Celebrate the Best of 2013

Join us in Chicago on October 17, 2013 when we celebrate the achievements of all the dealerships recognized in the annual list of Best Dealerships To Work For.

The afternoon program will include speakers from leading dealerships, plus experts in the field of employee and customer satisfaction. This year’s theme is: Building the Best: Win, Train and Retain Top Talent

The event will culminate in a Gala Awards Celebration where the rankings of the Best Dealerships To Work For will be revealed.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact:
Phone: (313) 446-0420
E-mail: lirwin@autonews.com

Register Now »

Building the Best: Win, Train and Retain Top Talent

  • Noon
  • Strolling lunch
  • 1:00pm
  • Welcome
  • 1:15pm
  • OEM Keynote Speaker
    Steve Cannon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz USA
    How Mercedes created a culture of talent retention & employee satisfaction.
  • 1:45pm
  • Panel Session: NADA University Dealership Workforce Study
    A discussion concerning employee compensation, benefits, retention and turnover. An overall analysis with data from all regions of the U.S., based on 350,000 payroll records submitted by 2.500 dealerships.
    • Lisa Copeland, General Manager, Fiat of Austin
    • John Lyboldt, VP, Dealership Services, NADA
    • Dr. Timothy Nash, Vice President for Strategic and Corporate Alliances and the David E. Fry Endowed Professor in Free Market Economics, Northwood University
  • 3:00pm
  • Break
  • 3:15pm
  • The top 5 trends of the Best Dealerships To Work For
    • Peter Burke, President, Best Companies Group
  • 3:30pm
  • Panel Session: Best Practices in Employee Retention
    How do you retain employees in an ultra-competitive world? A lesson in retention from the best dealers in the country.
    • Adam Arens, Owner, Patriot Subaru
    • Matt Ryan, General Manager, Niello BMW Elk Grove
    • Larry Zinn, General Manager, Warren Henry Group
  • 4:30pm
  • Dealer closing keynote
    • Mike Sullivan, Owner, President/Owner, LAcarGUY
    Transitioning your retail operation to train, retain and win.
  • 5:00pm
  • Conclusion of the Building the Best Program
  • 5:00pm
  • Networking reception begins
  • 6:30pm
  • Dinner
  • 7:45pm
  • Gala Awards Presentation
  • 9:00pm
  • Afterglow celebration
  • 10:00pm
  • End
  • Adam Arens,
    Owner, Patriot Subaru

    Adam Arens is the owner of Patriot Subaru in Saco, Maine. Patriot Subaru was built as an open point in 2003 with a planning volume of 190 new cars. In 9 years and 10 months of business, Patriot Subaru has been profitable in every month.

    Read more

    Patriot Subaru has received various awards including Subaru’s Chairman Award (Signifying top 25 Sales Volume in the USA), Subaru’s President Award (Signifying top performance in New England), the EPA’s Energy Star Small Business Award, Recognition by Efficiency Maine for Reduction in Energy Use, Eco-Maine's Business of the Year, #5 in 2012 Best Dealership to Work For, and currently sells over 2000 vehicles per year.

    Prior to opening Patriot Subaru, Mr. Arens worked for 17 years with JM Family Enterprises. He held numerous management and executive positions with JM Family Enterprises and its subsidiaries JM&A Group, Southeast Toyota and World Omni. He is a member of the board many charitable organizations.

  • Peter Burke,
    President & Co-Founder, Best Companies Group

    Peter Burke started Best Companies Group in January of 2004. Since its inception, Best Companies Group has established and now manages 40 “Best Places to Work” programs on regional, state-wide, national and international stages.

    Read more

    Mr. Burke creates and executes the strategic plan for the company which includes finding and creating new programs, establishing and developing partner relations and overseeing the company’s research and list determination operations.

    Mr. Burke speaks and presents across the country and internationally using data collected from the over 3,000 organizations surveyed every year. Prior to starting Best Companies Group, he spent 7 years as the associate publisher for the Central Penn Business Journal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In that role, he helped create the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania program which lead to the creation of Best Companies Group.

    Peter Burke received a degree in business & economics from Boston College.

  • Stephen Cannon,
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Mercedes-Benz USA

    Stephen Cannon became president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) in December 2011. In this role, Mr. Cannon will have overall responsibility for the Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Sprinter and smart brands in the United States. He will lead MBUSA’s more than 1,700 employees and 359 dealers throughout the U.S.

    Read more

    Mr. Cannon’s most recent post was vice president of marketing for MBUSA with overall responsibility for marketing communications, market research and product management of the Mercedes-Benz and Maybach brands in the U.S.

    Mr. Cannon began his automotive career in 1991 as executive assistant to the president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz of North America (predecessor to MBUSA). From there, Mr. Cannon moved to Stuttgart and joined a small team tasked with the development, manufacturing and launch of the M-Class, the first Mercedes-Benz SUV ever made in, and for this market.

    In the interim, before returning to Mercedes-Benz here in the U.S., Mr. Cannon served as director of marketing for debis Financial Services (later Daimler Financial Services) and then held key positions in retail and e-business consultancies. He also served as principal for The Richards Group, one of the largest independent full-service advertising agencies in the U.S. before joining MBUSA in his current position.

    Mr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated with honors. He is a United States Army Airborne Ranger and served as 1st Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain.

  • Lisa Copeland,
    General Manager, FIAT of Austin

    Lisa Copeland is one of the most respected faces in automotive sales. With over 20 years of success within a male-dominated industry, Ms. Copeland is a dedicated pioneer for women on the automotive sales floor.

    Read more

    As a member of the National Chrysler Dealer Council, Lisa Copeland represents the North American pulse of the FIAT brand. In 2012, she was named one of the Five Most Powerful Women in Austin by the Austin Business Journal when she raised the bar on North American FIAT sales.

    As the managing partner of FIAT of Austin, Ms. Copeland was recently honored by Chrysler Group CEO, Sergio Marchionne for record-breaking FIAT 500 sales. Under her management, FIAT of Austin became the first FIAT studio in North America to sell 100 Fiat 500’s in a single month.

    Ms. Copeland’s extensive knowledge of hiring, training and retaining diverse candidates has positioned her as an expert in sales and management. She has been featured in prominent publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Marie Claire and Automotive News.

    Ms. Copeland is also the co-founder of Women Impacting the Nation and The Project 19 Foundation, two non-profit organizations that are dedicated to forwarding leadership roles for women. As the creator of BuyingCarsHerWay.com, Ms. Copeland offers inside information to the female consumer in an effort to empower women as consumers.

  • Dr. Timothy Nash,
    Vice President for Strategic and Corporate Alliances
    David E. Fry Endowed Professor in Free Market Economics
    , Northwood University

    Timothy Nash joined Northwood in 1980 and received a B.B.A. from the university, an M.A. in economics from Central Michigan University, and his doctorate from Wayne State University.

    Read more

    Dr. Nash leads specialty programs (including automotive marketing), and continuing and executive education programming for Northwood University system-wide. He is a professor of economics and business for the undergraduate program and is a professor of economics and public policy at the DeVos Graduate School. Dr. Nash also holds the David E. Fry Endowed Chair in Free Market Economics at Northwood University. His travels and research have taken him to over 30 countries from China and Mexico to Poland and Switzerland where he also participated in academic colloquiums. Dr. Nash is an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, an adjunct scholar with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Washington, D.C., and is the former State Director of Economic Education for the clergy for the State of Michigan. Dr. Nash has co-authored four books including When We Are Free and In Defense of Capitalism.

    Dr. Nash is responsible for researching and publishing the Northwood University Monthly Economic Outlook, AAIA’s monthly industry indicator’s report and its monthly Business Confidence Index which is done in conjunction with Northwood University. Dr. Nash has addressed national and international forums related to the economy and automobile industry in China, Europe and North America.

  • John R. Lyboldt,
    Vice President Dealership Operations, National Automobile Dealers Association

    John Lyboldt joined NADA in 2007 as vice president dealership operations to oversee the NADA Academy, 20 Group, and NADA University programs, NADA Membership, and as NADA liaison to the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and Automotive Trade Association Executives.

    Read more

    He led the division through a restructure during turbulent times while building a complex, diverse, and industry best-of-class organization that reaches across multiple association, OEM, and allied stakeholders. His focus is on what’s in the best interest of the member and that philosophy has become the keystone of the division’s culture.

    Mr. Lyboldt drew upon skills and experiences acquired during his seventeen years as president of the Rochester Automobile Dealers Association and in leadership roles in various committees throughout NADA and Automotive Trade Association Executives including having served as the organization’s chairman in 2005. A stint in the franchised retail automobile business, PGA National, Boy Scouts of America, Greater Rochester Enterprises, Better Business Bureau of New York State, Monroe Community College Advisory Board, Alfred University commencement speaker, and many more have given Mr. Lyboldt a diverse perspective.

    John Lyboldt is a graduate of LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology.

  • Matt Ryan,
    General Manager, Niello BMW Elk Grove

    Matt Ryan is currently the general manager of Niello BMW/MINI in Sacramento. In January of 2014, he will transition to the brand new 33,000 square foot home of Niello MINI in Sacramento as general manager.

    Read more

    Mr. Ryan’s career began in 1994 as an intern for former California State Governor, Pete Wilson. Later, he moved to San Francisco where he became vice president of a privately owned distribution company. In his pursuit to be closer to home, Mr. Ryan relocated to Sacramento in 2006 and went to work for The Niello Company. He started at Niello Audi and shortly thereafter, was called to Niello BMW to work in the service department. He was promoted to assistant service manager and would go on to become the service manager of the new Niello BMW store in Elk Grove. After a year in Elk Grove and time at the Sacramento store working in finance, Mr. Ryan was promoted to general manager of Niello BMW in Elk Grove, a position he enjoyed for 3 years. During his tenure, Niello BMW Elk Grove received the “Best in Business” award from the City of Elk Grove.

    Matt Ryan graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, earning a BA in political science and a minor in classical civilizations.

  • Mike Sullivan,
    President/Owner, LAcarGUY

    Mike Sullivan is president and owner of the LAcarGUY family of dealerships, a group of 10 award-winning dealerships and a state-of-the art body shop. Founded in 1964, LAcarGUY has been a leader in the Los Angeles auto industry and has earned a reputation for outstanding customer service, community involvement and environmental stewardship.

    Read more

    Mr. Sullivan began his automotive career in 1976 at his father’s Volkswagen dealership in Santa Monica, working his way up through the ranks to eventually lead the family business and expand it from one dealership to ten with 700 employees and annual sales of over $750 million.

    Community involvement and sustainability have always been important to Mr. Sullivan. Growing up an avid surfer, he was inspired early on to do what he could to change an “environmentally challenged” automotive industry. Employees are encouraged (and rewarded) to actively participate in community outreach, including LAcarGUY’s annual support of Heal the Bay’s Beach Cleanup (over 200 employees volunteered in 2013), Trash Free Lunch programs, and building vegetable gardens at local schools. Mr. Sullivan currently serves on the board of several high-profile charitable organizations and was recently given the Community Environmental Leadership Award from Global Green USA. In 2012, he opened Audi’s first LEED-Gold certified dealership. Twenty years of dedication to the green community has helped LAcarGUY become one of the top hybrid and diesel dealers in the country.

    LAcarGUY’s industry-leading employee retention reflects Mr. Sullivan’s emphasis on developing a family culture at each of his dealerships, producing a uniquely positive atmosphere that keeps employees and customers happy.

  • Larry Zinn,
    General Manager, Warren Henry Group

    Larry Zinn represents the 3rd generation of the Zinn family in the automobile business and came aboard full time with the Warren Henry Auto Group in 2008. He’s been around the business his whole life and at an early age began working at the dealership in various roles such as porter, car wash attendant, & apprentice technician. During college he worked as a porter for Kelly Infiniti in Danvers, MA and in the summer of 2007 worked as a salesperson at the Volvo store in Gainesville, FL.

    Read more

    While at WHAG Mr. Zinn has held varying assignments as a salesperson, internet manager, F&I manager, sales manager, general sales manager and now general manager. While at the Infiniti store Mr. Zinn increased the volume over 80% in 2 years through a down economy and decline for the brand nationally. He’s increased profitability significantly for the store and the store was voted one of the 100 best dealerships to work for by Automotive News in 2012 and 2013. He’s now overseeing Infiniti, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover North Dade and Fisker for WHAG.

    Larry Zinn attended Boston University from 2004 to 2006 and finished his college degree at Northwood University in 2008 where he earned his bachelors in business and automotive marketing. In 2011, he completed the Dealer Successor program at the NADA academy in McLean, VA.

  • Building the Best Program AND Awards Gala
  • $395
  • Gala Awards Program only
  • $295
  • Building the Best Program only
  • $225

Register Now »

Registrations/tickets may be transferred to another colleague at no additional charge. We do ask that you notify us so that we can amend appropriate records. If you have to cancel your registration, please advise Automotive News in writing. There is a $95 handling fee for cancellations received on or before Friday, October 4, 2013. We regret we cannot process any refunds for cancellations after that date.

Registered delegates who fail to attend the Building the Best Program and/or the Awards Gala will be liable for the full fee. If you have any questions or need further information, call (313) 446-0420 or email lirwin@autonews.com

Special Room Rates for Attendees:


  • Deluxe King
  • $380

Rates are per night and exclusive of the occupancy and sales tax of 15.4%. Rates are in effect through Tuesday, September 17, 2013. To make your hotel reservation, please call the hotel directly and ask for the reservations department. Mention the Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For program to receive the special rate.