“Applying to Garber Would be the Greatest Decision You’ve Ever Made”: Gary Ashley II’s Story

Gary Ashley II wanted driving to be a part of his career.

But he was thinking of fairways instead of vehicles.

“I didn’t see myself in the automotive industry at all,” Gary said. “All I really wanted to be was a professional golfer. Everything I did was in order to be a pro golfer. Since I was 14, I was playing golf. After I graduated high school, I moved to Phoenix and studied at a golf institute.”

But dreams change – and life lands you exactly where you need to be.

While Gary’s professional plans to play golf took a swerve, he found a new career trajectory when he joined the Garber team. He started as a salesperson at Garber Chevrolet in Midland, Michigan in 2014. He is now the business manager. 

For Gary, Garber was exactly the right place to land… and he’s grateful to follow this course.

Par for the Course

Gary’s move to Phoenix brought the first edit to his career plan.

“I figured I’d become a head pro somewhere,” Gary said. “But after studying at a golf institute, I realized I didn’t want to work at a golf course. I wanted to actually play.”

Using the goal of playing golf as his life compass, Gary — a Midland, Michigan native — made the move from Phoenix to another golf mecca: Florida.

Then reality hit.

 “I started caddying at a golf course, and I did that for about four or five years,” he said. “That’s when I realized I was chasing a dream that wasn’t happening. I thought, ‘I’m not good enough.’ So I moved back home to Midland. I was 24 years old and had no plan.”

Back in his hometown, Gary found himself in limbo.

“I went to work at PacSun and lived with my parents,” he said. “One of my golf buddies asked me to come and be a salesman at MidMichigan Beauty. I grew into the VP of Sales for five years.

Though he moved up in his career, Gary was less than happy. He knew he needed to make a change.

“I hit a crossroads,” he said. “I wasn’t happy going to work. I came into Garber and dropped off my resume. Garber had been voted one of the best places to work. I wanted to work for a company where people are happy to go to work. I knew they were involved in the community and seeing how people VOTED for Garber to be the best…I wanted to come work for the best.”

To Gary’s surprise, he got called in for an interview. Then another one. Craig Lang, the store’s General Manager, hired Gary.

A new chapter had begun.

Growing Garber

Gary’s first few months at Garber brought uncertainty, just like any new job does. Learning takes time.

Gary changed his mindset, and it made all the difference.

“I didn’t know if it was the right fit at first or if I was good at this,” he explained. “I remember thinking, ‘I need to be successful at this. I’m going to be successful at this.’ So I made a choice to be successful. After that, I carried more confidence. It’s going to be a win-win by me being successful. I got more involved and a month later, I loved the job.”

In 2015-2016, Gary became a part of the store’s Grower’s Club: a program at the Midland store designed to help turn employees into leaders. He started to assist the finance manager. Then he was promoted to assistant manager for pre-owned cars.

In 2019, he was promoted to finance manager. He said his success is related to the support he receives.

“I’m constantly communicating with Craig Lang,” he said. “I was always in the middle of the pack, but Craig was always great at encouraging me and challenging me. I’ve always gotten the support I needed. For me, support meant being challenged. I needed that. I’m not afraid to learn something new. I get the emotional support I need here.”

Since he started working at Garber, he’s also gotten married and had three children. His life looks a lot different than it did during his days of chasing the dream of becoming a professional golfer.

And Gary is grateful for it all.

“I get stability here at Garber,” he said. “I get growth. No one is holding me back. Garber has given me a career. The sky’s the limit here. Craig and Mr. Garber are supportive of that. They will give me the tools I need to see the success I want to achieve; it’s all up to me.”

Gary knows what it’s like to change dreams. He said he has advice for those who may be looking for their own right path.

“Applying to Garber would be the greatest decision you’ve ever made,” he said. “It’s not a job. It’s a career. It’s a mindset. Happier days are ahead when you start working for Garber.

Fast Five

First job? Janitor at a private school.

First car? Bonneville. Blue.

Three things you can’t live without? My wife and our 3 kids, my family in general (I’m a big family guy; I have five sisters), sweet tea

Something people would be surprised to know about you? I have a few: I have five sisters. I used to sell hair products. I was a pool boy in Florida.

Best piece of advice you’ve received? Hard work will always take you where you want to go. My dad told me that, and I have instilled it my whole life.

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Lindsay Henry

Lindsay Henry

Lindsay is the Digital Communications Manager for Garber Automotive Group.

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