Loran Smith’s Sports Column: Arnold Harrison

Published 2:11 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

ROSWELL – At a prosperous automobile dealership, everyone is in

motion. Nothing is idling except for a smooth-running engine which has

just been finely tuned to make a satisfied customer more satisfied.

 

The service department is like a doctor’s office—a hi-tech

environment with a machine to effect rehab for every ailment or need. In

the body shop there is bumping and grinding as every wrinkle or dent is

eliminated, making a fender look like it did when it was in mint condition

when it left the factory for dealership delivery.

 

The scene reminds you of a beehive where everybody has a role to

play in the success of the operation. No one is relaxing except for the

customers in the waiting room.

 

Sales folk, men and women, are trained to manage their

communication skills along with arming themselves with knowledge of their

product and making sure they are familiar with all vehicle details that gives

the customer the confidence that they can trust the presentation.

At the Nalley Toyota dealership in Roswell, the man who is most

active in the dealership is the dealer himself, Arnold Harrison, who, if he

 

chose to, could flash two Super Bowl rings from his four-year tenure with

the Pittsburgh Steelers. (He played a fifth year with the Cleveland Browns.)

An overachiever since his formative years, dating back to grade

school, Arnold has always given anything he undertakes his best effort.

With the good fortune of signing with the Steelers after lettering four years

at Georgia, he doesn’t want to consider what might have been on his

resume if he had played on teams with poor personnel.

He played for a highly regarded coach at Pittsburgh, Bill Cower, and

enjoyed success at Georgia, where he won an SEC ring under Mark Richt

in 2002.

 

Football taught him to underscore the time-honored basics:

teamwork, self-sacrifice, second effort, work ethic and an assortment of

other intangibles which enabled him to enjoy success at every level,

starting out at Josie High School in Augusta.

 

In football, he was never the first to dash to the showers. He stayed

late on the practice field, spending time on drills that would make him a

better and more effective player.

He would ask himself questions growing up: “Are you the type of

person who is going to be at work 15 to 20 minutes early or are you the one

 

that’s coming in on three wheels from staying out all night. I chose good

habits, like I never took up drinking. How can one not see that smoking is

one of the worst habits there is for a young person?”

Arnold has always appreciated his parents’ influence and steered

clear of trouble, vacillating toward kids with good habits. He bonded with

the “good guy” leaders. Early on, he appreciated those with moral and

ethical standards. With maturity, he saw that integrity made a difference in

business.

When he was graduated from the University of Georgia, he would like

to have played in the National Football League forever but understood that

was not likely. This led him to prepare himself for life after football.

 

Now that he is entrenched in the automobile industry, what he

learned from competing in football serves him well in business. “In greater

Atlanta,” he says, “there are 17 Toyota stores so if a person wants a

Toyota, he can shop at a lot of places. We have to be able to compete

every day if we want to succeed. Fortunately, we have been very

successful, and what I learned in football at the University of Georgia and

at Pittsburgh are very much a foundation for what we are accomplishing in

the car business.”

 

Dating back to his early high school days, Arnold set goals. One was

to be a successful leader. He realized that to be a good leader, he had to

be a good teammate. He enjoys people and finds emotional fulfillment in

making friends and developing relationships.

He underscored good study habits which led to a college degree and

enabled him to find a niche on Super Bowl championship teams where

there was an abundance of talented players which made him realize that

the best route for him to make the team was to excel at special team play.

Instead of drinking beer with his buddies, Arnold was reading

motivational books and accentuating positives that made him a better

student and a better person which has brought him Super Bowl rings and

high marks in the tough, competitive business world. Arnold Harrison is a

Dawg for all seasons.