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General manager speaks on benefits of GM training program

“Kade Rzewnicki has been with the company for 18 years and has always aspired to do more,” says Lloyd Hildebrand, owner of Macomb Powersports. “He worked his way up through the ranks from mechanic to service manager to now, our general manager of operations. He graduated [in March] from Garage Composites’ General Manager Training, a yearlong program. He is now fully into his role as our acting GM, and we look forward to his leadership and vision in helping us grow and take us to the next level.” 

Rzewnicki grew up in Macomb County and started riding at a young age. “As soon as my dad told us we could start those three-wheelers, we could ride them. So that’s when the passion began,” he says. “Throughout the years we got some old minibikes and dirt bikes and fixed them up. I just loved working with my hands, so I went in 2005 to AMI in Daytona Beach, the American Motorcycle Institute, and learned how to wrench on some things and came back and started here in 2006. That’s where it all started.” 

He recommends industry people go through training. He says he learned a lot about specific metrics that are tracked throughout the dealership, from parts to service to sales. “They’re really helpful and they tell you a lot about the behaviors in your dealership,” he says, “what people are doing right and what people are doing wrong, just by reviewing the composite, which is their format of the financials.” 

Two years ago, Macomb relocated from two buildings to a 22,000 square foot facility, improving operations in each department.

“Kade’s hard work, commitment and focus got him where he is today,” Hildebrand says. “We are very proud of him and extremely lucky to have a person of this caliber and work ethic on our roster. He is the best thing that has ever happened to our business and our family 18 years ago, and we have enjoyed these years watching him grow into his new leadership role with our organization.”  

“He’s a great guy, a great mentor,” Rzewnicki says about Hildebrand. “He’s a family guy, as I am, and we’re both numbers guys. We clicked a long time ago.” 

As a general manager, Rzewnicki is focused on being a good coach to his team. He says it is important that his team understands what goals have been set and the reason behind the tasks assigned to them. “Why does it matter? What kind of difference does it make? Give them some statistics so they understand and don’t just follow your rules,” he explains.  

“I’m more of a servant leader,” he continues. ‘What do you need from me so you can do your job well?’ We want to supply all our employees with all the tools they need to do it efficiently and do it well.” 

Training and communicating  

As a 2023 Powersports Business Best-In-Class winner for the service department, the Macomb team especially strives for efficiency in this department. The dealership’s service team is made up of Honda Red Level certified technicians, and Brian Ladner, a winner of the 2023 Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix. “He won the gold, got to take home some prizes and they took him to France to the headquarters,” Rzewnicki says.  

Service Technician Brian Ladner, third from the left, was the winner of the 2023 Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix.

“I have a really good team of technicians back there. We send them to training every single year… When it slows down in the fall, everybody’s doing all the online training they can do. They usually go out of town once a year for a week and pick an OEM and just get really involved in the training and stay up on the new technology.” 

He shares that training is a game changer within the department, along with good communication. Macomb employees gather every week for a team meeting and every morning for a huddle. “It’s just important to talk to your team, see where their heads are at. We do a morning huddle every day at 8:45 just to say, ‘Hey, you’re here. Are you focused? Are you ready? Are you glad?’ Communication is huge for us.”  

Making a move 

Macomb Powersports is located in Chesterfield, Michigan, and currently employs a team of 26. Two years ago, the dealership relocated from two buildings to a 22,000 square foot facility, improving operations in each department.  

“You had the showroom floor and the parts department in the back of that store, and all the accounting ladies were upstairs. And on the other side of a small alley, we had the service department,” Rzewnicki says about the old location. “We moved into this new building, it’s a long building with a lot of outdoor storage space, and it just helped with the flow of things. It’s a big open floor plan, so we have a big, beautiful, open showroom. The guys love the service department. There’s nice, fresh new paint on the walls, we’ve got a car lift in there for the guys and they’ve got air conditioning now, so they’re really happy about that.” 

And Macomb strives to keep employees happy. This year, the dealership is especially focused on team-building events. Rzewnicki says some people already go to a shooting range often, and this is an activity the Macomb team will do together as well. He also mentions golfing, go-carts and riding Jet Skis.  

“A lot of these guys are into riding, and we have a couple of ORV parks around us. We did that last year twice and everybody just brings out their dirt bikes, four-wheelers and side-by-sides,” he says. “I brought a barbeque out there and I grilled for everybody, and we hung out and had a good time. I’m big on promoting a culture this year. We’re not going to deal with any negativity because that can ruin a whole bunch of people.”  

Passing down a passion 

Rzewnicki and his family travel about two hours north every couple of weeks to ride side-by-sides, dirt bikes and four-wheelers on their land. He has three kids between the ages of seven and 12, and he says they love adventuring on the property.  

Rzewnicki has three kids between the ages of seven and 12 and like him, he says they enjoy riding powersports.

“It’s fun up there,” he says. “We’ll pack a cooler and make some sandwiches and some juice boxes for the day and we just go cruising wherever the road takes us. We spend a lot of time up there.” His family stays in their camper and spends their time riding and around a fire. 

And when they’re not riding there, they’re keeping a hand on the throttle at home. “We have a couple of dirt bikes and a four-wheeler. I have one child who likes to ride dirt bikes only and two that like to ride the four-wheeler… We live on four acres, so they cruise around quite often.” 

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