Amber Martin, 36
Director of business development and community partnerships, Martin Management Group
Amber Martin didn’t have to go looking for an automotive retailing job. It found her.
“I actually started working at the dealership as a small child,” said Martin, whose father, Cornelius Martin, opened an Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership in Bowling Green, Ky., in 1985. “I was always filing. I believe I even answered the phones before I was in high school.”
Martin’s father, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2006, told his children to find their own path. Martin took his advice to heart.
“I was fortunate that my father had told us that he wanted us to make sure that we really wanted to be in the business,” she said. “So, he preferred for us to actually go to work somewhere else and then come back.”
While at Miami University in Ohio, Martin took internships outside the auto business. She was pulled back into it for a year after graduation to support her family following her father’s death.
Martin’s next stop was Los Angeles, where she pursued TV hosting and had a clothing store.
But eventually, she decided that the National Automobile Dealers Association dealer training academy was the next step in her career path. Martin was West Coast manager of operations for the auto group before moving back east in 2014 and taking on new roles.
Internet sales grew 62 percent in Martin’s first month as head of the business development center, in December 2017, compared with the previous year. She also produced YouTube videos for the group’s corporate channel, which she sees as a way of engaging the public and bringing exposure to her company’s corporate brand.
“Based on the need at the time, that’s where I’m placed,” she said with a laugh of her role as a second-generation leader of the family business. The Martin group ranks No. 136 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 6,251 new vehicles in 2018.
Martin now oversees community partnerships by connecting the dealerships with local businesses and by serving as a relationship manager for the family endowments and scholarships. She’s also a nature and a fitness buff who enjoys brunching with friends.
— Laurence Iliff