I spent some time with Ramsay Gillman, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and it was great.
I've known quite a few NADA leaders over the years, and most of them were and are really great folks. There hasn't been a turkey in the bunch. But if you had to pick someone just right for today, it would be Ramsay Gillman.
This man was born to be a car dealer. Gillman flat out loves the business.
He feels that everything that he is and has is because he is lucky enough to be a car dealer - and he seems to want to be a car dealer until he's at least 90.
Well, maybe not. His youngest son, a student at Northwood University, plans to join his brother and sister in the business. This is a family business, and they all love it.
There is something very wonderful about a man who knows what he does, loves doing it, and is very good at it. Gillman makes no apologies for being a car dealer, and he considers it the greatest business in the world.
He doesn't really worry much about all the hullabaloo related to going public and the superstores that are springing up around the country, although Gillman, who is from Texas, might go public himself.
A couple of years from now, I think he'll be very glad he went public, but a little sad at the same time because there are pros and cons.
Still, there is something very refreshing about Ramsay Gillman. He doesn't beat around the bush. He tells you what's on his mind - and I'm amazed that he doesn't get into trouble. Maybe that's because his frank, honest approach is so disarming.
In an era in which car dealerships are big business, in which we all think about the next megadealer and price/earnings ratios, there is something very pleasant about understanding just why the retail business is so successful and why there are so many entrepreneurs in the car business. There aren't many businesses in which a bright young man or woman has the opportunity to build a multimillion-dollar business.
Ramsay Gillman works hard at his businesses. And he is very successful. He's a great choice to lead NADA, and he's doing a great job representing America's car dealers.
There is something wonderful about meeting someone who really loves what he does, and Ramsay Gillman loves being a car dealer.