Spireon donates $100K to NIADA for hurricane relief; IIADA names dealer of the year

CARY, N.C. - 

NIADA announced Tuesday that Spireon will contribute $100,000 to the NIADA Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund to help members of the automotive community recover from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The association said Spireon chose to give to the NIADA Foundation Disaster Relief Fund because it was the quickest way to contribute to the customers and the communities the company serves.

 "Our hearts and prayers go out to the folks whose lives have been impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma," Spireon chief executive officer Kevin Weiss said in a news release.

"We know the road has not been easy over the past few weeks, and we know the recovery efforts will continue for months to come. We are incredibly thankful for the support our customers have shown us over the years and feel very fortunate to be in a position to give back to these impacted communities," he continued.

Spireon will use its NSpire platform to provide data to customers to help them get their businesses running and assess next steps in wake of the storms, according to Weiss.

"When Spireon heard the NIADA Foundation had created the Emergency Relief Fund, it quickly rallied and offered a major financial commitment to help those affected by the catastrophic storms," said Steve Jordan, NIADA's CEO and president of the NIADA Foundation board of trustees. "We appreciate that Spireon understands recovery doesn't happen overnight, and we are looking forward to working with Kevin Weiss and his entire team to advance our shared goals of helping all members of the independent dealer community get back on their feet again."

 The Disaster Relief fund was established by the NIADA Foundation to enable members and industry partners to help fellow dealers and others in the automotive community in need.

 NIADA said the foundation will continue funding hurricane relief efforts in the coming months.

Fort Wayne store named Quality Dealer of the Year

Meanwhile, in other auto community news, the Indiana Independent Automobile Dealers Association recently announced that Grote Automotive of Fort Wayne, Ind. is its 2017 “Joe Krier” Quality Dealer of the Year.

Owner Fred Grote recently accepted the award at the association’s 30th Anniversary Golf Tournament and Awards Day held at Ironwood Golf Club.

Grote Automotive was started by Grote and his wife Jackie in 2007.

“‘For The People’ is the guiding drive behind the success of the dealership,” the association said in a news release.

“Fred has instilled in the staff that customers are to always feel respected and be given the most enjoyable and fun car buying experience they have ever had.”

In addition to recognizing dealerships and dealers that have a record of being consumer-oriented, award winners must also represent themselves as a civic leader in their community.

The Grote’s have fostered over 30 children and adopted four as their own. Currently, two of their children are involved in the business.

Grote Automotive will represent Indiana at the NIADA Convention in Orlando, Fla. in June. The dealership will compete with Quality Dealers from other states for the National Quality Dealer of the Year title.

Additionally, this year, the dealership was named one of Indiana’s Top 100 Best Places to Work and No. 1 in Fort Wayne.

CIADA honors NC dealer with top award


The Carolinas Independent Auto Dealers Association (CIADA) recently awarded its Quality Dealer of the Year Award to M&M Auto Sales in Lumberton, N.C., during a ceremony following the association's annual Expo.

Brothers Chris Moore and Jerry Padrick Jr., who took over M&M Auto Sales from their father about 25 years ago accepted the CIADA’s top award.

The dealership was chosen from a group of several candidates that the CIADA judged on a variety of factors, such as contributions to the auto industry, the association and local community.

Michael Darrow of The Auto Finders in Durham, N.C., and a past Quality Dealer of the Year, nominated M&M Auto Sales.

"Jerry and Chris are an inspiration to all dealerships across the Carolinas and the country," CIADA executive director John Brown said in a news release.

"M&M Auto Sales walks the walk. It is truly a pleasure to recognize dealers in the Carolinas who achieve greatness. I look forward to having M&M Auto Sales compete for the National Quality Dealer award at the NIADA Convention in June 2018."

Next year, the dealership will represent the Carolinas as CIADA's nominee for the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s top award in Orlando, Fla.

"It is an honor to be recognized by one of the top IADAs in the country. We are very humble people, and we just do the right thing for our customers," said Padrick Jr. in the news release. “We surround ourselves with the best employees, and we learn from others in the community. We just treat others like we would want to be treated when you buy a car.”

In addition to serving as coaches for local youth baseball and soccer in their community, Moore and Padrick are also involved with Robeson County 4-H, the Relay for Life and active in their church, according to the CIADA.

AUL Corp. named one of North Bay’s 'best places to work' 4th consecutive year

NAPA, Calif. - 

The North Bay Business Journal has named AUL Corp. one of its ‘Best Places to Work in the North Bay’ for the fourth consecutive year.

The award recognizes companies that embody quality, professionalism, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie, according to how their own employees' rate them. 

AUL and other award recipients were selected based on over 8,200 anonymous employee surveys, in addition to a review of employee comments by North BayBusiness Journal editorial staff, the company said. 

“We are honored that our employees have endorsed AUL and allowed us to be the recipient of this prestigious award for the fourth year in a row. We work hard to put our employees first, so we find this award particularly gratifying,” AUL president and chief executive officer Jimmy Atkinson said in a news release.

“From its inception, AUL was about two things: providing a great place to work and being the very best at what we do in the industry. We graciously accept this award as recognition that we are on the right path to achieving those goals,” he continued.

This year’s winning companies represent nearly 17,000 employees of various industries across the North Bay.

Additionally, the average employee satisfaction score was higher this year than last year, according to AUL Corp.

This marks the 12th year the North Bay Business Journal has held its ‘Best Places to Work’ competition.

NAAA names Metro AA Phoenix chapter auction of year in West


Metro Auto Auction of Phoenix has been named the National Auto Auction Association’s 2017 Western Chapter Auto Auction of the Year for its commitment to supporting community youth.

NAAA said the auction’s notable efforts include hosting an annual Christmas party for seriously ill children and funding a mentorship program for thousands of at-risk Phoenix-area high school students.

The award was established last year to honor the charitable acts that auctions perform each year and to encourage volunteer outreach. The auction will join other chapter finalists competing to win NAAA's 2017 Auto Auction of the Year Award for Excellence in Community Service.

In November, each finalist will be recognized at the NAAA Convention — which is being held in partnership with the National Remarketing Conference — with a crystal trophy and a $5,000 prize for a charity of the auction's choice.

The winner receives a large crystal loving cup, a feature story in both NAAA's On The Block magazine and annual Membership Directory, as well as a $20,000 donation to the charity of the auction's choice.

“As part of National Auto Auction Week I’m honored to announce Metro Auto Auction of Phoenix as the representative auction from NAAA’s Western region for Auction of the Year,” NAAA Western Chapter President Michele Noblitt said in a news release. “Our nation’s children are the future of this great country. Metro owners and staff help provide youth and their families in the Phoenix area the ability to heal through Hope Kids and the tools needed to achieve education through Elevate Phoenix.”

In support of Hope Kids, since 2007, Metro has hosted a Christmas party each year for more than 600 children and family members, according to NAAA.

The annual party includes a Santa, gifts, games, crafts, train rides, petting zoo, Disney characters, a holiday dinner and real snow.

Additionally, NAAA said Metro employees have raised over $275,000 to help fund Elevate Phoenix.

Currently, the organization provides 3,400 students in two high schools with an accredited program designed to build both character and life skills.

Elevate Phoenix hires instructors who serve as mentors on a 24/7 basis and teach their students via a leadership curriculum attune to its mission. Students in the program for three years or more have a graduation rate of 91 percent, NAA said.

Other charities Metro currently supports include Best Buddies, Wounded Warriors,The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona and 2Gether We Live.

NAAA names chapter auctions of year in Midwest & South


The National Auto Auction Association recently announced that Clark County Auto Auction and Charleston Auto Auction have both been named Auto Auction of the Year within their respective chapters, following nominations from local school leaders.

The award was established last year to honor the charitable acts auctions perform each year and to encourage volunteer outreach. The two auctions will join other chapter finalists competing to win NAAA's 2017 Auto Auction of the Year Award for Excellence in Community Service.

In November, each finalist will be recognized at the NAAA Convention — which is being held in partnership with the National Remarketing Conference — with a crystal trophy and a $5,000 prize for a charity of the auction's choice.

The winner receives a large crystal loving cup, a feature story in both NAAA's On The Block magazine and annual Membership Directory, as well as a $20,000 donation to the charity of the auction's choice.

Midwest chapter auction donates $2M real estate

Greater Clark County Schools nominated Clark County Auto Auction, NAAA Midwest Chapter Auto Auction of the Year, following a recent contribution of its property worth more than $2 million.

The auction donated its former 5-acre site and 14,000-square-foot facility to the school system.

The school system named its Mark Fetter Center for Professional Learning after Clark County Auto Auctions late co-founder. Currently, the center has space for training 750 teachers.

"It's with pride that I announce Clark County Auto Auction as the Midwest Chapter's choice for Auto Auction of the Year during our celebration of National Auto Auction Week because they embody the long tradition of our membership's benevolent work and public service," NAAA Midwest chapter president Kristie Goben said in a news release.

Since 1982, the auction has raised more than $2.5 million in support of nonprofit projects, according to NAAA. 

"The compassionate employees who make up Clark County Auto Auction are deeply devoted and enthusiastic to volunteer and make a positive impact in their community each and every day," said Matt Fetter, Clark County Auto Auction president. "From the time we opened our doors, striving to make the world a better place has become our staple, our mission and a large portion of our company DNA."

Southern chapter auction supports homeless teens

Meanwhile, Charleston Auto Auction has been named the NAAA’s 2017 Southern Chapter Auto Auction of the Year following a nomination from the Charleston County School District.

NAAA said the school district nominated the auction for its efforts to help support 21 homeless students at R.B. Stall High School.

"As we celebrate National Auto Auction Week I'm proud to announce Charleston Auto Auction as our candidate for NAAA's Auto Auction of the Year," NAAA Southern chapter president Doug Rodriguez said. "All our entrants deserve recognition for their public service, but none touched us more than Charleston Auto Auction. Their dedication to helping homeless teens, who were couch surfing or sleeping on benches at the mall and had no idea where their next meal would come from, have a safe place to live so they could focus on school was heartwarming."

After seeing a news story on TV about Project H.O.M.E., a proposed project to house several homeless high schoolers with surrogate parents who would provide stability and consistency, Charleston Auto Auction assistant general manager Jason Moritz wanted to help, according to NAAA.

In support of Project H.O.M.E, the auction organized a special month-long sale where it partnered with its dealers to donate a percentage of any vehicle bought or sold to raise money for the construction of a house.

Following the sale, additional fundraising efforts on behalf of the auction garnered more than $26,000 for the project.

Project H.O.M.E now has a goal to begin housing students this fall, according to NAAA.

"They continue to be a driving force behind this project," Project H.O.M.E creator and Charleston County School District secondary education community executive director Kim Wilson. "They've taken an active role in making this home their mission with the auction's General Manager Laura Taylor and Jason joining our board of directors. They also speak to businesses and groups in the community to encourage involvement. It's people like the management and employees at Charleston Auto Auction who see a need and take action that make a difference in this world."

NAAA said other causes the auction supports includes a local food bank, an orphan group, animal shelter and camp program for ill children.

automotiveMastermind named finalist for 3 SaaS Awards


automotiveMastermind has been named a finalist for three 2017 Software-as-a-Service Awards’ in categories for Best User Experience, Best Data-Driven SaaS Product and Best SaaS Product for Sales and Marketing.

Now in its second year of recognizing innovation in software, the SaaS Awards program accepts entries from both the U.S. and across the globe.  

SaaS Award recipients in each category will be announced on Aug. 29.

“To be named a finalist in three categories is a great accomplishment and proves that the automotiveMastermind’s technology is helping to deliver the best results to our dealer partners,” automotiveMastermind chief executive officer and co-founder Marco Schnabl said in a news release.

automotiveMastermind’s proprietary technology analyzes customer, service and market data to predict consumer behavior and provide clients predictive analytics and marketing automation technology.

“Software as a service is the new standard. The global competition is incredibly fierce, with incredibly disruptive technologies shaking up the marketplace – and the dust is far from settled,” said SaaS Awards organizer Larry Johnson. “It’s a new playing field altogether, with providers constantly innovating to ensure their clients are always leveraging best-of-breed software services which are reliable yet still at the cutting edge.”

The SaaS Award is a new sister to the Cloud Awards, which are also organized by Johnson. The program was founded in 2011.

“The demand for technology that can increase profits and enhance customer experiences is growing at an incredible rate. The ultimate goal is to deliver software that is extremely intuitive, maximizes profits and streamlines outdated and cumbersome processes,” added Schnabl.


Boeckmann becomes first member of Ford’s Dealer Hall of Fame

NORTH HILLS, Calif. - 

A previous recipient of the CPO Dealer of the Year Award, southern California’s Galpin Motors recently announced its chairman and chief executive officer, Bert Boeckmann, was presented with Ford’s first Dealer Hall of Fame award in recognition of his lifetime of achievement, outstanding performance and inspirational leadership.

Additionally, Galpin Ford received more than 12 additional awards including being recognized as the No. 1 volume Ford dealership for a record 27 years in a row.

“The objective criteria is really, which of the dealers in this top volume group are universally admired, respected and loved by folks at Ford Motor Co., Ford Credit, by their employees and especially by other Ford dealers?” asked Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of marketing sales and service to cheers from Galpin employees during a taped awards ceremony.

“It was my great honor to induct Bert Boeckmann into the Inaugural Ford Hall of Fame,” LaNeve added.

Boeckmann joined Galpin in 1953 as a salesman, and by 1957 at the age of 26, Boeckmann was general manager of the company. By 1968, he became president and majority stakeholder and the rest is history.

Today, Boeckmann is widely recognized as the most honored and successful automobile dealer in America. He has achieved a record of success for a single franchise, single location dealer that is unparalleled in the automotive retail industry and he constantly sets new industry standards for excellence.

During Used Car Week 2013 in San Diego, Boeckmann and Galpin Ford claimed the honor as the CPO Dealer of the Year; at the time just the third recipient of the accolade.

“My father is the most honest man I know, the hardest working person I know and sincerely cares about every customer and employee!” said Beau Boeckmann, president and chief operating officer of Galpin Motors. “Without his dedication to our customers and employees, Galpin would not be where it is today. I’m thankful to Ford for their support and recognition, and I couldn’t think of a better first-time recipient than my dad.”

Galpin, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, has always been a pioneer in the dealership industry, which is due in large part to Boeckmann’s leadership and forward-thinking.

In the 1960s, Galpin began leasing vehicles to individuals before dealerships were even leasing to companies. In 1966, Galpin opened America’s first in-dealership restaurant, The Horseless Carriage, which is still a success today. The dealership also coined the term “Galpinizing” for its world-renowned custom vehicles.

Today, Galpin operates 12 franchises in addition to its customization shop, Galpin Auto Sports.

COMMENTARY: This is 40 (Under 40)

CARY, N.C. - 

I’m a fan of an underrated comedy, and one that I’ll stop and watch almost any time it’s on cable is “This is 40.”

Part of why the movie works is because its two co-stars, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, are seemingly “ordinary” folks.

Each of them seem like the next-door type, both in this movie and in others.

But the approachable, affable characters these two always seem to play overshadows what’s really going on: Mann and Rudd are hilarious and incredibly talented comedic actors with depth and range.

The fact that they often play the average Joe/Jane, “ordinary” character makes us forget the fact that they’re, in fact, extraordinary.

The same goes for the corporate world.

You know the folks you say hello to every day in the office hallway, see regularly at conferences or correspond with over email?

While the interaction itself and some of the day-to-day grind of work may seem “ordinary,” what many of them (and YOU!) are doing is, in fact, extraordinary.

And unlike Mann’s and Rudd’s characters in “This is 40,” many of these folks are actually 39 or younger.

Which brings us to an upcoming edition of Auto Remarketing: our third annual “Remarketing & Used-Car Industry’s 40 Under 40.”

This is a chance for us to spotlight the many young professionals under the age of 40 who are taking leadership roles in the auto industry and impacting the remarketing and used-car business.

In a special section of the Sept. 1 issue of AR, we will be bringing you their stories and the paths to success they forged at such young ages.

This issue will showcase the current- and next-generation leaders of the business who are making big differences in the industry and at their companies.

So take a minute and brainstorm: who are the extraordinary young people you see in the office, at conferences and working their craft in the used-car business?

Once you’ve done that, go to the website below and nominate them for this honor:

The deadline to submit nominations is July 28.

So, don’t delay too long.

And as a side note, I know that in an industry full of them, this may seem like just another award.

But consider some of the reaction we received when we notified the honorees in our inaugural edition two years ago.

That day, I pressed “send” on the email to our recipients.

It wasn’t even five minutes later that I got the first response back. Then another. And another, and another. It went on like that for a while.

As a magazine editor, this was awesome; folks in my line of work love quick responses. But that wasn’t the best part.

See, it wasn’t that people responded, it was how they responded to earning 40 Under 40 recognition.

Just a few examples:

  • “Wow! Thank you!”
  • “This is quite an honor, and I’ll be honest, I’m shocked.”
  • “ … wow this is amazing, thank you!”
  • “Thank you for such great news!

It was touching to know that this award is meaningful and impactful to some of the very people who are making a significant impact in the industry.

Their reactions made an ordinary task extraordinarily humbling.

Cox presents Rising Star Award to 1st woman


In partnership with the National Association of Minority Automotive Dealers, Cox Automotive awarded its Rising Star Award to a Kentucky general manager, in honor of her leadership and commitment to both the automotive industry and her community.

Chosen for the award is Wadette Bradford of Martin Kia, in recognition of her work expanding the brand recognition and profit margins of both new and well-established dealerships.

Cox Automotive senior vice president of talent, diversity and culture Nicole Ashe presented Bradford with her award at the NAMAD annual meeting awards dinner in Miami on Thursday.

In her role as general manager, Bradford has increased inventory turns, developed innovative digital marketing campaigns and increased service gross profit, according to Cox Automotive.

“On behalf of Cox Automotive and in partnership with NAMAD, I am honored to recognize Wadette for her phenomenal achievements in automotive,” Ashe said in a news release. “Wadette is aspiring to be a franchise dealership owner-operator, and with her enthusiasm and passion for the automotive industry, I am confident that she will achieve that goal.”

Prior to Martin Kia, one of Bradford’s significant career achievements was building an enterprising partnership with business leaders around Lexus of Huntsville, an Alabama dealership where she began her career.

Under the leadership of her first mentor, Ellenae Fairhurst, Bradford established a client relationship to secure a multimillion-dollar contract which resulted in record pre-owned gross profit and unit sales, according to Cox.

“I am honored to be the first woman to receive this prestigious award,” said Bradford. “My role model, Mrs. Ellenae Fairhurst, a Lexus dealer in Alabama, gave me the foundation for my success with my first management job, for which I will be eternally grateful. Ms. Amber Martin’s keen business acumen to recognize talent afforded me the opportunity to sharpen my skills as general manager with the Martin Management Group. As we continue to surge forward growing the business, claiming new market share, increasing our support of the community and our profitability, my hope is to inspire other women to join the automotive industry.”

Bradford was chosen for the Rising Star Award based on nomination criteria such as being an NAMAD member under the age of 40 showing proven leadership qualities in the automotive industry.

She is a member of the Kentucky Auto Dealers Association, the American International Automobile Dealers Association Rising Dealers Network and NAMAD NextGen. In Frankfort, Ky., she participates in the Kentucky Auto Dealers Association’s Lobby Day which aims to educate legislature about issues that affect consumers, dealers and their employees.

Bradford also lobbies in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill with the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

Additionally, in her community, Bradford is a member of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals and United Way.

In 2010, Bradford graduated from the National Automobile Dealers Association Academy at the top of her class.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M University and a master’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

In Bradford’s honor, Cox Automotive is donating $5,000 to one of its national diversity partners chosen by her.

She chose the National Urban League, a non-profit organization with a mission of empowering African-Americans through economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

Car Keys Express founder wins regional EY Entrepreneur Award


Ernst & Young recently announced that Car Keys Express founder and owner Mark Lanwehr is a recipient of its Ohio Valley region Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Award in the manufacturing category.

Lanwehr was presented his award in Cincinnati, Ohio, during a special gala event at the Hyatt Regency on June 15.

“I’m truly honored,” Lanwehr said in a news release. “It’s a testament to how far we’ve come since starting from scratch in my one-bedroom apartment. But it wouldn't have been possible without an extremely talented team behind me—I never forget that.”

Lanwehr and 11 other Ohio Valley region award winners are now eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 national program award.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, along with award winners in several national categories, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala on November 18 in Palm Springs, Calif.

For a list of all the Ohio Valley region award winners, click here.