Wisconsin high school graduates and continuing education students are selected to receive technician scholarships through The Foundation of the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association (WATDA) sponsored by local dealerships and other foundation partners. Recipients will use the scholarship awards to fund their vehicle service education in automotive, diesel, motorcycle or collision technology at the Wisconsin Technical College of their choice.
Among the recipients is Justin Matthew M. Swigert of Sheboygan, WI. He will receive a $4,000 tuition scholarship sponsored by the Van Horn Auto Group headquartered in Plymouth, WI. “The co-op program allows companies to help students find and achieve their career goals. It has provided us with many students who have transitioned into youth apprentices, part-time employees, college students, and eventually long-term full-time employees. Van Horn is grateful that we have the opportunity to find high school students who have a passion in a career where we face a nationwide shortage. We are able to bring these employees in at a young age and grow them into really great technicians,” stated Hannah Vassar, Human Resource Generalist for Van Horn Automotive Group.
Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep of Plymouth will provide Swigert with on-the-job training and mentoring while he attends the automotive program at – Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) in Cleveland, WI. “Justin has taken the knowledge he has learned at Sheboygan North HS/LTC and works diligently each day to apply it to his job daily here at VH,” added Marc Shuman, Service Manager and Justin’s mentor at Van Horn Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep. In addition to the scholarship, Swigert will receive a tool set valued at $4,075 from Snap-on Corporation headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Foundation of WATDA scholarship recipients are selected based on completed application, GPA, testing, and interviews. This year The Foundation of WATDA awarded it’s 2,000th scholarship; encouraging and assisting young people to pursue a career in the automobile, truck and motorcycle industries in Wisconsin.
Business Owner, Husband, Father, Brother and Community Friend
Plymouth, WI, October 7, 2019 – Van Horn Automotive Group lost a proud owner, supporter, and friend , James P. Van Horn on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Son of founder Joe Van Horn, J.P. entered the family automotive business in 1997 after a successful career as a commodities broker in Chicago, IL and owning a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade. Over the years, J.P. grew to love the automotive business, but what he really enjoyed was the family business; working alongside his brother (Chuck) and sister (Teresa).
In the business world J.P. was thoughtful and deliberative; in his personal life, he was gentle, engaging and possessed a great sense of humor. He was admired by everyone who worked with him, and he truly loved what he did. Unfortunately, J.P.’s career was abbreviated when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. He remained as active as he could, until the disease took its toll. Although Alzheimer’s did all it could to take J.P.’s light, it did not take away the impact he made on the lives of those who knew and loved him.
J.P. is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, his two sons, Everett and Joe and his brothers and sisters Chuck, Teresa, Joann, and Suzy along with many nieces and nephews. On behalf of all Van Horn employee owners, our heartfelt condolences are extended to the Van Horn family.
The Van Horn Automotive Family
The Van Horn Automotive Group is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, the Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 17 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 550 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa.
James Patrick Van Horn Formal Obituary (Hyperlink to site below)
The start of a new school year is exciting and hopeful for most families; but for others, it can be an anxious time. The expense of providing required school supplies is real, and sometimes overwhelming.
This year, the Van Horn Automotive Group organized a ‘Stuff the Trunk’ event; encouraging both employees and customers to donate school supplies to help area families start the year right. Each Van Horn dealership popped the trunk of a showroom vehicle, and invited people to stuff it full of notebooks, backpacks, markers, glue sticks and other necessary school items.
From mid-July to mid-August, fifteen Van Horn dealership locations and supporting departments were able to collect over 2,400 supplies for area students. The supplies were then provided to local community organizations for distribution, including: Boys & Girls Club, Salvation Army, United Way, Family Promise and a few individual schools.
“We are so appreciative of the efforts from our employee owners and our generous customers to make this event such a success,” said Ryan Thiel, Van Horn Automotive Group Marketing Director and ESOP Committee Member. Teresa Van Horn, co-CEO of Van Horn Automotive group added, “We have over 550 employees in our organization, and it’s very satisfying to see them dig a little deeper during a time when they are already spending their wages on school supplies and clothes for their own families.”
Golfer hits hole-in-one to win a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro
Kohler, WI, August 19, 2019 – What started out as a beautiful morning for golf at Blackwolf Run, became a magical day for Cambellsport resident Craig Hatch, who aced the 17th hole at Blackwolf Run’s River Course to win a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro from Van Horn Automotive Group.
Hatch, a brain cancer survivor himself, was participating in the annual Make-A-Wish Wisconsin golf outing, sponsored by Sargento and Johnsonville. Van Horn Automotive was the sponsor of two, hole-in-one contests at Blackwolf Run. With an 8 iron in hand, Hatch approached the 154-yard 17th hole of the River Course for his first tee shot of the day during a shotgun start. Hatch stated, “I didn’t think the ball actually went in! It was my first shot of the day and I was in disbelief. As the witness walked to the hole to verify that it was in there, I ran next to her because I couldn’t believe it. It was my first hole in one and my first time golfing in the Make-A-Wish golf outing.”
“This is my second time volunteering as a hole-in-one contest witness for the Make-A-Wish golf outing, said Sunday Strong, Executive Assistant at Van Horn Automotive Group. “It’s such a fun day for everyone. I’ve seen many golfers get close, but never make a hole-in-one; so to see Mr. Hatch achieve this feat was truly an exciting experience.” Teresa Van Horn, Co-CEO of Van Horn Automotive Group added, “We enjoy sponsoring great causes like Make-A-Wish alongside other area businesses to thank our communities for their patronage.”
About Make-A-Wish Foundation
Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We seek to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight their illness. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization, serving children in every community in the United States and in more than 50 countries worldwide. Together, generous donors, supporters, staff and nearly 40,000 volunteers across the U.S., grant a wish every 34 minutes, on average, somewhere in the country. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 315,000 wishes to children in the U.S. and its territories; more than 15,600 in 2018 alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit www.wish.org.
About Van Horn Automotive Group
Van Horn Automotive Group, Inc. is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 16 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 580 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. For employment opportunities visit the Careers page at www.vhcars.com.
Sheboygan South High School continues to demonstrate their dedication to teaching students about automotive and electronic mechanics. Their course titled: Automotive and Electro Mechanics, is a year-long introductory course that provides training for: tools, equipment, operation, maintenance, and most importantly safety. Students also learn about proper procedures for diagnostics and service.
Students receive hands-on practice
Students practice their skills on a variety of vehicles as well as industrial equipment and are taught procedures as well as electro-mechanical skills that can be applied to a career in automotive or manufacturing. Sheboygan South High School is currently looking at the possibility of receiving credits towards Lakeshore Technical College in automotive electricity.
Van Horn Automotive Group supports South High’s initiative to educate young students on automotive and electro-mechanical skills. “When South High reached out to us regarding donating a vehicle: it was a no brainer,” said Teresa Van Horn, Co-CEO of Van Horn Automotive. “We want to help empower our youth and support the community with a skilled workforce.” When asked about what the 2007 Jeep Commander could do for Sheboygan South High School, Collin Kachel, a teacher at the school, said that “The vehicle will be used as a training aid for the Automotive Mechanics class for the next 5 years. We greatly appreciate the donation as it is the first time our program has been able to utilize a clean, modern vehicle for training.”
This past Memorial Day, Van Horn Automotive Group, once again, took a community-driven approach to customer test drives. For every test drive taken May 24, 25, and 27, 2019, Van Horn offered to donate $20 to Children of Fallen Patriots, a foundation that provides college scholarships and education to children who have lost a parent serving in the military. “This is our second year running this event,’ said Marketing Director Ryan Thiel. “Our goal was to beat last year’s mark, and we were very happy to have achieved a 35% increase. We had great feedback from participants; even those not intending to buy a car that day. It’s important that we keep focus on those who gave everything for our freedom and their families.”
TEST DRIVE RESULTS
After the event, the totals were combined from all 15 Van Horn locations throughout Wisconsin and Iowa equaling 302 test drives and made a total donation of $6,500. “We believe that one of the best ways we can honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is to invest in the future of those they loved most in the world – their children,” said David Kim, co-founder and CEO of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Since 2002, Fallen Patriots has awarded more than $30 million and assisted 1,417 students earn their college degree. “A college education is the key to a bright future for any child and the generosity of our supporters is making those hopes and dreams come true.”
THANKS FOR DRIVING
The Van Horn family would like to thank everyone that came out to test drive a vehicle. Whether it was a car someone was possibly interested in purchasing, or a ride in a convertible, we greatly appreciate everyone that came out.
New south side location provides state-of-the-art facility focused on customer experience.
Sheboygan, WI, May 10, 2019 – Van Horn Automotive, in partnership with Quasius Construction, broke ground on a new Hyundai dealership and service facility May 9th. Present were representatives from Van Horn Automotive Group, Quasius Construction, Sheboygan County Chamber and Mike Vandersteen, Mayor City of Sheboygan.
The Van Horn Hyundai of Sheboygan franchise dealership will move from its current north side location at 3512 Wilgus Ave. to the south side of Sheboygan at 5525 Racetrack Road. “The new 16,106 square foot Hyundai facility is designed to provide the best customer experience possible,” said Chris Merklein, Director of Van Horn Real Estate and Development. “Located just south of our newly acquired Nissan and Volkswagen store, the construction process and site-work will begin in mid-May – we will see structural steel going up in June – interior framing in August, and substantial advancement in late November. Van Horn Automotive Group is excited to be selling and servicing cars out of the new dealership in time for Christmas.”
The new facility will feature a state-of-the-art service facility with two interior service drive-through lanes and eleven service bays to increase car care efficiencies and perform higher quality repairs. Adjacent to the service area, will be a comfortable customer lounge area and 2,600 square foot showroom. Designed to be energy efficient, the building will provide LED lighting throughout. Customers will also notice the glass façade’ wall along the entrance providing an abundance of natural light into the store.
“Van Horn is really excited to sharing the new space with our customers,” said Kyle Fale, Van Horn Platform Director for Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen. “Hyundai has been a great brand to work with both for Van Horn and customers who have purchased vehicles. Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is the best in America and proves to be an extremely reliable car brand. Our location on Wilgus Ave has treated us well over the years, but we are ready for an upgrade. Customers will agree and be very happy when they see that we have built a facility for better vehicle purchase and service needs.”
Quasius Construction will serve as the construction manager of the project. Quasius has partnered with Van Horn early in the planning and preconstruction process to help identify design and construction efficiencies for their new facility. Designed using Hyundai’s brand and prototype store specifications, the new Sheboygan store is the second one of its kind to be built in Wisconsin.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the Van Horn Automotive group on this project, and to play a role in the development of Sheboygan County” stated Matt Quasius, President of Quasius Construction. “Anytime we can partner with someone who’s values align with Quasius, it provides tremendous impact.”
The new facility will also include a large employee training area that will help to retain and attract quality talent as well as allow for character and career development. “We always strive to continue our mission of empowering people and by creating this space, we can do just that,” stated Fale. The inside will feature a wall-hung TV for computer projection and training assistance. The training area will serve a variety of functions for: meetings, presentations, training and think tanks.
In a statement Chuck Van Horn, Van Horn co-CEO of Van Horn Automotive Group, said “With the acquisition of Nissan/Volkswagen, and the addition of the new Hyundai location, we are committed to developing the Sheboygan South Business Park. As a student pilot, I fly above the new locations getting excited about how we can continue to play a part in making this area a more desirable and attractive destination for Sheboygan County and beyond.”
About the Quasius Construction
Quasius Construction, located in Sheboygan’s downtown district, delivers innovative construction solutions and services to clients throughout Wisconsin. Established in 1891, Quasius assists clients throughout their entire project life cycle, from conceptual design through construction completion, helping clients make informed decisions and meeting challenging project demands and budgets.
About Van Horn Automotive Group
Van Horn Automotive Group, Inc. is a family born, employee owned automotive group with headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Founded in 1966 by Joe Van Horn as a single Chevrolet dealership, and purchased by his children: Chuck, Teresa and JP Van Horn, Van Horn Automotive Group has grown to include 18 automotive dealerships, a finance company, a real estate business and several insurance companies. The group employs over 580 people throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. For employment opportunities visit the Careers page at www.vhcars.com.
This race season we all have a driver to cheer for and a great cause. Van Horn’s own Brian Wieland will be getting back behind the wheel because of his love for the sport, but also because of his passion for recovery. Brian will be racing in the Plymouth Dirt Track Series in the B Mod division. All winnings will be donated to Samaritan’s Hand – a drug and alcohol clinic and sober house in Sheboygan County. “Recovery is a personal interest of mine, and I want to continue to support healing in our community, says Brian Wieland, Used Car Director for Van Horn Automotive Group. “I love Sheboygan County and I’m always inspired by the great businesses that provide the community with an amazing place to live, work and grow. It is my mission to continue to help make a difference.”
Brian’s first race will be Saturday, April 27 in Plymouth at the Sheboygan County Fair Park. The full 2019 Plymouth Dirt Track Racing Schedule can be found here http://www.plymouthdtr.com/schedule.html.
In addition to racing, Brian’s schedule includes 2 brat frys, Saturday night pit sessions, 5 Road America Race displays and a final year-end event. Any questions regarding sponsorship opportunities or events, contact Brian Wieland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, April 12, 2019, members of the Van Horn Automotive Group attended the annual Top Workplaces Awards Presentation, hosted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. Those in attendance included Teresa Van Horn, Co-CEO and Jenny Krebsbach, Controller. “There was a lot of excitement in the room. They had encouraged the audience to bring their spirit, so there was a lot of cheering. As we grow, we haven’t lost sight of the importance of our employees. We listen to them, learn from them, and appreciate each person. I am very proud of our organization and look forward to the exciting things to come,” stated Krebsbach. The Van Horn Automotive Group ranked 21st among midsized companies in Wisconsin. See the full list here: https://projects.jsonline.com/database/2019/4/top-workplaces-2019.html#!/sizebandrank.asc.1/
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s annual Top Workplaces list showcases 150 outstanding businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. Companies are measured on qualities such as company leadership, career opportunities, workplace flexibility, compensation, benefits, and the impact company policies have on innovation and morale. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been awarding the Top Workplaces in the area for the past 10 years.
The Top Workplace Award has a HUGE meaning for Teresa Van Horn. “We’ve been working extremely hard to create an enjoyable working environment and this means we’re making progress. It tells me that our employees enjoy coming to work and like the direction we’re headed. A happier employee translates into providing a better experience for our customers which means continued growth for our dealerships.”
Every February, Van Horn Automotive Group Gives hosts the Pay-It-Forward moment at the Sheboygan County Chamber of Champions Gala. The Pay-It-Forward moment a random drawing, allows a Gala guest to select an organization close to them for a $1,000 donation made by Van Horn Automotive Group. Past Pay-It-Forward winners are Meals on Wheels, Sheboygan County Cancer Care, RCS Empowers, and Sharon S. Richardson Foundation.
This year, Joe Widder from BW Papersystems in Sheboygan was the lucky recipient of this award. He chose Great Marriages for the donation, since his parents are long time mentors for the organization.
Pictured are Van Horn Automotive Group Co-CEO, Teresa Van Horn, Joe Widder of BW Papersystems, and Crystal Dekker, Van Horn Automotive Group Public Relations Coordinator
Executive Director, Jocelyn Medrek, of Great Marriages stated “The mission of Great Marriages is to prepare and strengthen relationships, enrich marriages, and keep families together. Singles, dating, engaged or married couples are welcome to attend Great Marriages’ events! We are here to help you learn valuable relationship skills so we can be a community of vibrant, strong, joyful, life-long marriages. Our children need to know what a healthy marriage looks like so they can have successful relationships in their future.”
Medrek and Great Marriages associate, Winter Kohler, met with Ryan Thiel and Teresa Van Horn of Van Horn Automotive Group to present Great Marriages with the $1,000 donation. Also present for the check presentation was Pay-It-Forward winner, Joe Widder.
From left to right: Jocelyn Medrek, Ryan Thiel, Joe Widder, Teresa Van Horn, Winter Kohler
Great Marriages accomplishes their mission through couple-to-couple mentoring programs, monthly events, marriage retreats, corporate lunch and learns, and workshops. To view Great Marriages’ upcoming events, please visit www.great-marriages.org/events or call 920.783.6142 for more information.