Conferences and Events

Donlen named one of Chicago’s best & brightest companies to work


For the third year in a row, Donlen has been recognized by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR) as one of Chicago's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, the company recently announced.

Dolen and other winners will be honored at a symposium and awards celebration on July 17 at the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge.

"Employee satisfaction and development drives our award-winning culture here at Donlen," the company’s human resources business partner Kelly Elliott said in a news release. "We promote an empowering environment that gives our employees the resources and opportunities they need to find success, grow, and contribute to the exceptional fleet experience that Donlen provides our customers.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Chicago’s Best and Brightest organization and we thank our employees for their dedication and efforts to make Donlen a desirable and productive workplace.”

NABR selected this year's winning companies using an independent research firm that evaluates each company's entry in the following categories, according to Donlen:

—Compensation, benefits and employee solutions
—Employee enrichment, engagement and retention
—Employee education and development
—Recruitment, selection and orientation
—Employee achievement and recognition
—Communication and shared vision
—Diversity and inclusion
—Work-life balance
—Community initiatives
—Strategic company performance
—Best of the Best Small Business, Medium Business and Large Business.

“Profitability and stability is essential for businesses in today’s economic climate. Companies that recognize that their employees are the key to their success achieve staying power,” said Jennifer Kluge, president and chief executive officer of MBPA, an affiliate of NABR. “Our 2017 winners create their human resource standards to ensure employee satisfaction and they set standards for every business to aspire toward. We are proud to honor this year’s winners.”

For more information about the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For organization, visit

Weekly auction news roundup

CARY, N.C. - 

XLerate Group recently announced that it has brought on Tom Francois as the new general manager of the group’s Badger State Auto Auction in Fond du Lac, Wis.

Francois succeeds Tim Netz, who is retiring after 18 years of service at the auction.

“We are grateful to Tim Netz for his leadership, service and dedication to Badger State Auto Auction and wish Tim the best in retirement. At the same time, we are excited to have Tom Francois join the XLerate Group Auction family,” XLerate chief executive officer Cam Hitchcock said in a news release. “Tom brings over 30 years in sales and auto auction management, plus extensive experience in the automotive remarketing industry, serving as the past president of the Midwest Chapter and long-standing board member at both the regional and national levels of the National Auto Auction Association.”

Francois said his ability to build and maintain strong client relationships has attributed to his success as a leader, according to XLerate.

“I look forward to linking clients with XLerate’s innovative solutions,” Francois said. “My priority is to ensure every dealer receives top-notch service and great execution.”

Francois holds a B.A. degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse.

GEAA celebrates 13 years

In other auction news, Greater Erie Auto Auction recently celebrated its 13th anniversary with over 500 cars in the lanes and $10,000 in prizes for dealers during its latest sales event held this month.

“I want to thank all of our dealers and our great employees for 13 wonderful years. Without their daily and weekly support, this would not be possible,” GEAA managing partner Todd Briggs said.

On May 9, AFC and NextGear ran special floor plan promos which drew dealers from 14 states, either in-lane or via simulcast.

Dave Warren of Dave Warren Chrysler Dodge Jeep won the auction’s grand prize, a John Deere riding lawnmower.

“Everyone at GEAA strives to do what is right for our customers daily, and our staff has worked diligently to make Greater Erie a great place to be each week for dealers to buy and sell inventory,” Briggs added.

Online auction to host Mustangs vs. Camaros sale


Speed Digital announced it will partner with HemmingsPRO Auctions to host a battle more than 50 years in the making: Mustangs versus Camaros. 

On May 26, the new partners will bring collectors and enthusiasts a Mustangs versus Camaros sale, the first of a series of monthly themed, timed online auctions.

This event will help settle the long-standing rivalry between the two sporsts car brands and determine which American classic is truly most popular, Speed Digital said. 

"We look forward to bringing this unique auction format to millions of Mustang and Camaro fans," Speed Digital president Neil Pitt said in a news release. "It will be exciting to see which fan base has a stronger showing. Will a Mustang or Camaro bring in the highest winning bid? Will more Mustangs find new homes or will it be Camaros? Only time will tell, but it will be fun to watch it all unfold on May 26."  

Mustangs and Camaros from 1964 to 2017 will be included in the auction and all inventory will be provided by dealers within Speed Digital's Dealer Accelerate network.

Interested buyers can currently bid at The timed online auction will close on the night of May 26.

During the live auction, a 2017 Petty's Garage King Premier Edition Mustang powered by a 5.0L V-8 engine producing 825 HP will be auctioned off at 7 p.m.

The customized car signed by Richard Petty himself comes in the Petty's Garage signature limited "ghost series" black and silver paint scheme. According to Speed Digital, the proceeds from the sale of the car will go to charity.

"The Petty's Garage Mustang won't be the only vehicle drawing interest during the Mustangs vs. Camaros online auction. You would be hard-pressed to find more premier Mustangs and Camaros in another auction," Speed Digital added. "Two of the most sought-after vehicles that will have bidders reaching for their wallets include a 1969 Ford Mustang estimated to go between $236,000 and $355,000 at the auction and a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro COPO."

Other sought after cars include the 1968 Shelby GT500, the 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS, which are estimated to go for $133,000 to $187,000, $99,000 to $134,000 and $90,000 to $122,000, respectively, according to Speed Digital.

For more information about the upcoming auction email or visit

Copart’s rebuild challenge contest open for entries


Copart recently announced the launch of its upcoming fourth annual Copart Rebuild Challenge, a contest where U.S. car enthusiasts and automotive rebuilders competitively demonstrate how they’ve restored, customized or rebuilt a vehicle of their choice.

"Every year, the contest draws more anticipation. Since last year's contest concluded, aspiring contestants have been asking when the Rebuild Challenge will be returning, and I'm thrilled to finally be able to say it's back and open for entries," Copart vice president of marketing Michelle Hoffman said in a news release.

Up to July 11, contestants can enter the challenge by submitting before-and-after photos of their chosen project to Each entry should include a caption with a brief description of the rebuild project, the online vehicle auction company said.

Contestants have the option to share their submissions on social media by using the hashtag "#CopartContest."

Additionally, Copart said contestants must also register for free membership to enter the contest. Membership can be obtained through the online registration form available at

Following the entry period ending mid-July, a panel of Copart's in-house judges will choose 10 finalists. On July 18 public voting will begin to determine three winners who will be awarded a cash prize, according to Copart.

Third place will receive $1,000, second place will receive $2,000, and the grand prize winner will be awarded $5,000.

"Any enthusiast or rebuilder can find what they need in Copart's inventory of more than 125,000 vehicles," Hoffman said. "Thousands of muscle cars, classics, exotics and more are available to Copart members every day."

For more details about the Copart Rebuild Challenge contest visit,

AutoMobility LA opens submissions for top 10 startup competition


AutoMobility LA has announced that it is now accepting submissions for its 2017 Top Ten Automotive Startups Competition, which recognizes startup companies that have impressive innovations with the potential to shape the future of the new transportation industry.

The competition’s finalists will be named just before the 2017 AutoMobility LA show, which will take place this fall at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

At the convention, the competition’s winning startup will receive an on-stage advisor session with influencers in the technology and automotive industries. The session’s participating advisors will include Bill Tai, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Norman Firchau, the president and chief executive officer of Porsche Consulting North America and Jeff Henshaw, Microsoft’s quantum computing program manager, according to AutoMobility LA.

“Our Top Ten competition is a true sentiment of what AutoMobility LA is all about – a celebration of the new mobility industry,” AutoMobility LA and LA Auto Show president and chief executive officer Lisa Kaz said in a news release. “As the new mobility industry continues to evolve, our goal is to recognize companies who are truly disrupting the traditional automotive space and building the next great product or service that will change our lives.”

This year, companies will be evaluated by a team of juries made up of the LA Auto Show executive team and senior executives from companies such as Elektrobit, NVIDIA, TIME's The Drive, Porsche Consulting and Microsoft.

Additionally, at the upcoming AutoMobility LA show, the competition's finalists will receive access to a complimentary booth space at the convention as well as an invitation to a VIP reception with the AutoMobility LA executive team, advisory board members, top investors and industry executives.

“The startups will also be recognized in front of 25,000 media professionals, influential thought-leaders, automakers, tech titans, designers, developers, investors, dealers, government officials, analysts, fellow startups and more,” AutoMobility LA said.

Submissions for the Top Ten Automotive Startups Competition will be accepted through July 15. For more information and to apply, visit

Previous competition winners include Argus Cyber Security, Elio Motors, EverCharge, Inc., High Mobility, HopSkipDrive and PolySync.

Sheehy Auto kicks off fundraiser for American Heart Association


Sheehy Auto Stores has launched its 20th annual Sheehy 8000 sales event, a three-week community-wide effort to raise funds for the American Heart Association, the group announced on Friday.

Throughout the rest of the month, each of Sheehy Auto's dealerships throughout Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Baltimore will host a variety of initiatives in support of the fundraiser before it wraps up on July 5.

"This year is a milestone for us as we continue our mission to raise awareness and funds for a cause that is close to many of our hearts," Sheehy Auto president Vince Sheehy said in a news release.

"We are thankful for our customers, communities and team members who rally behind this effort, making each year's campaign more successful than the last."

Sheehy Auto said this year’s campaign includes healthy cooking demonstrations, blood pressure screenings and CPR training for employees and the community across all of its locations.

"The support of Sheehy Auto Stores has allowed us to make a considerable impact on the health of our communities in the region," American Heart Association vice president of marketing Michelle Nostheide said. "We appreciate the generosity of their team members, customers and vendors, and their efforts towards workplace wellness. Together, we can lessen the burden and loss heart disease and stroke cause for so many families." 

Last year's Sheehy 7000 campaign raised $225,000 for the American Heart Association, according to Sheehy.

Additionally, the dealer group said it has been a several year sponsor of the charity’s National Walking Day, which was held last month at Springfield Town Center in Virginia. Each of Sheehy's dealerships also hosted individual step challenges among employees on the day of the walk.

Sheehy Auto said it has raised a total of more than $40 million for community and non-profit organizations since it was founded in 1966.

Roundup: Auction golf tournament & anniversary sales events

CARY, N.C. - 

Last week, Southeastern Auto Auction of Savannah hosted its annual Masters Sale and golf tournament, which is named after The Masters golf tournament that is held in Augusta, Ga., just a few hours away from the auction. 

This year’s Masters Sale featured over 800 vehicles, and by the end of the sales event, the auction gave away over $2,500 in cash prizes, according to SAA.

To wrap up the sale, dealers were selected to putt on the auction’s putting green for a chance to win up to $1,000. 

The day following the sale, the auction’s golf tournament featured a record number of teams as well as a $25,000 hole-in-one challenge and longest drive contest.

Additionally, from hole sponsorship funds for the event, the auction raised a donation of $3,000 to present Shriners Hospital for Children following the tournament.

“It was a great week!  We sold a lot of cars, had beautiful weather for the sale and golf tournament, and raised money for Children in need,” SAA vice president Bill McCready said in a news release.

Carriage Trade AA turns 40

Carriage Trade Public Auto Auction will host its 40th-anniversary sale on May 22, which will feature an estimated 1,000 vehicles along with a number of prizes and giveaways, the auction recently announced.

“We’re excited about this milestone anniversary and are looking forward to celebrating with the people that have made it possible, our customers and our employees,” Carriage Trade general manager Brian McNally said in a news release. 

In May of 1977, Carriage Trade held its first sale with a total of just 35 vehicles, the auction said.

Currently, the auction sells on average about 500 cars each week, according to Carriage Trade.

For more details about the auction's sale, visit

Lynyrd Skynyrd to headline DAA Northwest’s Rock & Roll Sale

SPOKANE, Wash. - 

DAA Northwest recently announced that Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd will take the DAA stage on July 19 for the auction's 22nd annual Rock & Roll Sale.

“Each year, we put a lot of thought into bringing in a headliner that will be a great fit with our customers. Judging from the smiles on faces in our lanes last Thursday, Lynyrd Skynyrd fits the bill,” Bob McConkey, president of the McConkey Auction Group, said in a news release. 

“This event gives us all a chance to gather together to celebrate the things we love – cars, friends and rock & roll!”

DAA first announced Lynyrd Skynyrd would headline the annual event during the auction's NASCAR Days sale on April 20.

Following the year McConkey invited Jerry Lee Lewis for DAA Northwest’s first Rock & Roll event to commemorate a move to a new facility in July of 1992, “customers immediately began asking McConkey, ‘Who are you going to have next year?’ It was clear the Rock & Roll Sale needed to be an annual event,” the auction said.

DAA Northwest has since hosted artists such as Chuck Berry, Heart, The Doobie Brothers, Pat Benatar, Chicago and a number of other international headliners.

“We host promotions every month, but the Rock & Roll Sale is definitely our signature event,” McConkey added.

The auction said Lynyrd Skynyrd is a cultural icon that appeals to multiple generations, and their hit song “Sweet Home Alabama,” which became a classic American rock anthem, has sold over two million ringtones.

The Southern rock band has a catalog of over 60 albums and has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, according to DAA.

Additionally, more than 5,000 cars, trucks and bikes will also be featured during DAA’s annual sale and the event wraps up with over $30,000 in prizes.

Manheim Penn. to host annual auctioneer championship


Manheim Pennsylvania will host over 100 auctioneers who are set to face-off in the 2017 World Automobile Auctioneers Championship (WAAC), which will showcase auctioneers competing for $12,500 in prize money as well as the title of the best auctioneer, best ringperson and best two-person team.

“It’s our privilege to sponsor this year’s event and celebrate the top professionals in automobile auctioneering,” Manheim Pennsylvania general manager Joey Hughes said in a news release. “It will be an inspiring display of hard work and unique craft.”

Auctioneers will be judged on chant, voice quality, salesmanship and other performance elements of efficient and authentic auctioneering.

Contenders will also have to showcase their ability to interact and communicate with bidders and buyers.

“The level of talent at this event will be unparalleled, and picking the winners will be an exciting, tough job,” Manheim Inventory Services senior vice president Grace Huang and judge for the championship said.

Other Auto auction industry executives set to attend the championship include Shane O’Dell, president of Cox Automotive Financial Solutions Group and Jerry Hinton, president of the National Auto Auction Association.

“It is fitting to hold this competition at Manheim Pennsylvania, where modern-day auto auctions began in the U.S.,” WAAC president Paul Behr said. “We appreciate Manheim making this event possible, and for the industry leader’s commitment to auto auction professionals.”

Manheim Pennsylvania is said to be the largest auction in the world, its operations currently sit on 400 acres, according to Manheim.

Cancer & AIDS research foundation to honor Facebook auto director


The T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research has announced that it will honor Facebook's U.S. Automotive director Stephanie Latham at the Women of Influence Awards and Luncheon next week.

Latham, a breast cancer survivor and passionate supporter of the cause, will join five other women in accepting their awards during the foundation's fifth annual event at the New York Plaza Hotel on  May 12 at 11:30 a.m.

“The awards celebration honors six outstanding women who have achieved tremendous goals in both in their business and personal life and will benefit ovarian and breast cancer research,” the foundation said in a news release. 

Latham joined Facebook in 2011 and in her current role as head of its U.S. Automotive team, she works alongside marketers and agencies to forge solutions across platforms that boost brand awareness in efforts to sell more vehicles.

She also held leadership positions on Facebook’s Retail, Financial Services and Restaurants teams before leading on the Automotive team.

Prior to joining Facebook, Latham served as the executive director of Account Service at the Barbarian Group, where she managed the GE, CNN and Google accounts.

Latham received her MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter.

For more information about the 2017 Women of Influence Awards and Luncheon's other honorees and to obtain tickets for the event, visit