Steamboat Springs One of the community's leading businessmen, John Centner, has found a way to take his career in a new direction without leaving Steamboat Springs.
The longtime general manager of Steamboat Motors has left the Ford, Jeep and Dodge dealership to become a director in Randall Reed's World Class Automotive Group and president of its operations in Colorado. He will have an equity interest in the company.
More specifically, Centner will oversee "Planet Powersports" with stores in Steamboat and Craig. The stores sell motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, power-generating equipment and lines of branded clothing associated with motor sports.
"Randall's company is making huge strides in Colorado, and the opportunity to become a part of that growth was not something I could pass," Centner said.
Reed said acquiring the services of Centner was an important part of his plan to expand in Colorado.
"This is really one of the top hires in the history of World Class Automotive Group," Reed said. "I get to hire one of the best car guys in the country, and I know car guys - I have 1,500 employees.
"John will have his hands full here for a while, but Riverside is almost full, and we'll be undertaking some new ventures that John will be a part of."
Reed owns six Ford dealerships in Texas, most of them in the Dallas and Houston areas. Among other businesses he owns is an aircraft sales and charter operation, Starbase Aviation.
Planet Powersports is due to move into a new Steamboat home at Riverside Center in the space formerly occupied by True Value Hardware. Reed purchased Riverside Center last year. He said extensive remodeling is under way at the new Planet Powersports location with the goal of a grand opening in late May.
Reed promised to transform the business into a "moto-tainment mall" that will become a destination for a regional clientele. He also is expanding the business in Craig.
Centner's replacement as general manager at Steamboat Motors began his first day on the job on Monday. Jeff Steinke comes to Steamboat from Colorado Springs, where he was employed by the Phil Long Group at Mercedes Benz of Colorado Springs and Audi of Colorado Springs.
Centner acknowledged it was difficult to leave Steamboat Motors.
"I thought that Steamboat Motors would always be an integral part of my life, so it is a big change for me," he said.