Awards

Women in Remarketing: Melinda Perry

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Melinda Perry, assistant vice president of internal operations in Remarketing Solutions at GM Financial and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Melinda Perry: I began working in the automotive industry in 2002 as a collections representative with GM Financial, which was then AmeriCredit. Initially, I found it discomforting calling customers on delinquent accounts, but quickly became successful by leveraging my inherent need to help others. 

I continued progressing in collections for nine years, promoting to a team lead position and later managing the transition of a newly acquired portfolio. 

In 2010, I was able to attend a “mock” auction event hosted by Dan Heinrich, SVP of Remarketing Solutions. 

While I was passionate about my career in collections and had goals to continue my career there, I found remarketing to be exhilarating and full of energy. At that time, there were only three team lead positions in remarketing. As if it were meant to be, a position became available a few months later. I quickly applied and joined the remarketing team. Ultimately, my journey has lead me here, as Remarketing Solutions’ Assistant Vice President of Internal Operations at GM Financial.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

MP: In 2011, when I first began in remarketing, we were selling “well-loved”, subprime, APR repossessions solely by running them through the lanes at physical auctions. Our remarketing department consisted of approximately 45 employees. 

Today, as GM’s captive lender, GM Financial’s Remarketing Solutions department has transformed the way we remarket our vehicles. With, a team of 136 employees in remarketing (and growing), we now offer low-mileage, well-maintained, off-lease vehicles, GM company cars and rentals, as well as repossessions. We spent countless hours developing our private label website, GMFDealerSource.com and .ca, allowing us the ability to offer our off-lease and GM company car inventory online, upstream to our franchise dealers followed by midstream to all registered dealers. Processes we were previously able to perform manually, now require technology and automation to manage the volume and numerous requirements.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving? 

MP: I most definitely consider myself a servant leader. I am passionate and committed in everything I do, including developing my team. I would never expect my team to do anything I am not willing to do myself. My goal from the moment I accepted a leadership position was to positively influence the lives of others. While I have high expectations of my team members, they always know I not only care about the success of the business, I care about helping them reach their professional goals.

I invest time in my staff and make it a priority to be available to support them. I am a strong believer in if you put your people first, the rest will take care of itself. I make it simple for my team. My expectation is, “Always do what is right.” You can be one of the most intelligent leaders in an organization, but if you lack integrity, others will not follow you. 

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business? 

MP: Building relationships, being genuine and having a strong work ethic are the keys to my success. As soon as I joined Remarketing, I knew it was a perfect fit. We are always trying something new. During our less busy times of the year we didn’t slow down and relax. We took advantage of the time and tested new processes. Although we necessarily do not have “slow” times in today’s world, we continue to encourage new ideas and change. We are constantly looking at ways technology can be used to drive efficiencies. We understand there are always better, faster, more efficient ways of doing business and we continuously explore those opportunities. This mentality is key in today’s competitive market. 

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why? 

MP: Not only was I drawn to the excitement of the remarketing industry, the culture within our Remarketing Solutions department is unlike any I had ever experienced. It was and still is a true team atmosphere. Everyone is busy, everyone works hard. I remember walking down a hallway with my SVP, Dan Heinrich; as we passed by someone external to Remarketing, Dan greeted the gentleman by his name and even inquired about the family, recalling the names of his wife and child. Dan continues to do that today, even after Remarketing’s headcount has tripled. He takes time to personally meet each and every team member. 

There was once an occasion where we were in jeopardy of missing our mail deadline for the day and team members throughout the entire department were pitching in, stuffing envelopes and typing certified receipts. Dan came out of his office, walked over, grabbed a stack of envelopes and was ready to help. While we all have our individual roles and responsibilities, we all work together for one common goal. Dan’s thoughtfulness and dedication inspires me to be a better leader. Everything he does is intentional. His vision for the future of Remarketing has allowed us to continue to be successful throughout this explosive growth and change. I am honored to work in this environment filled with trust, integrity and commitment. 

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

MP: Growing up, my parents always had time for me. They never missed any of my sporting events, even during the winter when I had to play on the boy’s high school soccer team and rarely played more than 20 minutes a game. They taught me the value of family. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to marry a man whose family shares the same values. When I am not in the office, I enjoy being surrounded by my family and a few close friends. I love hosting casual dinners and social events at my home. I often entertain my guests with a friendly game of Texas hold ’em or a cornhole tournament. 

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Ally awards auction for sales; NAAA changes arbitration policy

CARY, N.C. - 

Columbus Fair Auto Auction  announced that it has been tapped for the second year in a row by Ally Financial to receive its Leadership Auction of the Year award in recognition of its overall sales performance last year.

“We value the Ally Financial relationship and strive to differentiate our auction through process and execution”, Alexis Jacobs, CFAA chief executive officer, said in a news release. “This award is a testament to the entire team and their work effort.”

CFAA was founded by Jacobs’s father, William Jacobs, in 1959.

The auction currently has 11 auction lanes, a reconditioning center, a 48-bay body shop, a mechanical repair center, an on-site test track, and a full-service restaurant, according to the CFAA website.

NAAA revises arbitration policy

In other auction news, the National Auto Auction Association announced on Monday that its auction standards committee has updated its arbitration policy and guidelines.

The committee made several changes, and their edits include the exclusion of previous policy material as well as the addition of new material.

To view each of the committee’s changes, click here.

The parts of the policy the committee has newly omitted is written in red and all new policy content is in green. 

NAAA’s final version of its updated policy and guidelines can be accessed via the "Policy" section on www.naaa.com.

Women in Remarketing: Janelle Jones

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Janelle Jones, AVP/senior operations consultant/remarketing with Bank of America and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Janelle Jones: Being new to Seattle, I took a taxi to work on my first day (no Uber back then). The driver couldn’t find the location and I showed up late for work on my first day! Turns out I was assigned to a low-profile facility nicknamed the “Repo Depot” where Seafirst Bank sold their repossessions and lease returns to the public. The rest is history.

I’ve done just about every job related to remarketing that could exist at a bank repo depot, ranging from titles to condition reports to end-of-term lease collections/negotiated residuals to auction/wholesale/retail disposal channels. 

After ending up managing the facility, I helped relocate the functions to Brea, Calif., and closed the office. Throughout the consolidation, I transitioned my career into becoming an auction remarketing representative. It’s been a good fit, and I’ll celebrate 25 years with the bank this year.

I feel fortunate to have met the people I have, and traveled to the places I’ve been — basically to sell cars, trucks and specialty toys. There are some folks who have left the car business that I now consider my good friends. I’ve enjoyed sharing recipes, celebrating birthdays, and keeping up with kids/family events after meeting auction staff (and van drivers!) over the years. 

When I look back and think about all the different experiences I’ve had and the opportunity to do the fun things I’ve done, it’s surprising that it all happened as a part of my career. I consider myself lucky.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out? 

JJ: Back in the day, it was called “liquidations” and we built files for each car sold that contained every detail from start to finish of the life of that transaction. We never ran out of paper for our fax and copy machines.

Technology has improved the operations and execution of remarketing. It has simplified and allowed the industry to manage a larger volume of transactions with better historical data and tracking. 

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

JJ: I guess you could call both a balance of passion and practicality. I love what I do and I still get a rush from doing a sale. I have developed a unique skill set, being a “banker” in the automotive industry. I never know what will show up at auction and I hold myself accountable to my firm and my customer to do the best job when it comes time to sell. 

I also know that once we’ve gathered all of our facts, done our due diligence and weighed out the wins, we can identify a resolution that best fits the problem.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

JJ: Approaching our business with a risk-based mindset has helped me ensure our process is effective and consistently executed.

Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, the market changes. You’ve got to be able to adapt and continue to study and learn.

Embrace change. Remember when we moved from handwritten to electronic condition reports? 

Listen to the customer. Sometimes they are saying more than we can really do anything about at that given time, but there’s insight to be gained if you’re actively engaged.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why? 

JJ: Early on in my career, I met Lori Pidgeon (the former AGM) at Portland Auto Auction. I witnessed firsthand how she got the job done through empowering her people. She was compassionate and holistic in her approach to leadership and she had a knack for creating a positive client experience. Whether she knows it or not, she had a huge influence on my career in the car business, at a time when there were not many women reps on the block. 

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.? 

JJ: Being from Hawaii, I was raised camping and fishing. I continue to enjoy doing this with my family and friends. My team knows I take a week off from work in the summer to “get off the grid”. 

Bass fishing is my favorite … the weather’s warm and the fish are feisty — if you time it right. I also like to fish for salmon or steelhead in colder months, where we often enjoy a fresh catch for dinner. 

I love good music and there’s nothing like seeing a band play live. My husband and I have easily seen over 100 bands and been to many concerts where we were up close and personal. 

 
Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Marti Eulberg

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Marti Eulberg, director of brand management at Sonic Automotive and EchoPark Automotive and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Marti Eulberg: I don’t think it has necessarily been a path as much as it has been a journey. I enjoy the fact that cars connect people and everyone has a story. This journey has allowed me to travel the world and experience mobility on many different levels. It gives you a great appreciation for fulfilling basic transportation needs, as well as someone’s dream to own a luxury sports car.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

ME: That was a long time ago! I would say that retail has changed significantly — the way people research, shop and buy is significantly different than it was 20 years ago; so, it’s not just about “our” business, but how people shop today online/virtually, as well as in brick-and-mortar locations.

What has been exciting is to integrate innovative retail strategies, looking outside our industry and being part of a team that designed a technology-infused experience that evokes all the aspects of great retail and hospitality.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

ME: My leadership style is very much situational: adapting leadership style to the performance readiness and willingness of the individual or team I am attempting to lead or influence.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?
ME: Passion and the ability to engage a team to develop a brand’s story, capture its essence and persuade the audience to come along for the ride. Typically, that ride includes innovative change. I have been really lucky to work with people who share that passion.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

ME: Inside the industry, I admire the team I work with led by Jeff Dyke (Sonic’s executive vice president of operations). Primarily because of the entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risk. What we are doing is not easy; it takes vision, time and investment.

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

ME: I live by the Pacific Ocean: jogging along the beach reminds me just how lucky I am. Most weekends, you will see me taking advantage of the weather and being outdoors. There is an organization called Volunteer Match; if you check out their website, you can find all sorts of great opportunities to help out in your local community, from beach clean-up to feeding the homeless on a Saturday morning.

One of the core values of EchoPark and Sonic Automotive is our role in the community is bigger than buying and selling cars. I think personally and professionally we all have a responsibility to fulfill our role in the community.

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Wendy Gill

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Wendy Gill, division vice president at NextGear Capital and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Wendy Gill: My journey into automotive started as far back as I can remember. My dad worked in automotive, and I was always around clients, cars (specifically the classics), and car shows and races. I did it all as a kid: washed cars, laid fiberglass and wanted to have a career just like my dad. I was destined to a life working in the automotive industry.

After graduating from UCLA, I focused on being a wife and mother, and it was not until almost 10 years later that I stumbled into working in advertising. In the newspaper business, I found myself drawn to the automotive sector. Working closely with clients and ad agencies, I was hooked again.

When readership started to decline, I knew it was time to look for a new way to work with dealers. My husband, who is also in the automotive business, encouraged me to seek out an opportunity in digital media. I discovered a wonderful adventure working for Autotrader. Collaborating with our independent and franchise dealers on their digital media campaigns provided the opportunity for me to educate and help our dealer partners grow their businesses.

After a decade with Autotrader, I was offered a tremendous opportunity to join NextGear Capital. In my roles with Autotrader and NextGear Capital, I have had the good fortune to be part of Cox Automotive. I have a huge passion for working closely with my dealer partners on their business while getting to spend time envying their inventory!

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

WG: I observed that buying behaviors have changed the most; digital has made the largest impact on the business. Shoppers have inventory, values and dealerships at their fingertips. No longer do you see families on a Sunday driving from lot to lot; they can take a drive down the virtual highway.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem solving?

WG: As a servant leader, I have a team member first motto. I strive for a culture that supports open and honest feedback. I engage with my team to derive creative ways to approach the business and solutions. The culture I create allows each team member to voice his or her ideas and opinions.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

WG: My success has been predicated on hard work, dedication and passion for cars. I hold my team and myself to the highest level of accountability.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

WG: My mom and dad have both been instrumental in my life. My dad — as a business owner in the automotive industry — held me to a high level of performance, even as a child. He set a great example for me as someone who lived to succeed.

His partner was my mom, who as a stay-at-home mom, worked harder supporting my dad and the kids than any professional women out there. My dad traveled for his business and my mom had to balance it all.

At nine, I developed Type 1 diabetes, and my mom essentially gave up her dreams to take care of me. Diabetes was the game changer for the family; everything in our life depended on my health. My dad always told me, do not let diabetes stand in the way to live your dream.

Even today, as the division vice president for NextGear Capital, my dad contacts me daily to discuss where my team is to goal. The high level of accountability continues well into my adult years.

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

WG: Since a young child, I have spent my free time volunteering with the American Diabetes Association. Working on fundraisers, walks and events in my spare time. Each year I strive to raise more and more donations.

My dad and I do a campaign with friends and family to raise donations each year. One year, we raised more than $3,000 for an ADA walk. On most Sundays, you can find my husband and myself at Super Car Sunday. We all take our classics to the show.

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Cynthia Meyer

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Cynthia Meyer, national sales with Dealers Auto Auction Group and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Cynthia Meyer: My path was totally by luck! I started in the industry not even knowing what the automotive industry was about. In 1994, my first position was with ADT Truck and Equipment, and then I held a variety of positions from marketing to sales on the auction side. What I enjoy most about the car business is the people. I have had some great mentors over the years and made some long-lasting friends that I have known for over 20 years.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

CM: To be honest, the biggest change I have seen is the amount of competition on the auction side and how different areas have evolved in the online space. I was privileged to work at ADT when the first Dealer Direct online sale was introduced, and we sent out diskettes with the sale information and ran everything off of a 486 processor. And our Redistribution Management inventory management system turned into what is known today as AutoIMS.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

CM: Leading by example is probably the best way to describe how I interact with my team. I receive great satisfaction when my team succeeds and works well together. Accountability and dependability are two strengths that I think every person should aspire to achieve and will drive answers to solving problems.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

CM: Knowing what people want and how best to communicate with them has been one of my strengths in getting to where I am today. Understanding a customer’s needs and being able to influence their decisions is one of the areas I have focused on in recent years.

Many times I have walked into meetings with a set expectation and had to stop, listen to the consignor and adjust the overall goal in order to strengthen the relationship. I believe that relationships are still key to the success of this industry.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

CM: I admire anyone who loves what they do and are passionate about it. Whether it’s what they are involved with or their career, I admire that. So many people today have lost sight of really enjoying what they do. After 20-plus years in this industry, I can still say I am excited to come to work!

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

CM: I enjoy spending time with my daughter and family. She is a senior in high school this year and is a varsity swimmer and golfer. When I am not traveling for work, I am at the pool volunteering at the swim meet or walking the golf course during a match. I also live in the land of 10,000 lakes and enjoy spending time in and around the water.

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Amy Taitano

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Amy Taitano, assistant general manager at Manheim Pennsylvania and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Amy Taitano: My sister worked at an auction in California (Bay Cities Auto Auction) and I came in to visit her and was in awe. I fell in love with the organized chaos of the auction and the chant of the auctioneers. I started out as an upper block clerk 24 years ago. Still today, my favorite spot is on the block selling cars next to an auctioneer. 

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

AT: Since I first started in the business, the technology has evolved into digital platforms that make it easier to sell cars and make adjustments when weather and other outside issues threaten to disrupt getting vehicles through the lanes.

For example, we had planned a closed in-lane General Motors sale when a blizzard swept through the Northeast on Tuesday, March 14. Our technology allowed us to complete a successful sale, with the help of our sister location Manheim Orlando. The Orlando team set up their block as Manheim Pennsylvania.

We redirected the audio and video and proceeded to host a digital sale from a remote location, and did not skip a beat. We had 81 dealers online during the blizzard purchasing cars while Orlando auctioned them for us and it was seamless. Twenty-four years ago, we would have been forced to cancel the sale.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

AT: I would say I am a collaborative leader. I partner with my peer AGMs, who are subject matter experts in their respective areas, to accomplish our shared goals. I prefer direct communication, both with my peers and my direct reports.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

AT: Two keys to success for me have been asking for more responsibility and pushing myself. Starting as a part-time lane clerk, my hunger for auction life grew and I needed more! I was offered a full-time position as a receptionist and I jumped at the chance.

This was before we had voicemail, so every day was as hectic as being on the block, and I was able to view the business from our customer’s perspective. I would work with my managers and try to absorb as much information as possible. Our company offers many opportunities for growth and development for its employees; one simply needs to ask. Working for a company that invests so much in its team members is not a job, it’s a career.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

AT: My mother was the first strong leader I admired. She is one of the smartest, toughest and most independent women I know. She became a paralegal while raising six children. Both my parents had a strong work ethic. Julie Picard is another person that I admire. She is a strong leader, is humble and has built strong relationships. Julie is one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and she is highly respected in our business. She has taught me a lot, as I was fortunate enough to work with her in Seattle and later when she was my GM at Manheim Pennsylvania. I have been blessed throughout my career with leaders who have been pivotal in my path: Sheri Shima, Cathy Phippen, Jim DesRochers, Diane Barton and Leah Jaye. Each one has mentored me in different ways. I am now working for Joey Hughes; he brings excitement and strong customer relation skills to my world. I have also been blessed with talented peers, including our auction manager and our assistant general managers.  

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

AT: I absolutely LOVE music. If there is a concert in town I am more than likely there. I love all genres of music. Music is my therapy. My weakness is a good sale at the mall. I also enjoy supporting my two teenagers in their school and sports activities. Most importantly, my husband, who is the foundation of our home; he keeps us all grounded.  

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Kate Eltringham

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Kate Eltringham, vice president of marketing at GWC Warranty and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree.

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Kate Eltringham: I’ve always had a soft spot for the auto industry because my father sold used cars early in his career and shared stories of that time with me. What I enjoy most about working in the car business is the chance to work alongside such high-caliber people at GWC Warranty.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

KE: I think the used-car segment has really caught the attention of franchise dealers. The influx of off-lease vehicles has started to present new opportunities and more franchise stores are looking to used cars to help drive profits. What’s interesting about this is that used vehicles are purchased by different types of customers with different needs.

Delivering the type of experience that’s expected by a used-car shopper means providing confidence to buy. Finding the right partners to help you offer that confidence and maximize profit on each sale is going to become more important going forward.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

KE: My leadership style is to empower the people around me and those who report to me in order to help them do impactful work. When it comes to problem-solving, I approach issues with a data-driven mindset. Understand what the data is telling you and then combine that with what you understand about your customer. I like to collaborate and share ideas, always keeping in mind that whatever is decided needs to drive results.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

KE: Starting with understanding customer needs has been critical to my success. Over the last few years, we have done a lot of formal and informal voice-of-customer work. What we learned by listening to dealers shaped our efforts to deliver a higher level of value to our partners through product enhancements and dealer-focused programs.

Creating programs that reward our top dealers with access to expedited claims service, on-demand virtual training for all areas of a dealership as well as access to a compliance training platform focused on F&I — all at no charge — has come right from understanding our dealer’s pain points.

As far as other keys to success, I’d say holding myself accountable, maintaining a focus on driving results and finally, nothing beats good old-fashioned hard work.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

KE: I’ve been lucky enough to have had two mentors help guide me in the automotive space. Mike Melby, our VP of strategy and business development, has been a great sounding board and advisor, particularly early in my time in this industry. Rob Glander, our CEO and president, has really helped me grow professionally.

He’s helped me become a stronger leader and helped me to recognize and play to my strengths. Both Mike and Rob continue to be great supporters and strong examples of how to be successful.

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

KE: I try to spend as much time as I can with family and friends. I really enjoy going to concerts and am a big sports fan. But nothing is better than spending time with my husband, T.J., and our dog Pearl. 

 

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Ashley Dietze

CARY, N.C. - 

Below is a Q&A with Ashley Dietze, fleet lease manager at San Antonio Auto Auction and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Ashley Dietze: My family owns and operates San Antonio Auto Auction and Corpus Christi Auto Auction in central and south Texas. I started working for our family business in the summers in between school as a kid. I did everything from answering phones, stuffing envelopes and even helped wash a car or two. However the auto auction was not the career path I had in mind.

I graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in animal science, and immediately after graduation, I went to work for the auction while I searched for jobs in the livestock industry. Not long after working there, I quickly found my passion for the business and was intrigued by the fast-paced, always-changing environment.

At the start of 2007 I was offered a full-time job starting as the transportation manager. I’ve worked in every position of the auction business, finding my perfect fit in the fleet lease department. In 2010, we uprooted my family and took a leap of faith in opening our second location: San Antonio Auto Auction. Those first few years we had a high level of uncertainty, but we had faith that if we gave our customers the same level of service they’d come to know in Corpus Christi, we could make it work.

And today, by the grace of God and the amazing staff we consider a part of our family, we’ve become a large presence in the central Texas area. Today I serve as the fleet lease manager for our San Antonio location while also serving on the board of directors for the ServNet Auction Group.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

AD: What’s changed the most is how far technology has come. I can honestly remember years ago, before there was emailing and websites, we were marketing via fax and telemarketing. The whole aspect of how we market ourselves has transformed. In the past 10 years, I’ve witnessed live simulcast bidding come into the market, and each year we are selling more cars via simulcast, making it easier for buyers from across the country to view our inventory and buy vehicles from the comfort of their office.

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

AD: I like to lead by example and wouldn’t expect anything less of those who I’m supervising. I believe in a hands-on approach to solving problems. Think the problem through, don’t be afraid to ask advice or get a second opinion; but the longer you let something fester, no matter the situation, it never ends up benefitting the solution.

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

AD: I think it comes down to three things that I can say attribute to my success; my faith in God, a strong and positive support system within my family and coworkers, and the leadership of my father in seeing all of his hard work in building what this company is today. I love the saying that there is no “I” in team. My success in the car business is due to a collaboration of the people who surround me day in and day out at the auction. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their continued hard work.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

AD: My father. I’ve witnessed firsthand how hard he has worked to make these two great companies the successes they are today. All the while he has had a deep faith in God that has led him every step of the way and given him a peace, even in the uncertainty of opening a new business in such a large city as San Antonio — his faith that we were supposed to be here never wavered. His leadership style is one that many of our managers strive to be like.

I also admire Patty Stanley, co-owner of Carolina Auto Auction and Indiana Auto Auction, who are also ServNet Auctions. This past year I’ve had the honor to serve with her on the ServNet board of directors and her leadership and guidance of the group is beyond compare. She was inducted into the NAAA Hall of Fame at this past year’s NAAA/NRC Convention, and has been a voice for women in this industry that has had a big impact on me, hoping that I may be able to accomplish as much as she has in her career.

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

AD: When I’m not in the office you can find me at whichever sporting event my two sons are playing, which at this time is baseball! When we have a free weekend, my husband and I will spend the day on the lake or head to the coast to bay fish.

 

Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing

Women in Remarketing: Sarah Amico

CARY, N.C. - 
Below is a Q&A with Sarah Amico, executive chairman of Jack Cooper Holdings Corp. and a 2017 Women in Remarketing honoree. 

Auto Remarketing: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?

Sarah Amico: I suppose it was a little bit of destiny for me to work in automotive! My grandfather had worked in a GM plant as a janitor, my father worked in the Corvette plant while attending GMI and was sponsored by GM for his MBA at Harvard, so I grew up knowing that a lot of the opportunity I had in life was based on what the auto industry had provided for my family.

Our family eventually centered its businesses in the transportation and logistics world — transporting both heavy trucks and now cars, over the years. While I grew up in that world, I spent about eight years after I finished my MBA forging my own path in the media industry, focused on partnership structures, independent film finance and digital media seed capital, before joining the Board of Jack Cooper in 2011.

By 2014 I had joined Jack Cooper as a full-time executive and director, and in November of 2014 I was promoted to executive chairman of the board. I truly love being a part of one of the great American industries, and I especially love that we came into the auto industry logistics space in 2008-2009, saving thousands of jobs in the midst of the industry's turmoil.

I am proud that we are creating good-paying, American jobs supporting a pillar of the nation's economy (the automotive industry!), and that the jobs we create moving finished vehicles cannot be outsourced to a cheaper labor market.

AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?

SA: When I joined Jack Cooper, our POV/remarketing/logistics business was literally brand new; it launched around the time I joined the board. The biggest change for us, therefore, is primarily how much the business has grown!

From an industry perspective, the volumes have certainly increased, as have the opportunities for technology to drive efficiency in the supply chain. It's an exciting moment for the industry — we are so close to seeing the development of "one-stop shopping" for remarketers and fleets, where they can inspect, process, transport and otherwise service POV vehicles in a truly streamlined and cost-effective way for remarketers. I love seeing how rapidly these technologies evolve!

AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?

SA: I'm a mom to a 4- and 6-year-old, so I think that — like most moms — I embrace pragmatic decision-making, careful consensus building and a healthy ability to adapt as circumstances change.

I like empowering my team to work independently, and love seeing them succeed and get to "show off" their wins to the senior leadership and board of the company! With my executive leadership team, we focus on robust debate and discussions — trying to look at each problem from EVERY available angle, and allowing people to both advocate (passionately) for their point of view and practice ACTIVE listening skills. I try to provide big picture, strategic perspective for how we are supporting the company's overall goals, as well as guidance on how I think we can be effective in implementing a solution, and then I turn the team loose to construct the creative solutions they think best meet the business' needs.

And most importantly, I try to make sure everyone gets credit for their efforts and visibility to the most senior levels of the company when they contribute to problem- solving. Watching my team members take a metaphorical "bow" in front of the board or CEO is one of the greatest feelings of a job well done!

AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?

SA: We have five core values, and I truly believe we owe all of our success to them (and to the kind of team members they lead us to have at the company):

  1. Integrity: Being honest with ourselves, our colleagues, our customers, our investors and all of our stakeholders is a critical part of our culture; no one can succeed at Jack Cooper (or perhaps more generally!) Without it.

  2. Excellence: We expect people to give 110 percent and focus on skill mastery and quality service; this provides a better service to our customers, a safer workplace for our employees, and a better return for investors.

  3. Innovation and imagination: We are an 89-year-old industrials/trucking company, but that doesn't mean we leave our creativity at the door on the way into work; we innovate — constantly — and try to reimagine our business both to face today's market challenges and to meet tomorrow's evolving needs.

  4. Responsibility: To all of our stakeholders, from employees, to customers, to investors, to the communities where we live and work, we try to make sure Jack Cooper is a company that acts responsibly and makes a positive impact on our people and the communities where we live and work.

  5. Longevity: We've been a family owned business since 1928, with five generations of two families who have run the business; this gives us a lot of perspective, so when we say we make decisions for the long-term, we mean it — and we expect our management teams to do the same.

We call this our "Zoe Strategy," because when my niece (Zoe) who is 7 years old, is in the work place 20 years from now, we still want to be a family held business, guided by these five values. So we make decisions for the Zoe time horizon, even when that isn't the easiest, or even most profitable, path forward.

AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?

SA: Without a doubt, Mary Barra is the first name to come to mind. Being the first female CEO of a major American OEM is amazing, but the fact that she is a brilliant, capable, experienced leader makes her even more special. As both a woman leading a company in a predominantly male industry, AND the mother to two young engineering-minded little girls, I am so grateful to have Mary Barra as a role model. I love that my girls will grow up thinking OF COURSE a woman can be the CEO of GM. They won't even understand why that was ever in doubt.

In the general world of business, I don't know how you can beat the example set by Walt Disney! As he once said, it's hard to believe "that it all started with a mouse!" I love that he endeavored to do the seemingly impossible, and nearly always succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

I love the joy and hope and imagination he continues to inspire in people around the globe, long after his death — now, that's a legacy. I love that he knew EXACTLY what his vision was for his business, and exactly HOW he wanted it to work, and then he just set about making it happen. "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!" He once said, and indeed it is.

I think his secret was partly that his dreams were only limited by his imagination — which was seemingly limitless, and partly that he saw setbacks as purely temporary. He once said, "I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary," and if I can live out my career by that mantra alone, I think I will have done good work. It's no wonder that his company today continues to operate, in part, based on plans he outlined during his lifetime.

Also, I admire leaders who have a defined set of principles and are willing to stick to them, even when things are tough. In the political world, many people would probably be surprised to hear I admire both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for exactly this reason! It's easy to stick to your principles when everyone supports you, or when they are in fashion, but when the chips are down you really see the gap between someone's values (true, core values) and the luxuries of character that are ultimately disposable.

I also admired both of these men for the clear priority they put on their family and family relationships. If they can maintain family as a priority — as President of the United States — then surely work-life balance is achievable for the mere mortals among us!

AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?

SA: I sing and take music lessons weekly; music moves me and gives me a creative outlet, and I love that my kids are old enough that they've started dropping in to my lessons and singing every now and then. I have a weekly Bible study with my pastor, his wife and a dozen other women from our church, which is a pretty in-depth study of scripture and theology, and I also find that keeps me centered and focused on how my personal and professional lives can be purpose-driven.

It's wonderful to pop up from the trees of day-to-day parenting or professional issues, and just stand in awe of the proverbial "forest", to know that we are a part of something so much bigger — infinitely bigger — than whatever the challenge of the day is. I love having time to study and share God's word, and to celebrate the amazing grace I've experienced in my life.

And I'm also a politics/policy nerd, so I love reading the news and catching up on important issues that matter to me, particularly in terms of serving populations in need in my community. My favorite indulgence on the weekend is curling up with a cup of tea and the Sunday New York Times.

Through both our Jack Cooper Volunteer Day that I started, and in my downtime, I am passionate about making sure that people, especially children, have every opportunity possible to live up to their God-given potential. Whether it's the local foster home, summer lunch program for kids suffering food insecurity, volunteering at our local no-kill animal shelter, or finding ways Jack Cooper can hire more veterans, I am committed to having a positive impact on our community.

 
Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing