For 27 years, Brad Akins has overseen one of Barrow County’s most stable and successful businesses, helping grow family-owned Akins Ford into a nationally-renowned dealership.

Ford Motor Company recognized those efforts in a big way earlier this year, naming Akins to its inaugural Sales Hall of Fame Class in a surprise announcement during a gathering of dealers from the country on Sea Island.

Akins, who was chosen as the Southeast member of the class, was one of only five of the roughly 3,000 principal Ford dealers in the U.S. who were selected. Other inductees in the class included Vince Sheehy of Washington, D.C. area-based Sheehy Auto Stores (East), Bert Boeckmann of Los Angeles area-based Galpin Ford (West), Sam Pack of Dallas-based Sam Pack Automotive Group (Central) and Ed Brown of Livonia, Mich.-based Bill Brown Ford (Great Lakes).

Akins and the others were selected based on a list of criteria that included having at least 25 years as a dealer principal, being recognized as a top volume dealer, having high customer satisfaction and having strong involvement in the community.

“I was sitting there (at the Sea Island gathering), and someone had to tell me they called my name,” Akins said recently during a sit-down interview at the Akins Ford headquarters on West May Street in Winder. “I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t even thinking of it as a possibility. It’s an honor to even be considered for something like this. It was humbling, very humbling, to be considered part of what I believe is a very elite group of dealers.

“You’re talking about guys I knew of and admired from the time I was a teenager.”

See the full story in the July 19 issue of the Barrow News-Journal.

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