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1995 Horatio Alger Award Recipient

Herbert F. Boeckmann II


Galpin Motors, Inc.

“If you don't give your very best, you are compromising your values, compromising your efforts, and compromising your time.”

Herbert Boeckmann was born and raised in Southern California. His parents divorced when he was nine, and he and his brother went to live with their father. "It had a tremendous impact on me," he says, "because I had been so close to my mother. It's difficult when a separation occurs and you love and respect both of your parents."

Boeckmann's father instilled in him a strong work ethic and basic moral values by emphasizing a belief in God, charity to those less fortunate, and the importance of integrity. "My father never missed a day of work in his first 25 years on the job," Boeckmann says. "I never saw him do anything I would be ashamed of. I never heard him tell a lie. I never saw him take something that wasn't his, and I never saw him covet anything anyone else had."

In his youth, Boeckmann enjoyed working. He had several odd jobs, including picking fruit, selling eggs, and delivering newspapers. When he was 13, he worked full time each weekend on the estate of a wealthy physician. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Southern California. To help pay his way through, Boeckmann continued his weekend job on the estate and worked the graveyard shift at Lockheed Aircraft.

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By his senior year, he planned to enter the military upon graduation. He had completed ROTC training and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, but he was mailed a draft notice by mistake. He quit school, thinking he would soon be entering the military. When the mix-up over his draft notice was straightened out several weeks later, it was too late to register for the next school semester.

Boeckmann continued to work and accepted a job selling cars. Within a month, he was one of the dealership's sales closers. Ten months later, he joined Galpin Ford. Quickly, Boeckmann became Galpin's top salesperson, and, within four years was named general manager. By 1964, he had purchased a majority interest in the dealership. In 1968, he completed the buyout. Boeckmann built the company into the most successful and profitable Ford dealership in the nation. In 2000, Boeckmann became the nation's top Saturn and Jaguar retailer as well. Recently, Ward's Dealer Business magazine chose Boeckmann as its Dealer of the Year. Although Boeckmann has expanded his business interests to include manufacturing, finance, publishing, cattle, and buffalo ranching, the car dealership remains his top priority in business.

"For me, success is when your life is happy because it's in proper order," he says. "It's having a real belief in God and making Him first in everything you do; it's having a loving and devoted family; and it's striving to do your very best and, by that, accomplishing your goals and achieving the financial rewards which bring enjoyment to yourself and your family, and which give you the ability to help those who are less fortunate."

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