There are two contributing factors to Robert Weinmann’s success — his ability to build relationships and his generosity.
There is no doubt that the accomplishments of Robert Weinmann, MBA,CFP, are impressive. Although primarily known for his automotive dealerships, Veterans Ford (Metairie), Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep (Gulfport, Miss.) and the former Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep (Bay St. Louis, Miss.), he is also active in the hospitality, real estate, oil and gas, and financial industries.
His love for the automobile industry began 20 years ago, originating with Chuck Fain, a family friend who owned several car dealerships in the New Orleans area. “I have always found the multifaceted automotive industry to be both dynamic and interesting,” Weinmann says. “If you think about it, it is like having six companies under one roof. You have new cars, used cars, parts, service, the financing/insurance department and the body shop. There is so much going on at all times, and it creates a vibrant setting for growth.”
Veteran’s Ford and Chrysler Dodge Jeep differ from other automotive dealerships, because the focus is on providing valuable and necessary services, and always taking care of customers’ needs. “We believe in building relationships,” Weinmann says. “Relationships that last generations.”
Weinmann explained that building relationships with customers involves helping them to make the right decisions and making the process enjoyable for them instead of stressful. He built his automotive dealerships behind the philosophy that buying a car should be fun and rewarding. “We offer great prices, a large inventory and a pleasant atmosphere,” he says. “We want our customers to feel great as we help them fulfill their transportation lifestyle needs.”
Creating a fun and pleasant environment, where customers can select the best transportation is a Veteran’s Ford specialty. Whenever a customer buys a vehicle, it is cause for celebration. “Our attitude is, ‘Life is short, so why not celebrate the good things?’ So when we make a sale, we ring our company bell and take our customer’s photo as they hold up our ‘VetsFord Happy’ sign,” Weinmann says. “When our customers are happy, it makes us happy.”
A Renaissance Man
After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Weinmann pursued his M.B.A. from the A. B. Freeman School of Business of Tulane University and his CFP from the College of Financial Planning. As his car dealerships grew, so did his multitude of varied investments in securities, real estate, insurance and hospitality industries throughout the Gulf Coast Region.
Among other accomplishments, he is the manager and majority owner of Rowe Oil Corporation, Veterans Land Company, MS Gulf Properties, MS Interstate Properties, MS Bay Properties, Weinmann Reinsurance Company and Weinmann Holdings, and he serves as vice president of Waverly Oil Corporation. Weinmann is also a founding investor and serves on the board of Versant Holdings/Life and Casualty Company in Mississippi, and he was previously the majority owner and managing director of The Whitney, a Wyndham Historic Hotel.
A licensed certified financial planner, he holds real estate and private pilot licenses, and he has served on the board of directors for more than 20 businesses, which include academic, medical and philanthropic companies.
Inspired by Giving Back
A native of New Orleans, Weinmann believes in giving his time, treasure and talent back to the community. “I am fortunate and I feel blessed that I am able to give back to others,” he says. “I enjoy making people happy and am grateful that I have the means to do so.”
Of all his varied accomplishments, Weinmann is most proud of his role as a founding member and past chairman of the JCFA charter schools. JCFA provides a non-traditional pathway for Louisiana students to earn a high school diploma. JCFA began with a single location in Harvey in 2010 and has since expanded to an additional three campuses.
“What these schools have done for students is remarkable,” Weinmann says. “Most of these students were disengaged from high school for various reasons. To see how JCFA has changed their lives is astounding. JCFA has given these students an opportunity to make something of themselves, fulfill their own lives and become valued members of society.”
Behind the Scenes Problem-Solver
For those who are tempted to think that leadership from behind the scenes has less impact, Weinmann’s life is a reminder of the power of servant leadership. He believes that the businesses he owns or invests in are a part of the fabric of New Orleans, and he sees them as an opportunity to do good. As he speaks about the issues facing our community, he emits a contagious enthusiasm.
“I view challenges as opportunities, as chances to create solutions,” he says. “I have always loved solving puzzles, so it is a natural way for me to address a business or community problem. I find it interesting and engaging to be involved when there are a variety of options. Once we arrive at the best solution, we can put a strategic plan in place and see results.”
Weinmann currently serves or has served on the board of directors for the Tulane Medical Center, GNOEA, Jefferson Business Council, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Delgado Community College, Metropolitan Crime Commission, Jefferson Community Foundation, JCFA Academy, the Eason-Weinmann Foundation, Pi Foundation, The Audubon Institute, Country Day Alumni Association, YMCA, Touro Hospital Foundation, Tulane Association of Business Alumni, Tulane Provost Council, Tulane Business Council and Tulane Distinguished Alumni Committee.
A father of three wonderful children, Weinmann believes his main goal is to create a better world for them. When asked how he makes time for all his business and philanthropic endeavors, he smiles and gives the Veteran’s Ford mantra, “C’mon man, you just have to make it fun!”