Automotive Industry Innovator Hugh Hathcock Provides File-Setting Gift To Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hugh Hathcock’s existence story intertwines with the University of Florida like Hogtown Creek weaves its way by town.

There are starts off and stops, straightaways and bends together the route. But Hathcock, who invested his elementary faculty yrs right here, hardly ever really still left. His coronary heart constantly remained nearby mainly because of the Gators. It did not issue that he made his home and constructed a hugely successful business in Valdosta, Ga., wherever most locals mortgage their loyalty to a further Southeastern Conference powerhouse.

Hugh’s father, the late Douglas Hathcock, passed his passion for the Gators down to his son. Hugh did the same when his boys came along, scheduling family members journeys to Sugar Bowls and Ultimate Fours with sons Brandon and Gage, and nephew Seth Rountree, whom Hugh reported is “like my son.”

All these Orange & Blue recollections more than the years trace back again to Hugh’s formative years.

“My earliest Gator memories are my dad getting me to check out Spurrier play when I am like 5 years aged,” Hathcock stated. “Devoid of him, I would never have been a Gator supporter.”

Hathcock’s father worked for Western Electrical in those times, and the family members at some point moved to Valdosta, exactly where Hathcock went to superior faculty. When the time arrived for university, Hathcock discovered his way back again to UF — but not for lengthy.

He attended for a semester. His curiosity in Gators sports nevertheless burned deep, but there was a significant planet outdoors city restrictions, and Hathcock dreamed of building his mark as a businessman.

“At that issue, I didn’t feel like any university was going to train me how to be an entrepreneur,” Hathcock explained. “My relatives was extremely middle course. My moms and dads worked their ass off, but they had no cash. I grew up with no dollars, so men and women who mature up with no dollars want to make money.”

In advance of a dive into the facts, know that Hathcock produced sufficient funds to recently pledge a $12.6 million contribution to Gator Boosters, the largest single economical gift from a donor in the organization’s heritage. To realize and honor this sport-altering present, in early December the UF Board of Trustees permitted the naming of the Hugh Hathcock Suite Tower at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Hugh Hathcock Basketball Complicated at the UF Basketball Observe Facility. Parts of the gift will be earmarked for renovations to the basketball practice facility, even though the equilibrium will help the UAA Facilities Grasp Program. Gator Boosters has obtained commitments of $148.8 million in personal assistance towards the master strategy.
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“Hugh’s abilities and good results in small business are matched only by his enthusiasm for the Gators,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin claimed. “He thinks major, so it’s only fitting that this is the biggest single present Gators Boosters has at any time been given. We’re so appreciative of the assistance Hugh presents, and grateful for his generosity.”

Hathcock’s loyalty to the Gators goes well over and above his most-the latest present.

“This history-setting present is a further case in point of Hugh’s unwavering motivation and guidance,” mentioned Phil Pharr, Gator Boosters Govt Director.

As his 5 little ones grew up, the UF soccer and men’s basketball groups served as continuous companions. Two of his daughters attended UF, which include one particular set to graduate in late April.
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The Hathcock loved ones designed excursions generally to the UF campus for sporting activities. They traveled to bowl video games close and significantly. They celebrated nationwide championships and received to know coaches and gamers.

Doug Brown, Deputy Executive Director of Gator Boosters, has regarded Hathcock because he was commencing out and has viewed Hathcock’s business occupation blossom. No subject his station in lifetime, Hathcock usually kept interested in what was going on with the Gators.

“Hugh is a Gator to his main,” Brown stated. “For decades he has supported us in so lots of means. He is a fantastic Gator and we want a total great deal far more just like him.”

The Gators turned aspect of the Hathcock family.

“Even when I was in my 20s, just setting up to make funds, I was even now a year-ticket holder,” Hathcock reported. “When they did the Landing Terrace, I was a single of the to start with types to [contribute]. You are not able to actually do the matters you want to do right until you strike it big. They understood me back again when my companies were just little organizations.”

Hathcock’s small business vocation is the serious story below. In the mid-1980s, he begun a enterprise identified as Fresh Beginnings to assistance motor vehicle dealers all-around the nation join in a a lot more personalized way with consumers. He came up with a very simple however amazing strategy.

“It was cookies that we place in 2.5-pound designer canister bins, and we experienced a card method that I place the dealers’ identify on it,” Hathcock stated. “It was a thank-you card. We went to car dealers all across the United States telling them when they marketed a vehicle, we would ship this can of cookies with this card program.”

Hathcock began tiny. His father and other family members users even aided bake the cookies. The strategy was a huge hit and progressed into a organization identified as eLead, which made and built-in CRM (consumer marriage management) technology to build a database for client referrals, service visits, and several jobs connected with the automotive field.

New Beginnings grew to indicator up more than 3,000 dealerships to use the assistance in its very first 5 many years. It opened a contact heart in Valdosta that became the largest in the country in the car sector. At the time Hathcock pivoted to the extra technological eLeadCRM, the enterprise serviced more than 5,000 dealerships across the U.S.

“I was earning cellular phone phone calls for every little thing from service visits to acquiring a vehicle to fairness calls,” Hathcock reported. “Then, in 2000, I created the first CRM. This is actually what I did to make the income to give this reward. In the automobile industry in the late ’90s, there was no CRM. I bought a business in Destin, and I constructed this software program organization and developed an automotive CRM, and I was the very first to sector with it.”

ELeadCRM grew into an business large for the subsequent two many years until Hathcock offered the organization in 2019 to CDK International for $550 million.

But Hathcock’s story isn’t going to conclusion there. Instead of retiring to a recliner, Hathcock is determined by a passion for shaping the foreseeable future of the automotive sector. He launched a new organization in 2020 called Velocity Automotive Remedies and subsidiary ReconVelocity. The corporation is based mostly in Destin, where by Hathcock now life, and features a technological innovation middle in Atlanta.&#13
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Hugh Hathcock and Kalah McCoy, whom he a short while ago married, at the NADA trade demonstrate previous thirty day period in Las Vegas. (Photograph: Courtesy of AutoSuccessOnline)
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According to its mission assertion on the web, Velocity Automotive Options is “committed to assisting dealers remodel how they have interaction with their buyers and their business enterprise by providing evolving software package options that streamline and renovate how dealerships share information and facts with their customers and develop operational performance for rising gross gains.”

Hathcock mentioned the firm is growing and has signed up 1,000 dealerships in its first two yrs. Hathcock and organization executives not long ago traveled to Las Vegas this month for the National Automobile Sellers Affiliation annual trade show to endorse their newest technological know-how.

You could say everyday living is good for Hathcock. He not too long ago married Kalah McCoy. She has blended seamlessly into Hathcock’s Orange & Blue-tinted life about the previous 3 years. McCoy attends Gators gatherings with Hathcock and was with him at football mentor Billy Napier‘s introductory press convention in December.

Hathcock said the timing was ideal for such a considerable money present to the Gators.

“I sold my firm above 3 decades back,” he mentioned. “When you arrive into that form of funds, that helps make it a very good time. There are a lot of terrific suggestions, but you have to place a whole lot of wonderful folks about you, and you have to execute. I never had anybody finance me. I never took partners in. I by no means took any investors. To acquire a enterprise from zero and be a weak nation boy from Gainesville and then Valdosta, it’s been very fantastic.

“You never aspiration that when you start out anything, that it is really heading to switch into one thing that would make you virtually a billionaire.

A much different life than Hathcock understood growing up. The 1 continual has been his loyalty to the Gators.

 

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