He taught me that you have to value yourself. You have to know your worth. It was this moment that was a turning point for me – to value myself in a differentiated way, and how you perceive yourself is how people will perceive you,” says Doug.
This eventful experience parlayed into Doug’s professional side. “I became aware of what I was worth. I put myself in positions that are right for me, and where I can add value” he continues. “I take chances with my career providing I can make meaningful contributions and take each opportunity as far as I can go.”
As a race car driver, Douglas, Sr. was competitive, and he ingrained a winning mentality into Doug, who embraces a winning spirit in his career. “Winning has looked different for me at various stages of my career. Currently is about developing people and helping them be better, smarter, sharper,” says Doug.
It runs in the family
Both father and son found success in the car business. Upon retirement from the military, Douglas, Sr. landed at a car dealership where he worked as a salesperson, sales manager, and general manager. He still works in the car business today.
Early in Doug’s career, Douglas, Sr. suggested Doug try the car business to help determine his ultimate career plan. He told his son, “Be a salesperson. It’s an important skillset to learn how to sell and how to handle rejection. Selling is a skillset you’ll need whether it’s selling cars, ideas, or your company. You’ll always have to have your selling shoes on.”
That’s sage advice from dad. Doug has never left the car business after almost 30 years. He’s held leadership positions at Ken Page Automotive Group, AutoNation, Avis Budget Group, and now at America’s Car-Mart.
A lasting legacy – from father to son
Lifelong lessons are a father’s true legacy. Douglas, Sr. has imparted his knowledge and wisdom about cars, life, and so much more to his son. And Doug draws inspiration from his dad and considers him a mentor.
“I appreciate everything my dad has taught me,” Doug concludes. “I know he’s always there encouraging me to focus on the tenants of winning and doing the right thing for others.”
So, on Father’s Day, here’s hoping there’s a Formula 1 race that father and son can watch together and talk cars. It’s their legacy.
Thanks, Doug, for sharing your compelling and inspirational story, and paying tribute to your awesome dad. Learn more about Doug joining Car-Mart in 2022 and about why he’s excited to work at America’s Car-Mart.