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Tech-savvy buyers driving new breed of young managers

Tech-savvy buyers driving new breed of young managers

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 14 2014
Whether shooting video, changing sales and marketing strategies or finding new ways to use social media, young managers such as this year's other 40 under 40 honorees are leading cultural change in dealerships driven, they say, by tech-savvy consumers who want a fast, transparent buying experience. ... » story 
View a replay of AutoNews Live: 40 Under 40, a Google+ Hangout featuring this year's rising stars

40 Under 40 Video

Graciano 40 under 40 video
Jason Graciano rethinks online sales team

Jason Graciano speaks about Paragon Direct, his new approach to online sales leads.
» Watch the video

Jenkins 40 under 40 video
Casey Jenkins empowers women through informational site

Casey Jenkins tells the origin story of womenatthewheel.net
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Pickett 40 under 40 video
Larry Pickett Sr. brings broadcast skills to car sales

Larry Pickett Sr. talks about how personalized video is the future of salesmanship.
» Watch the video

Ramsey 40 under 40 video
Erin Ramsey improves dealer logistics with technology

Erin Ramsey tells of how she turned around a troubled business development center.
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Adil Elomri
AGE: 36
POSITION: General manager, AutoNation Nissan Arapahoe, Centennial, Colo.
ACHIEVEMENT: Boosted new-car sales 61% in his first year while emphasizing employee job satisfaction
Alex Perdikis
AGE: 39
POSITION: Managing partner, Koons of Silver Spring, Md.
ACHIEVEMENT: Turned the struggling Ford-Mazda dealership into the second-highest volume dealership in Jim Koons Automotive's 16-store network
Alykhan Jiwani
AGE: 35
POSITION: General manager, BMW Langley/Mini Langley, Langley, British Columbia
ACHIEVEMENT: Turned a profit at an Acura store that had lost money for 8 straight years, then took charge of building up an auto mall in suburban Vancouver
Bobbie Herron
AGE: 32
POSITION: Digital sales and marketing director, Garber Automotive Group, Saginaw, Mich.
ACHIEVEMENT: Eliminated third-party lead-buying at Garber's 4 Michigan stores and saved $100,000 while quadrupling leads from the group's Web sites
Brian Feldman
AGE: 34
POSITION: Senior director of eCommerce, AutoNation Inc.
ACHIEVEMENT: Supercharged e-commerce sales at Toyota store before overseeing double-digit annual sales increases at AutoNation Direct
Casey Jenkins
AGE: 33
POSITION: Internet manager, Jenkins & Wynne (Ford-Lincoln-Honda), Clarksville, Tenn.
ACHIEVEMENT: Created the dealership's Internet department, which has helped boost sales about 18% each month since its start in 2004
Chad NeSmith
AGE: 37
POSITION: Dealer, NeSmith Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Jesup, Ga.
ACHIEVEMENT: Implemented 1-price selling and more than doubled monthly vehicle sales at 2 family-owned dealerships
Chase Smith
AGE: 37
POSITION: Co-owner, Russell & Smith Auto Group, Houston
ACHIEVEMENT: Invested in dealership group in 2012 and led it to immediate sales gains
Chris Dixon
AGE: 30
POSITION: Fixed operations director, Volvo of Savannah (Ga.), Savannah Mitsubishi and Premier Collision in Duluth, Ga., and Carolina Volvo in Bluffton, S.C.
ACHIEVEMENT: Boosted fixed-ops profits while driving a sharp improvement in customer-satisfaction scores
Chris Teague
AGE: 32
POSITION: Dealer principal, Chevrolet of Montebello, Montebello, Calif.
ACHIEVEMENT: Increased combined new- and used-vehicle sales fivefold in the 4 years since buying his dealership at age 28
Christopher Weiss
AGE: 30
POSITION: President, Crest Auto World, North Conway, N.H.
ACHIEVEMENT: Overhauled the store's digital operation, which led to a 22% sales volume increase in 2013
Daniel King
AGE: 29
POSITION: General manager, Mercedes-Benz of Rochester, Minn.
ACHIEVEMENT: Store became market's luxury-segment leader in first 9 months of operation after moving from Wisconsin
Erin Ramsey
AGE: 32
POSITION: Business development center manager, DCH Auto Group, Temecula, Calif.
ACHIEVEMENT: Setting up a business development center to handle calls and appointments for 5 dealerships
J.R. Buchbinder
AGE: 35
POSITION: General manager, New Country Lexus of Westport (Conn.)
ACHIEVEMENT: Nearly doubled Lexus dealership sales in 1 year; grew Honda dealership to top 20 in sales
James Ricci
AGE: 27
POSITION: General manager, Roy Foss Motors, Thornhill, Ontario
ACHIEVEMENT: Assembled team that turned around the dealership's finances in the first year
Jarred Black
AGE: 28
POSITION: General manager, Larry H. Miller Volkswagen, Lakewood, Colo.
ACHIEVEMENT: Led the store to new records for new- and used-vehicle sales while earning the store's second-best net profit on record
Jason Graciano
AGE: 30
POSITION: General sales manager, Paragon Honda, New York
ACHIEVEMENT: Created a sales team to handle online leads; it has cut customer transaction time in half, boosted car sales and attracted younger employees
Jason Puga
AGE: 35
POSITION: General manager, Land Rover San Diego
ACHIEVEMENT: Turned around an ailing store and focused on service for high-end customers
Jeff Proctor
AGE: 35
POSITION: Managing partner, Metro Honda and Metro Acura, Montclair, Calif.
ACHIEVEMENT: Implemented cost-cutting and morale-building strategies to pump up profits
Jeronimo Esteve IV
AGE: 33
POSITION: General manager, Headquarter Honda, Clermont, Fla., and Headquarter Hyundai, Sanford, Fla.
ACHIEVEMENT: Expanded the family business into suburban Orlando -- and into green operations
Josh Miller
AGE: 38
POSITION: General manager, Germain Nissan, Columbus, Ohio
ACHIEVEMENT: Turned around 8 years of losses at formerly "broken" dealership, achieving profitability in 2013
Justin Wainwright
AGE: 33
POSITION: Dealer principal, Precision Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, Butler, N.J.
ACHIEVEMENT: Restored Chrysler dealership from near closure
Kellie Lewison
AGE: 35
POSITION: Assistant controller, Selma Auto Mall, Selma, Calif.
ACHIEVEMENT: Streamlined sales and F&I processes, which helped to raise the gross margin per transaction from about $2,500 per vehicle to $3,000
Kelly Alston
AGE: 37
POSITION: General manager, Stateline Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, Fort Mill, S.C.
ACHIEVEMENT: Guided dealership through recession without layoffs
Larry Pickett Sr.
AGE: 35
POSITION: Sales manager, Fred Anderson Toyota, Raleigh, N.C.
ACHIEVEMENT: Has been a Mr. Fix-It, using analytics to improve store operations
Lee Gonzalez
AGE: 34
POSITION: Vice president, Gloucester Toyota, Gloucester, Va.
ACHIEVEMENT: Doubled the store's used-vehicle sales volume and improved the number of leads and contacts made by its Internet department
Mary Curry
AGE: 34
POSITION: General manager, Rice Toyota, Greensboro, N.C.
ACHIEVEMENT: Transformed the dealership's Internet marketing and social media strategies, improved vehicle and fixed-ops sales
Matthew Gettys
AGE: 32
POSITION: General manager, Hendrick Chevrolet, Hoover, Ala.
ACHIEVEMENT: Named general manager of a newly purchased Chevrolet store in April after turning around a money-losing store in another market for Hendrick Automotive Group
Michael Foster
AGE: 30
POSITION: Sales manager/assistant director, Ricart Automotive Group's Ricart Used Car Factory, Columbus, Ohio
ACHIEVEMENT: In less than a year, doubled the store's monthly used-vehicle sales and gross profit
Michael Rezi
AGE: 31
POSITION: Managing partner, Nissan of Cookeville, Cookeville, Tenn.
ACHIEVEMENT: Turned a store from loss to profit in 1 year, boosting vehicle sales from 67 a month to more than 200
Miran Maric
AGE: 25
POSITION: Vice president of digital strategy, Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Salt Lake City
ACHIEVEMENT: Established digital marketing field managers at Chrysler's regional business centers, then instituted a similar program at Larry H. Miller Dealerships
Paul Lynch
AGE: 34
POSITION: General sales manager, DePaula Chevrolet, Albany, N.Y.
ACHIEVEMENT: More than doubled the dealership's monthly used-vehicle sales to 130, has no used units more than 60 days old
Sam Raabe
AGE: 33
POSITION: General Sales Manager, Brandon Honda, Tampa, Fla.
ACHIEVEMENT: Grew Honda sales and profits sharply in hotly contested Tampa market
Scott Kunes
AGE: 31
POSITION: General manager, Kunes Country of Elkhorn, Elkhorn, Wis.
ACHIEVEMENT: Helped double sales at 2 newly acquired stores, using lessons learned as a chef
Scott Stephens
AGE: 39
POSITION: Service and parts director, Mercedes-Benz of Gainesville, Fla.
ACHIEVEMENT: From the service department, boosted customer satisfaction, raised employee morale and installed a sense of teamwork
Stephanie Cooper
AGE: 38
POSITION: Finance manager, Timbrook Chevrolet, Keyser, W.Va.
ACHIEVEMENT: Maintaining finance and insurance revenue of more than $1,200 per vehicle while sales volume tripled
Tania Eubanks
AGE: 38
POSITION: General manager, AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway, Houston
ACHIEVEMENT: First-generation immigrant delivered 49% profit growth in 2013
Thomas Roberson Jr.
AGE: 35
POSITION: Service manager, Dreyer & Reinbold Mini, Indianapolis
ACHIEVEMENT: Took over a below-average service department in 2011 and turned it into the brand’s top performer while increasing gross revenue 25%
Todd Hoffman
AGE: 27
POSITION: Vice president, Hoffman Ford, Harrisburg, Pa.
ACHIEVEMENT: Used technology upgrades to reinvigorate the service and parts operations
William Law
AGE: 24
POSITION: Finance director, Duval Mazda, Jacksonville, Fla.
ACHIEVEMENT: Excelled in a variety of roles, especially F&I, and increased average F&I revenue per vehicle retailed to twice the average Mazda store's level
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