From The Top: Kevin Fletcher, Toyota Motor Co.
By David Sharos For The Sun January 31, 2013 7:02PM
Kevin Fletcher, 44, is the regional general manager for the Toyota Motor Company. | David Sharos~For The Sun
Updated: March 4, 2013 6:24AM
When you’re born and raised in Michigan, it might be hard not to be a car guy. So when Naperville resident Kevin Fletcher pondered his future after graduating from Michigan State, the only problem was which company he was going to work for.
“It’s kind of weird being raised in that area of the country and going to work for an import company, but that’s what I did,” he said.
Fletcher, 44, is the regional general manager for the Toyota Motor Co. who has spent his entire adult life working for the car company. A college project actually led to his choice.
“I did a report in school about the company as I was earning my bachelor’s degree in business administration,” Fletcher said. “They also had these career days at Michigan State where recruiters would come out, and it was a tough job market in 1991 when I got out of school, but I’ve been with the company now for 21 years.”
Fletcher said the company had just launched the Lexus brand and the success of the name plate and the high degree of customer satisfaction versus other brands convinced him to catch on with Toyota. His work as a management trainee began in New Jersey where he spent 17 of his 21 years before being promoted as the regional sales manager in the Midwest, where he oversees 70 employees that service Toyota dealerships in four states — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.
“I’ve managed a Lexus zone office and have been a district and regional manager,” he said. “I also worked as an assistant general manager in the New York region. My work has never been in retail — it’s been with dealers, and making sure they have the products and support they need so that they can take care of our ultimate customers. We work as a liaison with 112 dealers in the region and provide them the tools they need for sales and service.”
Dan Williams, 42, a district sales manager for Toyota, said Fletcher is uniquely qualified for his position given his extensive years and experience with the company.
“Kevin has been with the company many years, and has been promoted to many positions on his way to the top of the ladder,” Williams said. “He has the ability to lead others and grow. Our word with Toyota is not ‘best,’ it’s ‘better,’ and Kevin is a leader that helps improve things in order to keep up with this economy.”
Williams also described his boss as someone “people trust” and is a great listener.
“Kevin is a real person and is always amazingly positive,” he said. “He has that ‘can-do’ attitude, and because of all these traits, he is where he is.”
Fletcher said, as an executive, he gets to drive a new car every three to six months and still gets the same buzz about it as the rest of those who buy and own a new set of wheels.
“I like to drive the new models when they come out and see how they perform, but yes, I still enjoy that new car experience,” he said.
Fletcher and his family, which includes wife Mary Ellen and three children ages 6, 10 and 12, all moved to Naperville 18 months ago. Fletcher said the choice to settle here given all the various Chicago suburbs was an easy one.
“We looked for a place with good schools and a great community environment, and to me, that made it easy to settle here in Naperville,” he said. “Naperville’s demographics are great for this kind of business, and because of that, the Naperville dealer here is the No. 1 dealership in the entire Chicago region. My own goals are to eventually move to the company headquarters in California — all roads lead to that, I guess — but in the meantime, I’ve very happy to be living and working here.”