Austintown, OH… June 1st marks 50 years since John P. Cerni, II began his summer job as a janitor at the dealership founded by his father and uncle. Fresh out of high school, John started sweeping service bays and mopping floors at the family business. One year later, he graduated to Tire Changer- picking up parts and delivering them to customers between tire jobs. In 1971, he attended classes at YSU in the daytime and worked afternoon shifts in the shop.
After graduating college in 1976, John was commissioned to be the Parts Manager, a position he stayed in for 15 years until becoming General Manager of Cerni Motors in 1991. In 1998, John purchased the company and became President of Cerni Motors. It was in that year that Cerni Motors moved to its current location on Route 46 and I-80 in Austintown.
Under John’s leadership, the dealership has grown from a single location dealer to boast two full-service International Truck Dealerships, a Benson-Transcraft Trailer Dealer, and body company- Jones Equipment at Cerni’s Painesville dealer location. In 2017, Cerni Motors grew again when it merged with Uhl Truck Sales of Kentucky and Indiana, and O’Halloran International of Iowa to become Trivista Companies, Inc.
There is no doubt that in his 50-year career with Cerni Motors, John has built many fond memories, but his favorites are of those where he was able to help advance others’ careers. “I have many great memories looking back, but my favorites are of the people I was able to establish relationships with- the many quality employees who have gone through Cerni Motors and Girard Equipment, advanced themselves and retired. It is a great feeling to know I was part of their lives and helped them reach their goals.”
John’s biggest hope for his legacy is that it will continue for many generations to come. “The greatest accomplishment that I can hope for is that I have created a good basis for Cerni Motors and Girard Equipment that will carry on through many more generations. I have always strived to create a culture of customer service and to do that, we as ‘Cerni People’ need to want to come in every day and go that extra mile for our customers. It has to be a culture that provides that atmosphere.”
From the staff at Cerni Motors and Girard Equipment- We thank you for all you have done for us throughout the years and look forward to growing with you in the future. Congratulations on 50 years, Chief!
Left to right: John Cerni with customer David Henry, owner of DDH Trucking.
A blast from the past! A young John Cerni is pictured 2nd from the left, his Uncle Charlie Cerni is on the far right.