What three words most accurately describe him?
Strong, empathetic, passionate.
When and how did you realize how important he was going to be in your life?
After I finished my MBA at Mizzou, I moved to California to work for Toyota Motor North America. The world of automotive is very small, and even in California, I would meet people who knew my family or had mutual friends with Carey. When I moved away, I became closer to my dad because I would call him while I was stuck in traffic, telling him about what I learned or who I met. Professionally, it was fun to be able to bounce ideas off my dad or share new ways of doing business.
How does he encourage/teach you?
My dad taught me to be very independent. I’ve always liked figuring things out on my own, even from a very young age. My dad encouraged my independence and supported my decisions.
What do you think he really loves about his career?
It means a lot to Carey to carry on the family’s tradition in the automotive business, started by his grandfather in 1936. He’s enjoyed watching his nephew Jay, his son Kyle, and daughter-in-law Gemma find their own paths and strengths in automotive. Now that he has us all working for the group, he’s certainly a proud dad and proud uncle. He’s passionate about continuing the legacy of the family business.
What traits does he have that make him successful?
Respect for others & humility. Operating a successful business with your older brothers doesn’t leave room for a large ego. Carey isn’t the type to brag about any particular success, unless it’s about his children. He’s not prideful, but he certainly takes pride in his children.
What traits did you inherit that made you successful?
Humility. While that doesn’t seem like it would have served me in my corporate career with Toyota, it certainly gave me the opportunity to build relationships, learn from, and engage with many people.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from him?
People come first, business comes second. In the long run, the relationships you build mean more than any measure of success in business.
What is his greatest strength?
Carey would say without a doubt it’s his wife, Terri.
“People come first, business comes second.”Carey Riley
What is important to Carey?
Relationships and traditions are important to Carey. Carey went to Northwood University in Michigan, known for degrees specializing in automotive. Long before there was Facebook, group texts, e-mails, and cell phones, Carey and some classmates, a few Canadians, Michiganders, and one Missourian, dialed into a conference call on Christmas morning of their senior year in 1979. The group hasn’t missed the annual Christmas conference call since then.
What else do you want to share about him?
He’s my favorite Riley – that’s what I tell people when they ask me about Carey. He isn’t one for the spotlight. You probably haven’t seen him in too many car commercials over the years. He’s the youngest of four, two brothers, Mike and Kevin, and one sister, Kathy. And he’ll politely correct someone when they say, “Hi Kevin!” — although you’ll make his day if you call him Carey. He’s the guy who will do the right thing when no one is looking, and he doesn’t know a stranger. He’s a brother, uncle, husband, friend, and graduated to the title of grandpa this year. But to me, he’s always going to be my dad.
Narrated by his daughter,
Director of Marketing, Riley Auto Group