September 22, 2023

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Properly Maintain Vehicle

Pohanka Automotive Team: On the Shift and Innovating for Extra Than 100 Decades


Frank S. Pohanka was born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1891. He ran absent from house while in the eighth quality and uncovered a occupation immediately after just 1 day at the Whitney Stables horse farm in Sheepshead Bay on Prolonged Island, earning $15 a month—a terrific sum at the time—with totally free board. Frank started off as a stable/physical exercise boy, but shortly became a productive jockey, racing horses throughout North America. His initial race was in the fall of 1906 driving Calabash in Saratoga.

Success swiftly adopted, with Frank earning $15,000 in winnings over his five-year occupation. Although he experienced the stature for the purpose remaining 5 toes 5 inches tall, Frank couldn’t keep the good pounds and had to retire from the activity.

By the age of 20, Frank remaining his racing connections at the rear of, moved back to New York Town and enrolled in an automotive mechanic school. He also browse each individual e book the city library experienced on automobiles. Immediately after graduating from mechanic’s university, Frank turned a mechanic’s helper in a Manhattan garage, functioning nine several hours a day, 6 days a 7 days and earning $5 a week. But Frank was a speedy learner, formidable and liked what he did. His pay promptly rose to $14 a 7 days.

To really check his abilities, Frank give up his task with New York Motors, then went to function for Packard and a string of other brands. Each individual phase of the way, he stayed extensive enough to master the particular troubles of every sort of auto. By 1914, Frank was a true learn mechanic. Chevrolet/Basic Motors employed him as a troubleshooter to vacation the East Coast resolving assistance difficulties.


It was all through this time that Frank fulfilled his spouse, Charlotte Ruff, a fellow New Yorker. Soon after a several yrs, he seized the prospect to be a assistance manager of the newly opened Chevrolet manufacturing facility branch in Washington, D.C. In October 1916, Frank and Charlotte moved to the nation’s money.

Even while Frank was pleased, he yearned for a shop of his individual. In the meantime, Charlotte contributed to their savings by performing at the Office of Labor. On June 2, 1919, their desires ended up realized when Frank opened his initially dealership at Ward Area, wherever he marketed and serviced Chevrolets. Frank immediately founded a track record as a master mechanic and assistance specialist, and for 30 years he termed his organization “Pohanka Support” to emphasize his experience. In 1923, Frank moved the dealership a number of blocks away and additional an Oldsmobile franchise. He converted a movie theater into a three-auto showroom and an previous livery steady into a restore store. The business grew as the listing of contented customers improved, but with development came some head aches. Which is why Frank was extra than content when his sons, Frank Jr. and John, joined the company soon after getting their college levels.

NADA and Field Connections

Right after Frank’s dying in 1958, John became the supplier principal at age 29. Determined to study all he could about the small business facet of the automobile marketplace, John reached out to NADA—which was conveniently positioned just a couple of blocks away. Given that then, the Pohanka relatives has been intently concerned with the association. John would go on to be the 1976 NADA chairman, with his son, Geoffrey, serving as 2023 chairman.

John was a founder and chairman of the National Institute for Assistance Excellence (ASE), which tests and certifies auto professionals nationally. He also launched and was the 1st chairman of the Countrywide Auto Specialists Schooling Basis, which evaluates and certifies automotive curricula in the country’s vocational educational institutions.

From John to Geoff

In 1967, John relocated the dealership to the suburbs in Marlow Heights, Md. He quickly started getting additional franchises and spots.

Geoff was 13 when he started operating in the relatives organization all through summers in the 1970s. He attended Colgate College and prepared to attend organization school, but his father recommended that he initial perform two many years entire-time in the dealership, which involved Fiat, Honda and Oldsmobile at the time.

“We sold a great deal of autos but experienced a incredibly inadequate company department, which practically drove me from the company,” Geoff claims.

Geoff advised his father he would choose to do something else profession-wise, but John requested his son to show up at a month-lengthy teaching software at the Typical Motors Institute in Flint, Mich. There, Geoff wrote a thorough report about what wanted to be carried out to fix the loved ones business enterprise. John favored it so substantially he asked Geoff to remain on and employ alterations to the preset functions section. Geoff acknowledged and the rest, as they say, is record.

Modern-day Working day

Geoff served on the NADA Board of Administrators from 2021-2009, then left to relocate 3 of his legacy dealerships to Capitol Heights, Md. There, the fourth era of Pohankas have labored their way up into administration positions. Geoff’s daughter, Laura, is company supervisor of Pohanka Volkswagen, though his son, Kevin, serves as utilised vehicle director of Pohanka Honda/Hyundai/Volkswagen.

Currently, the Pohanka Automotive Team has 20 places in Maryland, Texas and Virginia, and was rated 34th on Automotive News’ record of the nation’s major 150 dealership groups in 2021.

Understand extra about Pohanka dealership historical past at

Observe a online video about the daily life of dealership founder Frank Pohanka

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