You What?

Tom Kelley, President, Kelley Automotive Group
Mar 3, 2023
Jeffrey Crane
You What?

Do you have a nickname? TK

Describe yourself in three words. Motivated, benevolent, compassionate.

What is the first movie you ever saw in a theater? “Old Yeller” at the East 30 Drive-In theatre.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I admired my father so much that I just wanted to do what he did – sell cars, fly planes and play golf.

What is your favorite part of your job? The human-to-human connection with all of our amazing employees and customers.

What was your first job? I raked sand-traps at the age of 13 for Brookwood Golf Club.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Steering our company throughout all of the challenging times over the past 20 years.

What is your dream job? An astronaut. 

What is your biggest pet peeve? Being inconsistent.

Do you have a motto you live by? If so, what is it? Be Kind. Be Respectful. Work Hard. Play Hard.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to cast as you? Harrison Ford.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party (living, dead, famous, real or fictional)? Leonardo da Vinci, Jack Nicklaus, Santa Claus and Abraham Lincoln.

Who would you like to see perform in concert? The Beatles from the 1960s.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? The moon.

What does your workout regimen consist of? Cardio daily, strength training three times a week and golf as much as possible.

What profession would you never try? I would never want to be an accountant. 

If you could solve one major problem, what would it be? Homelessness.

Where will you go on your next vacation? New Zealand.

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My family.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Don’t ever fail to read the checklist before you fly.

What skill would you like to master? Playing the piano.

What fad do you wish would come back or stay gone forever? I hope polyester suits never come back.

What age do you wish you could permanently be and why? 50 – life was good, I was healthy, capable, strong and sharp.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Monkey brains.

What would you do with your 15 minutes of fame? I would use my fame to raise money for causes that are dear to me.

If you could send a message to the entire world, what would you say in 30 seconds? Let’s figure out how to get along better and how to help those who are in need. We have the resources, but not the collaboration. 

When was the last time you tried something new? I hiked the Path of the Gods while visiting Italy’s Amalfi Coast in September 2022.

What moment in your life would you most like to go back and relive? Playing golf with Jack Nicklaus when we opened Sycamore Hills in 1989.

If you could know the answer to one of life’s mysteries, which mystery would you choose? Do aliens exist?

When was the last time you cried and why? I cried just last week while watching “Seabiscuit.”

Do you have any guilty pleasures? What are they? Eating ice cream.

What is something that never fails to make you laugh? My grand-dog, Stella, being a goofball.   

In what city did you grow up? Fort Wayne

What do you love most about Fort Wayne? It’s a larger city, but has a small town feel.

What would you choose as your last meal? Filet mignon, a baked potato and broccoli.

What’s your biggest fear? Losing.

Who was your first celebrity crush? Hayley Mills.

What was the last gift you gave someone? I gave golf balls to a friend.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you win a medal in? Selling cars.

If you hosted a talk show, who would be your first guest? American businessman Warren Buffet

Name one person who has inspired you in your life. My dad.

What is the best gift you have ever been given? Life.

If you could give your 15 year-old self advice, what would it be? Learn life’s lessons sooner.

Who is your hero? My dad.

What book has had the greatest impact on you? “Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins

If you received enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing? I would keep working.

What gets you excited and driven to achieve? The fear of losing.

If you could go back in time, once, and change a single thing, what would it be? I’d go back to the start of World War II.

What do you collect? Family memorabilia.

When were you happiest? Anytime I’ve spent with loved ones.

What trait or habit in yourself do you deplore? Compulsiveness.

What is the most productive time of day for you? 1 - 4 p.m.

What famous person would you most like to meet? Leonardo da Vinci.

If you had to teach someone one thing, what would you teach? How to turn your passion into a career.

What three items would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island (other than food and water)? A satellite phone, matches and a fishing pole.

What is your earliest memory? My dad gave me a John Deere tractor at three years old, in 1955.

What is one important skill you think everyone should have? Empathy.

If you had a time machine, where and to what time period would you travel? The Italian Renaissance era.

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