Staff


Click on one of the people below to find out more information.

  • Brad Poole
    President, Watermark Auto Group / General Manager, Watermark Lincoln of Marion
    800-225-2161

    Brad is originally from Alliance, Ohio.  He moved to West Frankfort, Illinois,  in 1981 and graduated from Frankfort Community High School in 1987.   After high school, Brad attended and graduated from John A. Logan College and then transferred to SIU-C and graduated with a B. S. in Political Science with a minor in Psychology in 1991.  Brad has worked at the Ford Hyundai Lincoln dealership in Marion since 1992, and there, he has held the positions of Salesperson, Body Shop Manager, Sales Manager, and General Manager.  In April of 2013, Brad became partners with Mike Absher when Nissan of Marion became a part of the Watermark Auto Group.  In 2017, Brad became the Chief Operating Officer of the Watermark Auto Group while continuing to serve as General Manager of Watermark Ford Hyundai and as a partner at Watermark Nissan of Marion.  In 2018, Brad became a partner in the Watermark Insurance Group with Mike Absher and David Griffin.  Brad has been married to his wife Melanie since 1991, and they have one child, Mackenzie.  Melanie has been an English teacher since 1990, where she started her career in Cobden Unit School District 17.  In 1994, she took a position with Marion Unit 2 at Marion High School and continues to serve as an English teacher at MHS.  Their daughter Mackenzie is a senior at Saint Louis University who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology in May and will begin medical school at SLU in August of this year.

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  • Mike Absher
    Chairman of the Board

    I was born and raised in Southern Illinois. I grew up in a "car family" on both the maternal and paternal-side as both of my grandfathers and both parents were car dealers. I started working in the shop as a custodian starting at age 12, and worked at the dealership until graduation from high school.

     

    I graduated Marion (Illinois) High School and then attended the United States Military Academy at West Point New York with the intention of being a career Army officer. I ultimately left the Academy and the Army voluntarily and returned home. As a 48 year old, I wish I could talk to my 18 year old self and take back that decision as I regret not staying and serving my country. That experience though has instilled in me a profound respect for those that have served! I then enrolled in SIU-Carbondale and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. I worked at the family dealership throughout my college years as a warranty administrator and service writer.

     

    Upon graduation, I was employed as Parts and Service Director, sales manager, used vehicle manager until I left the family company in 2003 to start a software firm named DealerWare LLC selling F&I Menu Selling software to car dealerships. We were very successful and this was the wildest ride of my life. We ultimately were endorsed by American Honda and were in the process of rolling out our software to the Honda dealerships nationwide, when our biggest competitor decided to take me out. And so, they did, and I sold DealerWare in 2006 to DealerTrack, Inc. 

     

    I decided to get back into the business I missed so much and purchased Marion Ford, Inc in my hometown. I have since purchased three other dealerships, in Marion IL, Paducah KY, and Madisonville KY, and that has evolved into the Watermark Auto Group.

     

    I have played the trumpet for nearly 38 years, and enjoy every opportunity I get to play in a brass quintet with some friends from high school and college. I also enjoy woodworking, and have lots of cool equipment that is really dangerous, but I never turn on because I am too busy in the car business.

     

    I have been married for 24 years to Cheryl, who is a licensed non-practicing attorney. We have three sons aged 20, 17, and 13.


    I am retired from service on the Southern Illinois Healthcare Board of Trustees and as President of our local school board, and was sworn in as Mayor of my hometown of Marion, Illinois on April 22, 2019.


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  • Russ Brown, Vehicle Acquisitions Manager
    888-418-4162

    Russ hales from Metropolis Illinois.  I swear he really is Superman!  Russ and his wife Carroll enjoy spending time with all the grandkids, nieces, and nephews and watching the Cardinals whip up on the Cubs. Russ has been in the car business for decades and now serves as our pre-owned acquisitions manager for the entire Watermark Group.  He travels as much as Santa Clause but he only gets 2 days off a week and not 364 days off!


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  • John Slone, Sales Manager

    John "Sloneholio" Slone was raised right here in Marion IL. John started his career in the car business here at Watermark Ford of Marion in 2000. He has steadily moved up in titles and became a member of the Watermark Auto Group team in July 2014.  He spends time at his "home base" of Watermark Ford while also helping out at other stores.  He and his wife, Somer, and their little girl, Kinley and son, Nolan, are one of the nicest families you'll meet.  John is proof that good things happen to good people! 


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  • Jesse Edwards, Sales Manager

    Jesse is a transplant from Paducah, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Lone Oak High School and Murray State University.  Jesse joined the Watermark Auto Group in 2012 at Watermark Honda before he made his way to Watermark Ford-Hyundai in 2015.  He and his wife, Meagan, married in 2011 after dating for only 7 weeks. He knows a good deal when he sees one! They welcomed their daughter Reese in 2017. Reese is already showing signs of sharing Daddy's passion for cars. When he isn't at the dealership, and the weather is right, the family may be seen cruising Marion in their 1967 Ford F100 (AKA "hotrod" or "little blue truck").


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  • Chad Weston, Sales Manager
    888-418-4162

    Chad "Franchise" Weston was born and raised right here in Marion IL. Chad is truly a Watermark Ford of Marion success story. He started washing cars for us in 1997 while attending Marion high school. He worked here all through college and graduated from SIU. He sold cars for many years and now has worked up to the position of Sales Manager.  He knows exactly where every vehicle in our inventory came from and can tell you all about it.  He also is great at giving "Weston Words of Wisdom" to the sales associates.  At home though, Chad is all ears when it comes to his family.  He and Brittani have a lot to listen to when their daughter Ellie starts talking about the cars her daddy sells.  Their son, Cutler, is following in his dad's footsteps as Da Bears and Cubs are his favorite teams.


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  • Jon Wofford, Finance Manager

    If Jon's face or voice seem familiar, you may recognize it from local TV or radio. He came to the car business after 15 years as a television sportscaster. He got his start on TV-3 and was the voice of the Benton Rangers for a few years. He also worked in South Carolina and Nebraska where he covered events like NASCAR, NCAA, NFL and The Masters. He even got to play a round at Augusta National.


    Even though Jon was born in Rockford, Illinois he considers Woodhull, Illinois to be his hometown. He grew up on a farm just outside the small town in northwestern Illinois. Jon attended SIU-C where he earned his degree in Radio & Television.  A diploma wasn't the only thing he got at SIU. He also met his wife, Kendra, who was born and raised in

    Marion, where they currently live with their three children, Will, Gloria and Kathryn.


    Jon is a huge sports fan! In his spare time he enjoys fishing, hunting, golfing and has even tried his hand at tennis. His favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys hockey. While in Nebraska he

    actually learned how to skate and played in a men's league (he wishes there was ice in Marion!!!). He is also friends with the coach of the New York Islanders, Jack Capuano.  Jon is also a veteran. He served 7 years in the Illinois Army National Guard where he earned the rank of sergeant while with the 2/123 rd Field Artillery Unit.


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  • Travis Hill, Finance Manager

    Travis is from Ocala, Florida and now lives in nearby Carterville.  He has been in finance and sales management since 2000.  When Travis isn't here at the dealership or helping at our sister store in Harrisburg, he enjoys traveling, spending time with family and boating.  Travis and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Mackenzie and Abby.


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  • Joseph Biermann, Sales Associate

    Joseph is from Marion and now lives in Thompsonville.  He has been working in the automotive industry for over four years and is passionate about helping people get the very best vehicle and assisting them when making such a big purchase. At the end of the day, he finds satisfaction knowing that he helped put a car in a person's driveway. Joseph and his wife, Christina, have four children, Alana, Colton, Grayson, and Aubrey.  He loves spending most of his time with his wife and children.  They love to ride on their side-by-side on the back roads, trails and at the off-road parks.  He also enjoys being outside with his kids and attending their sporting events.


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  • Pam Braswell, Sales Associate
    888-418-4162

    Pam is a true professional and one of the most caring people we have the pleasure of knowing.  Her compassion for her customers as well as any and all animals truly makes her special.  When she is with a customer, we know every detail and all the information is going to be provided to our customers.  As you can imagine her passion is in her animals but she is also an accomplished writer as well.  Also, she recently took over the commercial accounts department and we are certain she will handle that with professionalism as well. 


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  • Derrick Hobson, Sales Associate

    Derrick is a customer's best friend!  It is said that it is hard to make friends with your customers because the environment the "car business" creates.  However, it seems like every customer that Derrick meets ends with a sale and a great big hug.  He truly cares about his customers and treats them like family.  Derrick and his wife Ashley have 3 beautiful children that keep them very busy when he is not working.  We are so proud of Derrick and we are so lucky that he is a part of the Watermark family! 


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  • Jace House, Sales Associate / Finance Manager

    Born and raised in Benton, Jace is new to car sales, but not a newcomer to cars.  He has been in sales for over 6 years and grew up in his father's full-service oil change shop.  Jace enjoys playing the guitar - something he started when he was 12 years old.  We can't wait to hear him play!  He is a single guy with a silky terrier named Lily.  He thinks of himself as a friendly guy and we do, too!


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  • Tom Madden, Sales Associate

    Tom is originally from California but has lived in southern Illinois since 1993 when he moved here to operate the River Boat Casino in Metropolis, IL. He liked the area so much he decided to reside in Marion and raise his family there. He and his wife Merissa have four grown sons which they are so very proud of and two of them are currently serving in the armed forces. Tom is an accomplished bowler and has three "300 Game" rings that are available for your viewing pleasure if you need proof of his talents. He also still loves to play softball, although he is at least two decades older than the rest of the players!  Tom and Merissa are active members of the Vine Church in Carbondale. We are so very blessed to have Tom on the team and we often refer to him as the "hardest working man in the car business". He is consistently at the top of the sales leaderboard for the dealership and has taken home the Watermark Group trophy on several occasions.


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  • Michelle M. Laird, Sales Associate

    Michelle is a great asset to Watermark Ford of Marion! She's originally from Marion but moved to California for 23 years before moving back in 2010. She has been in the car business since then, and we are glad she is with us! She enjoys cooking, listening to music and hanging out with her friends and family. She has 3 boys, Noel, Seth, and Sean.  Michelle is a record breaker too!  She still holds the mile record at Marion High School and also held the 800 records until just recently.



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  • T.J. Barthelman, Sales Associate

    We would like to welcome, T.J. Barthelman, to our sales staff. He doesn't have to travel far to come into work as he is from right here in Marion, Illinois. Before coming to Watermark Ford of Marion, T.J. detailed cars for 2 years and sold cars for about 5 months. He enjoys going to concerts, playing sports and hanging out with his friends and his dog named Hope.


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  • Peyton Helm, Sales Associate

    Peyton lives right here in Marion.  She is originally from Metropolis, Illinois where she was a member of the state championship golf team in high school.  She is new to the car business, but you can tell right away, she has been treating people with courtesy and respect forever.  That is why she is a perfect fit for our team.  We are blessed she chose to join us, and we plan on having her smiling face here for years to come.  


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  • Jennifer Lynn, Delivery Specialist


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  • Tiana Sutton, Rental Mananger

    Tiana is originally from Southern Illinois and after living away for 10 years in the Twin Cities area, has moved back!  We are glad to have her on the Watermark Hyundai team and she is handling our Car Rental department.  Tiana enjoys spending time Netflix binge-watching with her husband, Doug, and being with her family and friends.  Tiana and Doug have two children, Acadia and Ian, and a cat, Trixi Mama.  


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  • Danny Bloodworth, Commercial Accounts Manager


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  • Kay Bittle, Receptionist

    Kay is the heart and soul of Watermark Ford Hyundai.  One of the nice things about her is, she doesn't have to use the intercom to page someone.  Her voice can be heard all across the campus.  She takes care of so many things for us and she is so absolutely dedicated to her peers and our customers that we are blessed to have her.  She loves taking trips with and to see her children and grandchildren with her husband Richard.  We love you, Kay!


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  • Aubrey Pitts, Receptionist

    Aubrey is the point guard for our team.  She does a wonderful job of distributing the customers to the right place and the right time.  She is one of the most dedicated people in the store and we hope she stays with us forever.  Believe it or not, she is a "speed freak".  When she isn't working she is getting her car ready to race!


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  • Marina Newberry, Receptionist

    We would like to welcome Marina Newberry back to our Watermark family. She has been in the car business for 5 years now.


    Currently, she works as a receptionist for both Marion Ford and Nissan of Marion. Marina is married to Dustin Newberry and has two twin baby girls, Kennady, and Evelyn. She also has two labradors, Duke, and Ally.  

    Marina and her family live in the town of Cobden, go Appleknockers. She enjoys fishing, netflix, reading and being with her family.  

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  • Seth George, Internet

    Seth is bringing some culture to our dealership with his love of music and songwriting.  He is a Marion guy that has been working from an early age in both food service and retail sales.  He is glad for the change of pace and scenery at a dealership.  In his spare time, Seth writes music and performs with his band, the very popular Murphy 500!  You may have even seen them play at a local winery or venue.


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  • Kenny Branson, Auction Manager

    Kenny is in his second tour of duty with the dealership.  His wealth of knowledge in so many areas makes him so valuable to us and our customers.  He is currently managing the used car auction but he also helps us manage the used car pre-delivery process.  He loves spending time watching his 3 of children's activities.  


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  • Bobby Throgmorton, Parts Manager

    Bobby hails from the great city of Vienna, Il where he was born. Bobby began his career at Watermark Ford of Marion in 1982. He started as a parts counter person and worked his way into the management position in 1990. Since that time, the parts department has become the most consistent department at the dealership. Bobby's dedication to his job and his family is truly outstanding. He and his wife Sherri are so proud of their son Bryan and daughter Brittany. Running a close second, however, is Mr. John Deere. Bobby loves his quiet time on the tractor. When he isn't chilling on the tractor or slaving at the dealership, he's watching some top fuel racing action. He and his wife love traveling and spending time with friends and family, especially if there is a race nearby. Bobby is an excellent person as well as an excellent employee.  


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  • Mike Deaton, Parts

    Mikey 'Too Tall' is a native of Creal Springs, though he now makes his home in Marion. Another one of the great guys in our Parts Department, Mike has been with us since 1991. He must have started when he was four… Mike says he gets along with just about anyone and that's what makes working here so enjoyable. Mike's hobbies include golfing and playing with his son Josh. He is also a great husband to wife Ronnette.

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  • Bill Whitehead, Parts

    Bill 'Whitey' Whitehead gets his nickname from the color of his hair! You'll be able to pick him out of the crew in our Parts Department. He comes to us from New Burnside, where he was born & raised. Bill has been working with us since 1988! He loves to spend his spare time R-Ving, hunting & competitive cooking with wife Gail. They have three children and 8 grandchildren that are Bill's pride & joy. Bill says his favorite thing about working at Watermark Ford of Marion is the people. We say the feeling is mutual!

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  • Carrie Coleman, Parts

    Carrie is back at Watermark where she belongs!  She works in the parts department doing several things to help our customers and her peers.  She proud mom to her daughter Maecee and she loves watching her play sports.

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  • Ed Guldbrandsen, Parts

    Ed was raised in Champaign, IL and moved to Goreville in 2001. After finishing high school, Ed was a Diesel Tech in the Army for 8 years. He has been an auto tech for 30 years in a GM dealership, independent garages and performance shops. He has also worked at O'Rieliys for 6 months. 


    In his spare time, Ed works on cars and trucks and continues remodeling his home. He also likes to hunt, fish and enjoys shooting guns and bows.

    He has been married for 35 years to his wife, Renee. They have 2 boys Matt & Mitch and 2 dogs.

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  • Zach Essary, Parts

    Zach is from right here in Marion.  He started out as a porter in the service department and quickly worked his way into the parts department with his work ethic and attention to detail.  Anytime we ask Zach to do more, he replies with "no problem, that just one more thing I get to learn how to do!"  We need more Zach's!

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  • Tommy Baker, Service Manager

    Tommy Baker is a product of Marion, Illinois. He has lived here his whole life. Tommy began his career in the automotive repair business right here at Watermark Hyundai in 1986. Since that time, Tommy has become known & loved by customers for his easy going attitude and wealth of knowledge. Tommy can take the worst possible scenario and make it all seem ok. When Tommy is not coming in early or staying late, he enjoys being at home with wife Sue and their children Kyle & Chad. He is also a hunter & fisherman and loves riding his Harley. Tommy is a true asset to our dealership and we are so lucky to have him! 

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  • Ryne Wade, Service Advisor

    Ryne Wade is a Marion guy through and through. He has lived here his whole life and knows many of the residents. Ryne has worked at Watermark Ford since 2005. He began in the Quicklane as an assistant and has now moved to a Service Advisor in our Service Department. He says it is like working with family at the dealership and he really enjoys it. He also enjoys working with the public and making sure his customers are taken care of. When Ryne isn't opening repair orders, he can be found on the links, hunting or fishing with his pup, Avery. But his favorite thing to do is spend time with his precious baby girl Kinsley!  

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  • Nichoal Still, Service Advisor

    Nichoal is originally from Pittsburg, Illinois. This is where the rest of her family (who just so happen to work here also) are from. Nichoal began her career in the auto business in 2003 and has worn many hats here at the dealership. She isn't afraid of hard work and truly cares about the customer! Nichoal loves her family time with her son, Jaxton. 

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  • Judd Potts, Service Advisor

    More details coming soon.

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  • Greg Belcher, Service Porter

    Greg grew up in Marion, Illinois, but now resides in Pittsburg with his wife, Melanie. Greg has been in the car business with Watermark Ford for eight years now. He is one of the most soft spoken of our employees, but definitely one of our most valuable assets. Greg's ability to make customers feel comfortable while he takes them to their work or home is great. While Greg is at work, he gets to be around his family as well. Wife Melanie and children Nathan & Nichoal all work here! In his spare time, Greg enjoys cooking, playing billiards and spending time with his grandchildren, Emma & Jaxton.

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  • Scott Newman, Service Porter

    Scott was born and raised right here in Marion.  He has been in the car business for several years.  Scott enjoys hanging out with his friends and girlfriend.  You can also find him spending time out riding the trails on a four wheeler.

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  • Terry Wright, Service Technician

    Originally from DuQuoin, Terry Wright is now a resident of Elkville. Terry's picture can be found in any Webster's Dictionary right next to the word 'experience'. He has been in the car business for forty years! We have been lucky to have him in our service department since 1985! He loves working here because he is always busy! On the weekend, Terry can be found fishing or taking aim at sports clays. He is sure to make time to spend with his lovely wife Janet, daughter Shelly and pet cat Friskey. Terry always has a smile and pleasant word for anyone he meets. 

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  • John Ray, Service Technician

    John calls Johnston City his 'home town', but is now living in Marion with his wife Debbie. John's first day as a professional service technician was in 1985. He has been fixing cars in the Service Department for twenty-four years. John is always making the guys back there laugh with his sarcastic sense of humor! When John is not working, he enjoys anything that has to do with cars-the faster, the better! He and Debbie also take the motorcycle out for a ride on the weekends. John says the best thing about working at Watermark Ford is the people! 

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  • David Roesener, Service Technician

    David comes to us all the way from Addieville, Illinois and we sure are glad to have him on our team.  David is a Senior Master Certified Ford Technician. He is a big car fan and he also competes in truck pulling events several times a year. David and his wife, Jen, have two sons - Tyler and Matthew.

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  • Ben Quoss, Service Technician

    Ben is one of our up & coming Diesel Techs at Watermark Ford.  He started out in our Quick Lane; with the drive to go an extra step with everything he does, Ben has become a big part of our Service Department. When Ben isn't busy working & training, he enjoys fine tuning his personal car (we won't say what kind it is!) He also likes movies, video games and playing the bass guitar. He is currently engaged to Jenna and they have 2 cats, Woody and Johnny and a ferret, Teeth. One thing you should remember about Ben is that he will definitely beat you in any competition involving spicy food! 

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  • Jearl Trammell, Service Technician

    Jearl is originally from Whiteash but now resides in Murphysboro. He has been working on vehicles for the past 12 years.  This soon to be Grandpa and his wife Jacqui (aka love of his life) are blessed with their growing family and are also foster parents.  When Jearl does get a little free time he loves to hunt and fish.  We are so happy to welcome him to our service team.

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  • Donald Scott, Body Shop Technician

    We would like to welcome, Donald to our Watermark team. He was born in Central, Illinois and graduated high school from Granite City. In 1980, he joined the military. In 2014 he moved to Southern Illinois, and lives in Herrin with his wife, Florie. Donald has been in the body shop business a long time, his 1st auto body job was in 1977 as a sophomore in high school.


    In his spare time, Donald likes to hunt & fish and is a motorcycle enthusiast. He has been married for 26 years and he and Florie have 2 adult children, Rachel & David. They enjoy vacationing in Florida every chance they can get. 

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