River City Truck Parts was founded by Paul Dailey and Jimmy McWhorter on August 1st, 1987.
During the 1970’s and 80’s, Paul and Jimmy gained knowledge and experience in the diesel parts industry working various locations throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. By the mid 1980’s they identified an opportunity to venture on their own, specializing in new and used diesel core engines, engine components, transmissions, differentials, and all associated parts.
How it all began
Jimmy McWhorter joined the Air Force when he was eighteen and after serving for four years he returned to Knoxville, Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, he got a job in Knoxville working for a Kenworth truck dealership. Working at the dealership, Jimmy learned about warehousing, inventory control and purchasing relative to the heavy-duty truck industry. After 10 years with the dealership in Knoxville, Jimmy accepted a position at a Ford truck dealership in Louisville, KY as parts manager. There, he gained more knowledge of how cores affect businesses. After five years at the Ford dealer, Jimmy decided he could influence the landscape of the heavy-duty diesel core supply and help people throughout the world with their core and parts needs.
Jimmy started out by selling rebuilt clutches and some rebuilt parts as well as new parts. He then went on the road and applied his purchasing experience by buying parts that he knew he could sell in a profitable manner. Like many start-up businesses, at the beginning Jimmy did everything himself – including the buying, transporting, selling, and marketing of truck parts. His hard work laid the foundation for River City Truck Parts’ business model.
In 1987, Jimmy partnered with his co-worker from All State Ford, Paul Dailey, and together they founded River City Truck Parts. Jimmy would continue to do the purchasing and inventory control while Paul would focus on marketing the business and selling parts.
Finding the right location
River City Truck Parts’ first location was in Jimmy’s 2-car garage at his house. The first official building location was a 2400 sqft block building on Old Fern Valley Road. In 1990, they moved to a 6000 sqft building on a ½ acre lot on Ulrich Avenue. In 1999, they purchased the 17-acre property they thrive on today just south of Louisville on the west side of Interstate 65. The property was originally used as a horse ring and riding stable. They turned the grandstand into the main office and after their first parts auction in 2002, they realized that they needed to lay a long term foundation to grow their business. They got busy, hired some local contractors and the rest is history. “This was the best move we could have ever made” states Derek McWhorter, Jimmy’s son, and current president of the company (2014). “We built our first building and moved our sales team to the new facility in early 2005”.
Jimmy and Paul not only laid the foundation for a profitable business model within the heavy-duty parts industry, but they also leveraged their passion for innovation and people in order to build a solid forward-thinking culture that is still going strong today. In 1997, they participated in their first Mid-American Trucking Show to make new industry contacts and to get their brand out to the industry.
Passing a Legacy of Business and Values
Jimmy’s sons, Derek and Daniel, both grew up in the business and learned the industry through guidance from their father, a lot of hard work, and firsthand experience. Both sons wanted to continue building on the foundation, core values, and mission that their father began. So in 2014, they entered into a deal to retire Jimmy’s long-term partner, Paul Dailey.
Being a father with two sons, it was very natural for Jimmy to include them into the growing business. Jimmy would bring them to the property to learn and help where they could. He also took them with him on road trips to find and buy parts through the United States. At age twelve, Derek McWhorter, now president, began buying parts on his own. Derek’s brother, Daniel, followed suit and they both literality grew up “in the business” learning the value of hard work in an industry that demonstrates it on a daily basis.
Daniel McWhorter puts it this way, “Having grown up in the industry, I’ve learned to appreciate the hard work that it takes to grow a sustainable business. I also really like dealing with the other hard-working people in our industry and building long-term relationships with them. It is also great to be a part of an industry that is so essential to every aspect of modern life.”
These days Derek and Daniel continue to grow and expand upon the dream of Jimmy’s and Paul’s to help keep trucks moving and to maintain as one of the Best Heavy duty diesel core suppliers in the world! Both Derek and Daniel have grown into very solid leaders. This is demonstrated by the consistent growth over the last several years and the knowledgeable, reliable, and dedicated workforce employed there today! They continue to grow the business in many aspects. Last year they completed a massive expansion project, expanding their property from 14 to 17 acres. This will allow them to manage a vast inventory of heavy-duty truck parts, cores, and engines as well as other accessories.
A Family Tradition
- Jimmy’s wife Diann McWhorter was an intricate part of the business early on until she retired in 2016.
- Derek’s wife, Stacey McWhorter, currently serves as controller and office manager.
- Daniel has 2 sons that are learning the business.
- Derek’s 2 children are helping in the business through their school years.
35 Years and Going Strong
2021 marks the 35th year in business for River City Truck Parts Inc. The business continues to go strong under the leadership of Derek and Daniel. Derek serves as president and Daniel serves as vice president. Derek focuses on all the CEO functions such as revenue growth, marketing, sales, purchasing and the future direction of the company. Daniel focuses on inventory management, team development, and oversees all aspect of the operations. They both have unified strong core values that were passed on from their dad and Paul. These values have enabled them to build and continue to grow a team of quality, hardworking people that truly care about their customers and industry. “We could not do what we do, at the highest level of service, without our Team. I am honored to lead such a great group of people”, says Derek. The team prides themselves on serving the heavy-duty truck part and transportation industry with excellence. Their core focus is on core supply and the team is extremely proud of 99.9% accuracy rate determined by many of their customers. When selling used parts, they do whatever it takes to find their customers the right part for their vehicle and situation. River City is also a distributor of several brands of new aftermarket parts relating to the drivetrain components. This allows them to offer new parts when a customer is in need. Their vision is to “Keep trucks moving throughout the world”. In everything they do, the team members feel the parts and services they provide, help companies, owner operators, and families around the world, reduce the cost of operating trucks in this challenging economy.
The engine and parts core industry has grown and changed over the years and Derek and his team work hard to stay on top of it. Therefore, River City continues to partner with rebuilders, remanufactures, and dealers to help them build sustainable and profitable core management solutions. This service provides great value that allows organizations to add profit to their bottom line without increasing sales.
Derek McWhorter said, “Since dad started the business, I have been involved in the industry. I was 10 years old on the birth date of the company, and I am honored to fulfill the position as President of the company. Keeping the company on the right path and continuing to grow and improve is my primary focus. I would like to thank ALL our business partner companies, our suppliers and our customers, for being with us throughout the years. The challenge of providing excellent service daily keeps us pushing for greatness. As a company, we are dedicated to helping the environment by engaging in the Remanufacturing and recycling industries.”
Beyond helping their customers find the right part or parts for their situation, River City provides these services:
- Core acquisition and Management Services
- Exporting Services
- Engine Rebuild Kits and parts
- New Part Distribution and Sales
Our company timeline:
Moved to Ulrich Avenue
New Sales Office
Contact us today to discuss how we may be of service to you.