Board of Directors Profile: Brad Preble
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. We spent a lot of time boating on the Miami River as a family. In 1977, I moved to Oregon. I grew up around the car business through junior high and high school. I worked at the dealership. After I graduated, I said I did not want to be in the car business. Cars are always one of the first things people stop buying when the economy goes south and the last thing they start buying when it gets better. I went into the management consulting business on the East Coast. Then, when I got out of business school, I got tricked back into the car business (at least that’s the family joke). It’s actually a welcome challenge today, though.
What’s unique about Carr Auto?
A couple of things. One, we provide a lifetime warranty and 10 years of roadside assistance on nearly every new and used vehicle we sell. This is at no extra cost to the customer, and something only Carr Auto Group provides as a standard feature. Two, our sales consultants are paid on salary. We want them to be there to guide our customers. Their goal is to point them in the direction of the right car that makes the sense for their family; there’s no incentive to steer them to anything else. I don’t know of any other dealer in town that does what we do in terms of salaried employees. We see a lot of salespeople come to us for employment and you can see that relief in their faces.
How do you connect to rivers today?
We have a place out in Redmond. We get over there as often as we can, and the Deschutes is always part of our trips there–whether it’s swimming, tubing, “crawdadding” or fishing.
How did you get involved with TFT?
I got involved back in the day with Oregon Trout. There was no The Freshwater Trust at the time. Joe Whitworth and I had grown up in college together. When he took the reins, and looked at the challenges, he said, “Boy, how would you like to get on the board?”
What keeps you engaged with TFT?
The magical thing about TFT is that they view the solution to the problem differently than any of the other conservation groups out there. There are many methods to attack the problem, but the way TFT does it, which is on the ground, collaborative and with science, has the potential to really solve the problem.
Do you have a great college story about Joe?
We’ve never been in trouble… well, we’ve never been caught. We spent a lot of time at the library. Actually, the times that Joe and I got in the most trouble was playing with our kids and doing things that terrified our wives (not the kids).
How did you meet your wife?
We met at Dartmouth. She was a year ahead of me and was a government major… and that’s why I became a government major.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
The advice I use most often was from my dad: Listen to what someone is saying and then listen to what they are meaning. Sometimes they are not the same.
What’s your best river trip?
We’ve been down the John Day a number of times as a family. Those were always the best. It was my dad and my brothers and other families and their sons and it was three days of fun and camaraderie. We’ve also been down the Colorado. That’s a pretty hairy trip when you don’t know what’s coming around the bend.
What’s a new fact you learned recently that you’d like to share with us?
My parents recently returned from South Africa where they were fortunate enough to visit several different wineries. They told me that the wines were so good because they were essentially at the same (but opposite) latitude as Napa Valley in the Northern hemisphere. This struck me as very strange as I had always thought of South Africa being much further south than it is actually.
How about your most embarrassing story?
There are so many, it is hard to pick just one. The most recent sticks out because it is so fresh. We showed up right on time for a hosted dinner party… except we showed up a week early. I had entered the date incorrectly into my calendar and despite the invite telling me I had a week to go, I trusted my own data input to my demise.
Why should someone give to The Freshwater Trust?
You give to The Freshwater Trust because what they’re doing and how they’re solving it, with a quantified approach and practical resolutions. Nobody is immune to what’s happening to our water. TFT provides the most expedient and efficient way to solve a problem.
If you could be a fish, what would you be?
I think a shark. Possibly a Great White. They make movies about you. You get theme music. You get a whole week devoted to you on TV. And pretty much everyone leaves you alone.
Your home river?
The Deschutes, of course!
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