PHOENIX, Ariz. — DriveTime announced that it has filled two management-level positions. Tonsa Price-Edwards has joined the company as director of retail operations, and Deborah Powell will serve as director of human resources.

"Our director of retail operations and director of human resources roles are critical to our success, both from a financial and cultural standpoint," pointed out Jon Ehlinger, DriveTime's spokesperson.

"Tonsa and Deborah are experienced, competent professionals who understand the importance of the tangibles and intangibles in our business, and we look forward to great things from each of them," he added.

In her role, Price-Edwards will oversee loan processing, customer service, after-sale warranties, title operations and dealer operations, according to executives.

Prior to joining the company, she served as vice president of customer relations for Pulte Homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., and also worked with the Dial Corp. for more than 10 years as director of customer service and director of human resources.

As for Powell, executives said she moved to Arizona from Delaware. While in Delaware she spent seven years serving as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for WSFA, a billion-dollar bank serving Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Over the course of her nearly 30-year career, Powell worked in various human resources roles for a diverse group of organizations, including the City of Detroit, CIGNA, The Limited and the Huffy Corp.

Moreover, officials highlighted that in 2005, she was certified as an executive coach from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

DriveTime Enters New Market

In other recent news, DriveTime announced that its first store in the Denver market opened in mid-May.

The Aurora dealership, located at 625 S. Havana St., represents the first of six planned dealerships and an inspection center in the new market, according to executives.

DriveTime said it expects to hire 130 people to service the new region, with an anticipated payroll of $6.3 million. In all, DriveTime said it plans to spend $4 million on site improvements and building costs. Annual sales are expected to top $60 million, officials pointed out.

The company, which recently celebrated the opening of its 100th dealership, has stores in nine other states.

"The difference between DriveTime and other used-car dealerships is that we focus specifically on drivers with credit problems or no credit," explained Jon Ehlinger, spokesman for the company.

"We are experts in this market, and that benefits our customers because they know we are on their side — working to help them get on track with a car and their credit," he added.

The company has received "best places to work" honors in several markets and said it plans to bring that commitment to corporate citizenship to Denver as well.

Another initiative will also be brought to the new market. Through the company's award-winning community outreach initiative, SchoolTime, DriveTime employees volunteer their time and resources to at least one school in their region.

The company works with 20 schools throughout the country and plans to begin its search for a school in the Denver area in the coming months.