Education is the most powerful tool one can possess, whether it’s curated in a traditional establishment or in the institution of life. For Bob Ambrose, the importance of working hard and earning high achievements proved to lead him on a successful path.
Growing up in a family of Educators, the importance of education was instilled in Bob from an early age. After graduating from Plant City High School, the ambitious adolescent decided to develop scholastic knowledge by attending Polk Community College.
Paralleling Bob’s acquirement of an Associates Degree’s from the Central Florida junior college, the United States had begun drafting for the Vietnam War. In support of his country, the graduating sophomore enlisted into the National Guard where he spent six years serving the nation.
Upon returning from serving, the soldier’s intention was to further his degree in the field of education. Instead, life took him down a different path; a path that in a few short years would lead him to Bartow Ford Company.
Mr. Ambrose’s plans detoured to a new career in the finance industry. After working in the independent finance field, a former colleague introduced Bob to Ford Motor Credit Company. This career move gave the financier new opportunities; particularly the introduction to Benny Robles, Sr. and Denny Mullis.
After a time of working together, the three acquaintances grew to become close friends. Mr. Robles was the first of the three to leave Ford Credit, heading to Bartow Ford Company in Bartow, FL. At the time Benny received a promotion, he called upon an old pal at FMCC to take over as Finance Manager for Bartow Ford. “Bob is trustworthy and hardworking, and I felt that our style of professional movement coincided together,” explained Benny on his decision to hire Mr. Ambrose.
Taking another career leap of faith was a simple decision for Bob as he saw potential for prosperity at Bartow Ford. With a young family, the new position as Finance Manager at a successful Ford dealership bestowed a more stable lifestyle.
Bob’s first promotion at the dealership propelled him into unknown territory. When the position of Used Car Manager was proposed, the Finance Manager was hesitant to accept. With no experience in this particular field he was afraid that his naivety might lose the dealership money. Bartow Ford founder, Ernest Smith, believed in the young professional and encouraged him by saying, “It will be like an education, and an education cost money so I am willing to lose if you are willing to learn.”
Accepting the challenge with a boost of confidence, Bob saw exponential professional growth within his career. However, the proudest accomplishments come from the advocates local community affiliations, serving on numerous boards including, Bartow Regional Hospital, Heartland Crime Stoppers, and the George W. Harris Youth and Runaway Shelter. “It’s very easy to give of your money, but I wanted to take it a step further and get personally involved.”
In early 2013, after serving Bartow Ford Company for over 33 years, Mr. Ambrose decided to retire. Future plans include spending time with family, being active, and enjoying life.
Bob Ambrose credits Bartow Ford for endowing an education he believes could have never been learned in school. He exits the company knowing Bartow Ford will always follow the philosophies that Ernest Smith founded it upon. There is an old saying by Mr. Smith, “If I take care of my employees, my employees will take care of my customers and there in turn, my customers will take care of me.” It has proven to be a very wise way to do business.