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UA Little Rock alum nominated for Truck Dealer of the Year

Oscar Horton

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock alumnus is one of five nominees for the 2020 Truck Dealer of the Year award. 

Oscar Horton, president and CEO of Sun State International Trucks, LLC in Tampa, Florida, is one of the nominees for the national award that recognizes commercial truck dealers for industry leadership, business performance, and community service.

After graduating from UA Little Rock in 1974, Horton joined International Harvester, now Navistar, as a management trainee. He rose through the ranks, holding positions in sales, finance, manufacturing, and labor relations. He was promoted to the vice president and general manager of International’s Foundry Business in 1995.

With three decades of experience in the transportation industry and valuable industry contacts, he resigned from Navistar and began the process of purchasing the company-owned Tampa and Sarasota dealerships in late 1999. Sun State International is now a full-service commercial transportation business with six locations throughout Florida. Under Horton’s vision, the company has grown its revenue by more than 400 percent.

“With my vision of growth and profitability, improved customer service and market opportunities not yet pursued in the area, I knew this business and its employees would succeed,” Horton said. “During my two decades owning Sun State, I’ve realized my goals and more.”

In addition to performance improvements, Sun State has improved its profile in the community under Horton’s leadership. In 2014, Horton began working with Hillsborough Community College to help start a new diesel technician training program to help address the diesel technician shortage. The program officially began in 2018. The first class of 12 students graduated in January 2019.

Sun State also works with the Florida Trucking Association’s Teachers’ Tour to share how valuable the industry is to the economy and show teachers how they can educate their students to the wide variety of careers available in the industry.

The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, during the 57th annual ATD Show in Las Vegas.