Randy Yockey of Friendly Ford named Roselle Chamber's Joseph G. Salerno Business Person of the Year
The Roselle Chamber of Commerce & Industry has named Randy Yockey, President of Friendly Ford Inc. of Roselle the 2021 The Joseph G. Salerno Business Person of the Year, an award that honors local leaders for their professional successes and community leadership.
Randy began his automotive career in 1974. At the age of 14, he applied for a job at Cotton Kean Ford in Carol Stream, and began working as a lot attendant where his hourly wage was just $2.10. "I never asked how much I was making," shared Randy, "I was just honored to work at a Ford dealership."
After more than 10 years of hands-on learning and service, Randy had the opportunity to become a co-owner of Friendly Ford in 1989. Friendly Ford opened in 1991 and, for the first couple months, the business was staffed with just three people.
Over the years, Friendly Ford of Roselle has risen to the challenge, overcoming several obstacles. One such obstacle was in 2004, when an early morning lightning strike caused a fire, which destroyed more than two-thirds of the building. The Friendly Ford team of exceptional employees jumped right in and worked in out of trailers in the parking lot until the damage was repaired. In 2008, in the midst of the recession, Friendly Ford's entire staff voluntarily committed to working extra hours to keep the business going.
Just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Randy acquired sole ownership of Friendly Ford.
As they work through the second year of COVID-19, their history has given Randy the strength, wisdom and the ability to continue to move forward and to confront any challenges with poise and confidence.
"It certainly has been a wild ride with last year as the wildest ever," shared Randy. "The entire town of Roselle has been very supportive of me and Friendly Ford. We cherish our relationships and have had the opportunity to meet numerous new friends and business acquaintances. Thank you so much to the Roselle Chamber for this award, it truly is such an honor."
Friendly Ford of Roselle prioritizes treating both team members and community members like family. Earlier this year, when a local gentleman made headlines for walking three hours to and from work -- a 24-mile round-trip -- the staff at Friendly Ford stepped in to repair his broken vehicle -- and over the cost of the repairs. The dealership is active in the Roselle community, hosting an annual toy drive for local youth around the holidays among other community-focused fundraisers and events throughout the year.
Today, Friendly Ford has nearly 90 employees.
A true family affair, Randy, currently celebrating 42 years of marriage to his wife Debbie, has four grown children -- three of which work at the dealership along with his wife and son-in-law.