Sunday, June 4, 2023

Vassallo: From Horses to Horsepower – Brian Vonderheide Joins Cannon Motors in Oxford

Brian Vonderheide
Brian Vonderheide

Cannon Motors has a new General Manager for its GM Dealership here in Oxford.

Brian Vonderheide, his lovely wife Chasity along with their four sons and daughter are moving here from Tupelo. Brian has a most interesting history and is talented beyond description. HottyToddy.com visited with him this week at the dealership.

HottyToddy.com: Brian, apparently you are not the only exceptional talent in the family.

Brian Vonderheide: Chasity is a Senior Director with the national organization, Classical Christian Community for Homeschooling and will be continuing her role from here in Oxford.

HottyToddy.com: Provide us a little background information about yourself.

Brian Vonderheide: I am from the northern Kentucky area originally. My family has an extensive background with race horses and breeding. My involvement with the racing industry began about 17 years ago. However, I have been involved in the automotive business since 1991.

Brian and his wife Chastity with
Brian and his wife Chastity with Blake, Brock, Brice, Braden and Celle Sophia.

HottyToddy.com: What then brought you to Tupelo?

Brian Vonderheide: My mother was there and in 1993 I moved to Tupelo to eventually become the GM for Carlock Nissan.

HottyToddy.com: You have quite an impressive family group.

Brian Vonderheide: My boys are 13, 11, 10 and six and a daughter who is four years old.

HottyToddy.com: Your career advanced rapidly while in Tupelo.

Brian Vonderheide: My passion for the car business is definitely part of my DNA and the last eight years I have been the GM of MidSouth which is a large wholesale automotive company based in Tupelo with a large retail presence on the internet.

HottyToddy.com: How did your family feel about moving to Oxford?

Brian Vonderheide: Chasity was jumping up and down literally. We have been Ole Miss fans for a very long time and this move was quite popular in our family.

HottyToddy.com: What will your role be here in Oxford for Cannon?

Brian Vonderheide: It is all encompassing. I will be fully responsible for the day-to-day operations inclusive of parts, collision, sales and service. I will also be very active within the community representing the dealership accordingly.

HottyToddy.com: Tell our readers your highest priority, business wise, for 2016.

Brian Vonderheide: “Greatness.” If we achieve this within all our objectives, the culture of mutual respect throughout the organization will be significantly enhanced. The employees will all work well with one another toward the best interests of everyone involved.

HottyToddy.com: Michael Joe sets a high standard.

keeneland-spring

Brian Vonderheide: Mr. C is the most focused customer service oriented owner I have ever met.

HottyToddy.com: That’s powerful, however you feel it anytime you’re at the dealership. Returning to the rail for a moment, what is the most enjoyment you’ve ever experienced from your participating in the racing industry?

Brian Vonderheide: Watching your horse race and win gives you an incredible adrenaline rush like one you have never experienced. That is the highest appeal of that business.

HottyToddy.com note (With the Kentucky Derby quickly approaching, I tried then to get a horse tip from Brian, but he was too focused on selling automobiles than picking horses.) Let’s talk about one of your current models here at Cannon that also provides an adrenaline rush.

Brian Vonderheide: The 2016 Suburban has taken an enormous leap from 2015 in terms of style, comfort and technology. For an example, when pulling into a garage, when approaching close to the wall, your seat starts vibrating to warn the driver. These vehicles get great gas mileage for a large chassis, 23 on the highway and 16-17 in town. The price range varies between $50 and $70,000 coming in 9 colors! It’s not unusual to reach 300,000 to 400,000 miles on one of these thoroughbreds.

HottyToddy.com: Your customer base here is how wide and long?

Brian Vonderheide: Just last week (through the Internet) we had customers from Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and the Gulf Coast. Northern Mississippi is basically our market with the Ole Miss alumni base providing a large share of business.

2016 Cheverolet Malibu
2016 Cheverolet Malibu

HottyToddy.com: Now we’re going to put you on the spot. Say a single mom walks in one day who has teenagers and is seeking a dependable, reliable vehicle that gets great mileage and is easy to maneuver and is affordable. What immediately comes to mind?

Brian Vonderheide: The Chevrolet Malibu. It gives her the best of all worlds. It is sporty. gets 37 MPG and with a hybrid up to 47. There is a tremendous amount of new technology incorporated within and the price range is between $21 and $32,000. It also is available in nine colors.

HottyToddy.com: (The intensity and passion by which Brian described this car, I wanted one right then.) Brian, you are one of those individuals who is so interesting, I could take up your entire afternoon, however, let’s close on this final question…when you hear the name Seabiscuit, what do you think about that could translate to Cannon Motors?

Brian Vonderheide: Heart. This is not something you can train or teach. You are either born with it or you’re not, that is the drive to succeed. It is my job to provide the environmen by being a great leader and mentor…that is my responsibility to give everyone here the opportunity to succeed.

It’s very easy to understand why Mr. C selected Brian for this top post at Cannon. As customers get to know him, the business will grow even moreso. And with Chasity, Blake, Brock, Brice, Braden and Celle Sophia along for the ride (no pun attended) to support him, the Oxford community is the real winner. When quality companies such as Cannon are in your backyard, quality individuals are attracted as well. To the Vonderheide family, welcome aboard!


Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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