Alabama dealer receives NIADA and Cox Automotive Community Service Award

Jennifer Gant and members of her A&D Motors team accept the NIADA and Cox Automotive Community Service Award, including a $10,000 donation to the Parkside Outreach Program, from Cox Automotive's Patrick Brennan, far left. (Photo courtesy of NIADA.)
ORLANDO, Fla. - 

As the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association revamps its Certified Master Dealer program, an Alabama operator was honored for doing more than just helping customers secure a vehicle.

A&D Motors Inc., whose philanthropy has made a difference throughout its small hometown of Arab, Ala., has been named the recipient of the 2018 NIADA and Cox Automotive Community Service Award, presented by Manheim.

Dealership owner Jennifer Gant accepted the award from Patrick Brennan, senior vice president of marketplace for Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions, during Wednesday night's National Leadership Awards Banquet at the 72nd annual NIADA Convention and Expo at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla.

“I knew the moment I started with A&D Motors 20 years ago that my job was not simply to sell someone a vehicle, but to make a positive impact in their life,” Gant said.

“The legacy of giving that began with my late husband, Donald Gant, lives on through the A&D employees, who tirelessly contribute their time and efforts into every community event,” she continued.

The award, which recognizes an independent dealership for outstanding contributions to its community and the innovative ways it collaborates with community partners to help further their missions, includes a $10,000 donation from Cox Automotive and the NIADA Foundation to the Parkside Outreach Program, the dealership’s charity of choice.

The program, developed by Gant, helps with emergency outreach for families affected by disasters as well as providing support for less fortunate children in the community. Gant said her vision is to grow the program into a county-wide mission.

“Making a difference in the lives of others has long been a big part of the Cox Automotive culture,” Brennan said. “Jennifer and her team at A&D Motors have continued to support the less fortunate in their community, and we applaud their efforts, their impact and their embodiment of the spirit of community service.”

Independently owned and operated since 1992, A&D Motors donates to multiple charities and organizations throughout the year.

The dealership has supported the purchase of Christmas gifts for local families, sponsored Big D Scholarships for multiple area schools and helped fund the local food bank.

In addition, Gant and her team raised $20,000 through a “Cruisin 4 Scotty” event created to support a family whose sole provider fell ill, and partnered with Baileyton United Methodist Church to sponsor Backpacks for Kids, which sends weekly snacks home with underprivileged children.

NIADA to relaunch Certified Master Dealer program

In other news developing from the conference, NIADA is re-launching the Certified Master Dealer program this summer.

NIADA’s Retail 20 Groups moderator and dealer consultant Justin Osburn, the course’s new instructor, announced the reboot this week during the Certified Master Dealer Discovery Forum, part of the 72nd annual NIADA Convention and Expo at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.

The session, attended by both CMDs and dealers interested in earning that designation, offered dealers a sneak peek at the updated curriculum.

Osburn’s first session of the new CMD will be held Aug. 15-17 in Tampa, Fla.

NIADA highlighted the CMD program has earned rave reviews from its alumni, who include some of the nation’s most successful independent dealers. It teaches dealers how to take their business to a higher level by providing strategies for sustainable success in a more efficient and profitable dealership.

“Never before have we experienced such rapid change in the car business, and the foreseeable future promises more change in technology, more change in the processes to facilitate technology and more change in selling and buying habits,” Osburn said.

“Independent dealers need advanced tactics and strategies more than ever — not only to remain competitive, but to sustain long-term profitability. The Certified Master Dealer program offers dealers and managers the tools to stay ahead of our changing business,” he continued.

During the past year, NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan and the association’s executive committee have been working to retool CMD for 2018. That initiative included surveys, dealer research and examination of the course’s content to ensure it delivers best-in-class education.

NIADA plans to offer the course four times each year at various locations across the country. Future dates and locations will be announced over the next few months.

Since it began in 2001, the Certified Master Dealer program has built a rich tradition offering dealers the highest level of automotive education, and the reboot aims to uphold that tradition with more relevant content and more concrete takeaways than ever before.

The new CMD curriculum is a more intense and practical course, addressing all aspects of the dealership from effective management practices and business planning to marketing to finances, offering new ideas for analyzing your business and increasing profitability.

For more information or to register for the August session and future classes, visit