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Tommie Vaughn Ford
"I am most rewarded by my everyday work at the dealership, interacting with customers and employees."
“I am most rewarded by my everyday work at the dealership, interacting with customers and employees,” nominee Janke said. “In addition, I am aware that a stable work environment will foster a future for my growing family. I attribute my accomplishments to the team that surrounds me, my family and my employees.”
A 1972 graduate of Lee High School in Houston, Janke earned a B.B.A. in marketing from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, where he was a member of the Texas Cowboys, a service group, and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, which he led as president.
Janke’s interest in the automobile industry was piqued by a college professor who had worked on the initial marketing campaign for the Ford Mustang — and by his college sweetheart, Jeanie Vaughn, whose father owned a car dealership in Houston. He asked Tommie Vaughn for a part-time job during school and was hired fulltime as a make- ready manager after graduation in 1976.
Working in many different departments and gaining as much knowledge as possible, Janke rose to general manager in 1997 and president in 2005. With Janke’s influence and leadership, Tommie Vaughn Ford grew and expanded. “We were one of the first dealerships to implement the practice of customer car pick-up and delivery – and to offer transportation shuttles for customers in the service department,” he said. Today, the company also includes Tommie Vaughn Auto Country in Columbus, Texas, offering a Ford dealership and Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership, as well as Tommie Vaughn Polaris, also in Columbus, which sells off-road vehicles. Janke’s two sons are the next generation to be part of this successful family enterprise.
Janke is proud to be a seven-time recipient of the Ford Motor Company President’s Award. “Receiving any community recognition on behalf of the dealership is always an honor,” he said. “This award is important because it means that our hard work has been recognized. The dealership puts a lot of pride in its customer satisfaction and sales performance.”
He is also committed to giving back to the community and his most meaningful civic achievement is working on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the last 40 years, serving in many different capacities, including vice president. The show provides scholarships, educational endowments and funds agricultural research projects. “Currently, more than 2,000 students are on rodeo scholarships, attending more than 80 different Texas colleges and universities,” Janke said. “The value of these scholarships is approximately $47 million, and the rodeo has donated nearly $430 million to scholarships, grants, endowments and other educational programs since 1932. I have worked to support the rodeo’s mission to provide opportunities for higher education.” He was also instrumental in fostering a sponsorship relationship between Ford and the rodeo.
In addition, Janke opens his ranch in central Texas to youth organizations for hunting and camping trips. And the dealerships host multiple non-profit events at its locations, assisting these charities with donation collection and as a free venue that offers exposure to new people.
Organizations he supports include T.J. Martell Foundation, which funds research for cancer treatments; Texas Wildlife Association; Texas Cowboys, a service group at the University of Texas at Austin; Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce: Vita-Living, Inc., based in Houston, which provides long-term care and support for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities; The Brookwood Community, a residential and entrepreneurial community for adults with disabilities in Brookshire, Texas; and many others.
Janke was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jeanie, have two children and five grandchildren.