Paul Valentine is a third-generation auto dealer who not only followed in his father’s footsteps in business, but also in his service on the MDA board, his extensive philanthropic endeavours and even in receiving MDA’s top award (Ted Valentine received his award in 1984). “It is a special honour to be one of the few father-son combinations to win this award, and I wish he was around to share the accolades. His business philosophies are those I embrace every day,” says Paul. “As a Rotarian, (my father) always asked, ‘Is it fair to all concerned?’ He wanted each deal and transaction to be win/win. I try to do that with every person I meet and every deal we make.”
November 14, 2022
MDA | Dealer of Excellence
Paul’s grandfather, Bert Valentine, first started selling Austins after WWII, then Studebakers and, finally, Volvos in 1967. Ted gas jockeyed for his father in his youth, then took over the management of the dealership in the late 1960s, eventually handing the reins to Paul in 2010. As a student, Paul worked every summer at the original downtown dealership. After earning his commerce degree from the University of Calgary in 1987, he started working full time immediately. Over the years, Paul took on many roles to learn the business: washing cars, cleaning washrooms, working in the parts department, selling cars and accounting. When the dealership relocated to a new facility in 2000, Paul became its sales manager, subsequently ascending to general manager in 2010 and then dealer principal in 2020.
Paul went on to open two more Calgary dealerships—Jaguar Land Rover Royal Oak in fall 2020 and Volvo Cars Royal Oak one year later. “I love creating a healthy work environment for a hundred employees and setting each of them up for success along with their families,” he says. Long ago, the business adopted the Southwest Airlines philosophy: Keep your staff happy. They will keep your customers happy and thus your shareholders will be happy. It’s a formula that’s proving successful: all three dealerships are achieving nation-leading customer satisfaction ratings, and Valentine Volvo has won Volvo’s President’s Award 14 times over the past 15 years.
Business success aside, “I believe that the true measure of success is leaving the world better than you found it,” contends Paul. “Our business is a tool to improve the lives of everyone around us—from our staff and their families to our customers and the community. That’s why we are in business,” he adds. With community service as its core value, the Valentine group donates at least 10% of its earnings to charity and community groups including Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, CUPS, The Mustard Seed, Feed the Hungry, The Drop-In Centre, Inn from the Cold and many more. Valentine also takes a personal approach to ‘giving back’, volunteering for a variety of organizations over the years and is currently the head of the finance committee for both St. Mary’s University and St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Paul has also contributed his expertise toward the betterment of his industry, having served as chair of the Volvo Canada Retailer Advisory Board for 18 years, as president of the Calgary Motor Dealers Association and the Calgary Auto Show, as well as on the MDA board of directors. He found his time on the MDA board enlightening, “I learned that we all have the same issues, and we all have the same goal. Together, as dealers, we can make this industry more ethical and professional and give back to the community at the same time.”