Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Auto dealer strives to top expectations

September 5, 2001


Name: Miles Schnaer.

Residence: Cedar Creek, Olathe.

Age: 55.

Job title: Owner.

Company: Crown Automotive Organization, 3400 Iowa.

Length of employment: Seven years in Lawrence. Schnaer has been in the auto business for 30 years; he previously owned dealerships in Decatur, Ill., and Olathe.

Job responsibilities: Crown Automotive sells new Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Toyota vehicles, and has a used-car section. The six-acre dealership also has a full-service body shop. Crown Automotive has 75 employees, and Schnaer knows his place. "Stay out of the way and let everybody do it," he said. "I just make sure everybody's sitting behind their desks where they're supposed to be and make sure all the cars are gone in the morning."

Favorite part of my job: "Everyday's a new day," he said. "I meet a lot of people, and get to help them with their automotive needs. And I get to see people who come to work for me become successful."

Most difficult part of my job: "We try to exceed customers' expectations, and sometimes customers' expectations are higher than we're able to deliver," Schnaer said.

Family: Married to Paula Schnaer -- who he met in college at Pittsburg State University -- for 30 years. They have two daughters: Mandi Schnaer, now a program director for the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence; and Allison Schnaer, who works for Children's Hospital in Boston.

Interests outside of work: Schnaer spends much of his time attending to philanthropic and other community needs as a board member for the Kansas Special Olympics and Cottonwood Foundation in Lawrence. He also is chair of the Kansas Auto Dealers Assn., and is a board member for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. He also plays tennis and golf.

Advice to live by: "I was raised in a very religious family, and they taught me that if you do the right thing you'll be rewarded for it. You don't know when or how -- whether it's in business or healthy kids or a good relationship with people -- but you will."

Something you may be surprised to learn about me: Schnaer was a pre-med major in college, was trained in the U.S. Army as a lab technician and had worked summers for Dr. Charles Wheeler -- then mayor of Kansas City, Mo. -- at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. "I planned to be a pathologist," said Schnaer, whose father was a pharmacist. "But I didn't have the grades.

A friend suggested that he take a break and sell cars for a while.

"Thirty years later I'm still in it," he said. "Good move."

Do you have an area business or employee with a story to tell? Contact Mark Fagan, business editor, at (785) 832-7188 or

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