MR. PERCY VAUGHN LEADING KIA’S SOUTHEAST REGION TO NUMBER ONE FOR OVER 23 YEARS
Written By Norma Stanley
Kia recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and recognized Percy Vaughn, executive director, regional operations for the southern region, as one of the elite members of the company who were there from the start, and who continue to contribute to the company’s current success in the automotive industry.
Vaughn, who oversees a staff of about 50 people working with over 200 dealers in the southeast, continues to work to ensure that Kia remains top of mind when consumers are shopping for new cars, and credits his successful run managing the growth of the southeast region covering 10 states, to his talented team of professionals.
“I have the best team in the industry and their hard work and dedication is the reason we’ve been the number one region out of five regions, for 23 out of 24 years,” says Vaughn. “We make it a point to treat not only our dealers as customers, but also our team members.”
Working in excellence and treating others with respect and compassion are staples in Vaughn’s successful management arsenal, characteristics which had been ingrained in him since his early childhood. Vaughn’s parents were both keenly focused on education for themselves and their children as the best path to a more secure future. As a result, Vaughn excelled in school. Born in Atlanta, his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when he was four years-old and Lubbock, TX when he was 15 and despite receiving a full scholarship to Texas Tech, he returned to Baton Rouge to attend Southern University. He graduated college at age 19 by taking 18-21 hours per semester and another 12 during summer breaks, because he was ready to get out of school and make money. Armed with a business marketing degree and graduating among the top of his class, Vaughn had many companies pursuing him, and landed a position at Ford, which was a dream come true for him, and at 20 was the youngest employee in the Atlanta District Office in consumer affairs. He credits his training in consumer affairs and addressing consumer concerns with top executives at Ford’s corporate office in Detroit, where he’d relocated for a time, as an asset which has carried him throughout his career.
“I saw that the executives at Ford were genuinely interested in the voice of the customer, took their input seriously, and wanted to clearly understand where their frustrations were coming from, that early training has been invaluable to me in my career,” said Vaughn.
It wasn’t long before Vaughn accepted a position with the Korean company Hyundai, where he was a big fish in a very small pond. He fast tracked quickly to District Manager, Distribution Manager, Regional Sales Manager and Regional General Manager, as the company’s brands and vehicles, including Kia, began to become sought after products in the automotive industry.
Now 24 years later, Vaughn is continuing in the vein of putting the needs and wants of the customer at the, forefront of everything Kia does, which includes creating and manufacturing popular vehicles like the Telluride out of its plant in West Point, GA.
“We produce about 360,000 per year from out West Point plant and are proud that we’ve been instrumental in rejuvenating that part of the state by bringing in about 3,600 jobs,” said Vaughn. “I want Kia to be known as a home-grown product like The Home Depot and Delta Airlines,” he said.
Partnering with the community is also a major part of Kia’s commitment to its customers and the company recently formed a relationship with The King Center to support what they’re doing with the younger generation, in addition to the Atlanta Hawks, Chik Fil A Kick Off Classic, College Football Hall of Fame, etc.
The proud father of a daughter, Kristin who is a mom to seven children and a son, Kory, who is an emergency room doctor, with one child, Vaughn and his wife, Audree, are enjoying this chapter of being grandparents.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Vaughn is looking forward to a profitable 2020 for his region and in reflecting on where he is right now as a business and community leader, Vaughn says he is very thankful.
“As I shared earlier, I could not have done this without having an exceptional team, who saw the vision and executed it,” shared Vaughn. “I believe it’s important to stay humble and as a leader you cannot ever forget where you came from. You must be willing to help others who may not be as fortunate, and I try to do that every day. I very much appreciate what the good Lord has offered me in my own journey and give him all the glory,” he said.
“We make it a point to treat not only our dealers
as customers, but also our team members.”
- – Percy Vaughn
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