Bigger Is Better

Anthony March and Ernest Hodge have joined forces and dealerships to make March/Hodge Holdings an auto powerhouse

with another," says its director, Gina Healy.

The two say the credit for their success lies with those who helped them along the way, from getting into college to working through and getting sponsored for the GM Academy. To that end, they, too, are trying to "give back." Last October, Hodge pledged a gift of $100,000 to his alma mater, Norfolk State University, the largest gift ever by an alumni. Its new president, Marie McDemmond, credits that gift with helping the college raise $600,000 of a $1 million campaign. Similarly, March’s philanthropic interests have run from serving as the state chairman for UNCF since 1991 to setting up his own foundation in 1996 to donate $100,000 in UNCF scholarships. He adopted a local sixth-grade class at Domenick Burns Elementary in Hartford in 1993. Both are fathers, March of a 19-year-old daughter who’s a sophomore at Northwestern University in Chicago, and Hodge of two sons, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Alabama and a 22-year-old junior at Morehouse College. Both say that education was the critical part of their lives and helped to make their big dreams realities.

Their business partnership, like their friendship, is not unlike a marriage — melding goals and philosophies for a common good, building on each other’s strengths and agreeing upon a course of action. They talk about five times a day and see each other about every five days — somewhere among their properties. "I’ve had offers to join others before," says Hodge, "but I never took the offers. Tony is probably the brother I never had."

Their union made sense. "In partnership, the key to it is that people can come together and agree on things; you’ve got to be on the same page. We don’t care who gets the credit," says Hodge, "only that we’re successful.

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