Liza Borches, 38
CEO, Carter Myers Automotive
After graduating from college, Liza Borches moved far away from central Virginia to work for American Honda Motor Co.
But when she moved back home, she used what she had learned to help her family business through a time of rapid growth.
Since Borches took over a fledgling Volvo store in 2004, Carter Myers Automotive has grown from three stores to eight, with Borches managing the acquisition of Volkswagen and Honda stores and a rapid-fire series of renovation projects.
Last year alone, Borches oversaw renovations of three stores to meet the latest design standards set by Volkswagen, Kia and Chevrolet. She said her time at Honda helped her understand what manufacturers want from renovations.
At times, that means asking the factory: "'Is this something you really need me to do?''' Borches says. "If you're asking the right questions, I think it can really cement the partnership you have with a manufacturer."
After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1997, Borches joined a trainee program at Honda in California. She moved around the country and rose to become a senior district sales manager but chose to come home. Working in wholesale, she says, "you move around so much that you never get to put your roots into a community."
So she called her father, Carter Myers III, and told him she wanted to join the family business. He put her in charge of a tiny Volvo store in Charlottesville.
"Volvo's not a high-volume brand, especially in our small town, but it was the best way for me to get in and get my hands wet," Borches says. "In a small dealership, you can't simply delegate all of the difficult duties."
When she arrived, the store usually sold about six new vehicles and four used vehicles a month. Within three years, sales had tripled. The high-water mark came in August 2007, when the store sold 25 new vehicles and 20 used vehicles.
Last year she bought out her father's stake in the group and became a fourth-generation dealer principal.
-- Gabe Nelson