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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Butch Hancock

Hometown: Evansville, Indiana

Job: Senior Managing Partner of Evansville Operations, Kenny Kent

Resume: Sales, O’Daniel-Ranes Oldsmobile, 1980-1981; Pre-owned Sales, Kenny Kent, 1981-1988; New Car Sales Manager, 1988-1991; New and Used Car Sales Manager, 1991-1998; General Sales Manager, 1998-2003; General Manager, 2003-2005; Partner, 2005-2014.

Family: Wife Shelli and three daughters
Butch Hancock never anticipated working in the automotive industry. When he answered the dreaded question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he always pictured himself working at a company like Bristol-Myers or Mead Johnson as a pharmaceutical drug rep.

Today, Hancock is the senior managing partner of Evansville operations at Kenny Kent and has spent his entire career in the car business — only five months of that outside of Kenny Kent. He started at the old O’Daniel-Ranes (now D-Patrick) dealership selling Oldsmobile’s and Nissans.

“We had just gotten back from having lunch, and I was sitting in Dad’s office at Kenny Kent,” says Hancock. “Robbie [Kent] stuck his head in and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t know you could sell cars. I want you to come work for me.’ After a couple of times of running in to him at the dealership after coming over to see Dad, he convinced me Kenny Kent was the place to come to work.”

Thirty-six years later, Kenny Kent is Hancock’s place now more than ever before.

This has been a family business. What inspired you to follow along in the footsteps of your father?
I started washing cars in 1973 after school. My dad said, “Hey, you want a summer job? Come down and wash cars.” I didn’t even have my driver’s license in 1973, so I was driving cars around with no license. At that time, Kenny Kent had a three-floor storage facility for their cars. Pigeons used to get inside the building through the windows, and they would go to the bathroom all over the cars. They needed somebody to clean the pigeons’ you-know-what off the cars, and I was the guinea pig. I was bitten by the car bug then by getting in and out of all the cars. There is something to that saying, “That new car smell.” It infected me, and I fell in love with the car business.

What is it like combining family and business?
God puts people in your life who help mentor you along the way. I’m a firm believer in that. I think my dad, even though I was only able to work with him for three years, was put there for a reason. He was the salesman of salesmen. He could sell anybody anything. He was one of those guys. I got to learn a lot from him: Talk to everybody. Be kind to people.

What do you see in your future? Do you have any goals you would still like to accomplish?
One goal is to leave Kenny Kent, and really the automotive business, better off than when I started. It’s not all about numbers to me. We are No. 1 in Indiana. That is great, but I know that is just a means to an end. We have great salespeople, great managers, good employees, who all live that same culture. That really is what it is all about. If you do those things, you will sell cars. And the result is you are No. 1 in Indiana.

I would imagine with your job title you take pride in your wheels. What are you currently driving?
Right now, I’m driving a 2017 Toyota Sequoia Platinum, but I have a new demo coming. It is supposed to be coming any day, and it is a new Tundra. That is normally what I drive — a truck.

What is your dream car?
A 1955 Chevy Bel Air two-door hardtop that is customized. I’ve always loved that car. 

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