The car business has always been a part of Rory Wood’s life. Wood, the new general manager at Okotoks Ford Lincoln, is a third-generation car dealer. His grandfather, James, owned a Ford dealership in Scotland and his father, Gerry, has been selling cars and running dealerships for more than 40 years.
“You might say it’s in my blood,” says Wood. “I’m really excited about taking what I’ve learned from them and from my own industry experience and putting them to practice in my own store,” he adds.
Okotoks Ford Lincoln is one of the largest dealerships south of Calgary. The store, with a staff of 50, includes two major showrooms, a large parts department and 39 fully-equipped service bays on a five-plus-acre site in the heart of Okotoks.
“We made a multimillion-dollar commitment to the community when we built the new dealership several years ago and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” says Wood. “Now our goal is to build on that success and provide the ultimate customer experience for quality and service.”
While Wood has grown up in the industry, he also brings a wealth of experience to the new position having worked for the Wood Automotive Group selling and leasing new and used vehicles for more than 13 years. He earned a bachelor of automotive marketing and management degree from Northwood University followed by postgraduate studies at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Wood says he relishes the challenge of taking on a changing industry. “Our industry is a global innovator and Ford leads the pack. New apps allow you to access your vehicle from just about anywhere, the shift to alternate fuels is already underway and we’ll be driving autonomous vehicles in just a few years,” says Wood. He adds it’s essential for that innovation to be front and centre at the dealership level. “Today’s vehicle shopper expects this same level of technology and Okotoks Ford Lincoln delivers. Our just-launched newly-designed website (www.okotoksford.com) is one of the most advanced dealership websites in North America. We have built the site to expand and incorporate the latest digital technology as it becomes available. It’s important for our dealership to stay on top and to be pioneers in the vehicle shopping experience.”
Okotoks Ford Lincoln is also a high-profile community supporter, sponsoring dozens of charity and community events every year including everything from the Okotoks Dawgs to the Sheep River Health Trust. “An important lesson I learned from my family is to give back, and that’s something we’re proud to do,” Wood adds.