Sonny Merryman Awarded Thomas Built Buses Dealer of the Year

Earlier this week, dealers from coast to coast gathered for the annual Thomas Built Buses dealer meeting in National Harbor, Maryland. Situated on the banks of the Potomac River and just a short distance away from the nation’s capital, the location was a beautiful setting for an enriching and exciting event. Fourteen members of Team Sonny attended the three-day meeting, which featured informative sessions, a product display and vendor tradeshow, and numerous networking and collaborative opportunities with Thomas dealers.

On the final evening, Team Sonny donned their best attire for what would prove to be a monumental and historic evening for the company at the President’s Dinner & Awards Banquet. Crystal awards lined the table spanning the stage, and among the first called to claim one of the prized possessions was Sonny Merryman Parts Manager, Derek Shelton. Derek accepted on behalf of the team the Southern Region Gold Level parts distinction, which also landed the company within the top six dealers nominated to the Platinum Level parts status.

Next up were the sales manager and trainer recognitions, which found two Sonny Merryman representatives swooping several individual accolades. Western Region Sales Manager, Cory Compton was one of just two sales representatives in the dealer network to find himself in the Eagle’s Nest, the highest ranking of the Wings of Eagles Sales Program. Service Trainer, Daniel Droog swept the trainer awards taking the STAR Platinum Training Award, Top Trainer of the Southern Region, and finally the Trainer of the Year Award. This was Daniel’s third time receiving the Trainer of the Year award, the most of any trainer within the Thomas Built Buses network.

Next, Direct Sales and Marketing Manager of Thomas Built Buses, Mario DiFoggio took the stage to introduce a new and very special accolade, the Mike Stotler Service Excellence Award. The award was instituted in memory of long-time Thomas Built Buses employee, Mike Stotler who died in 2022. “[This award] will be given to those that display the same passion, dedication, and commitment to serving our customers that Mike exemplified,” said DiFoggio. In partnership with Mike Stotler’s widow, Laura, Thomas Built Buses bestowed the inaugural award to Sonny Merryman Vice President of Parts & Service, Brady Childress. With not one dry eye in the audience, the room flooded with applause in celebration of a well-deserved accomplishment and remembrance of a beloved colleague and friend.

An already dazzling evening for the Sonny Merryman team, the night was made all the grander when Thomas Built Buses’ President & CEO, Kevin Bangston came to the stage to award the night’s greatest honor of National Dealer of the Year to Sonny Merryman. Caley Edgerly, President & CEO of Sonny Merryman stepped to the podium to accept the award on behalf of the company.

“Sonny Merryman has a purpose,” said Edgerly. The first one is to ‘Please our Customers.’ The second one is to ‘Serve our communities.’ And the third one is to ‘Drive people forward.’ I’m so proud of the 14 team members I have here on stage with me tonight and the ones back home because they truly fulfill our purpose – Every day.”

The company was last recognized as Dealer of the Year in 2020. This year’s honor marks the seventh time Sonny Merryman has been named Dealer of the Year – the most of any Thomas Built Buses’ dealer.

Congratulations, Team Sonny and Thank You to our Customers for the privilege of being your trusted partner.