Giles earned a degree in accounting from Texas A&M University in College Station in 1976, but his training in the retail automotive industry began at age 11.
“I was paid 25 cents an hour to wash the vehicles on the lot in summer and on Saturdays during the school year at my dad’s Ford store in Denison, Texas,” he said. “I worked in all departments and learned how a dealership operated from the bottom up.”
After college, Giles started selling cars and was named sales manager by age 24. A few years later, he was awarded a Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi store in Lafayette, and he moved to the city on his 28th birthday to establish what would become Giles Automotive Inc. Today, the auto group includes three stores in Lafayette one in Opelousas, Louisiana, and one in El Paso, Texas, representing brands Nissan, Subaru and Volvo.
“My formal education in accounting, along with the experience I gained working for my father and uncle at their dealerships and my determination to never fail, has served me well on my journey to be a highly successful auto dealer,” he said. “I also attribute much of my success to hiring and retaining the best people.”
Giles has been an active member of both his state and local dealer associations. For the Lafayette Auto Dealers Association where he was named chair of the board four times, Giles was instrumental in launching the group’s annual car show and sale in 1984.
“I worked hard to set the foundation for the sale early on so that all dealers would participate and would find it worthwhile to move their sales operations offsite each May for one week,” he said. “This sale has proven to be extremely successful.”
Giles has also advocated for his fellow dealers during his time as a member of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association. “I worked with the state association to put forth initiatives to benefit all dealers in the state, and focused on warranty reimbursement rates, technician training, purchasing groups and beneficial legislation impacting auto dealers,” he said.
Beyond his industry, Giles is a community leader who has initiated campaigns to help local organizations grow and expand. He partnered with KLFY TV10 to create the Acadiana Community Heroes campaign, which recognized deserving individuals or nonprofit organizations that have made a difference in his area. The recipients received a monetary prize and exposure for their cause.
At a critical time during the pandemic, Giles galvanized his team and launched the Giles Essential Errand Running Service. This program invited senior citizens and individuals with compromised immune systems who needed help with grocery or pharmacy pickups to contact his dealerships and his staff would deliver those essential items to them.
He also has been active in the Outreach Center, which provides shelter and services to the homeless in the Acadiana region for many years. “I was able to increase their annual fundraiser from around $100,000 annually to more than $500,000,” Giles said.
Other organizations he supports include Dreams Come True of Louisiana (grants dreams to children with life-threatening illnesses); Acadiana Animal Aid (a no-kill animal shelter in Carencro, Louisiana); Hunters for the Hungry (local sportsmen provide fish and game for meals at homeless shelters); Love Our Schools; and many more.
Giles was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Will Green, president of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.