Andy Short, 35
General sales manager, AutoFair Honda
Before his career in auto sales, Andy Short led a dramatically different life as a paratrooper in the U.S. military. After 12 years of duty, including four overseas deployments of about a year each, Short found that he was tired of being away from his son.
“I got my GED and joined the military when I was 17,” he said. “I decided to try my luck in the civilian world.”
Short’s original plan was to become a chef, learn business management and eventually own a restaurant. But attending culinary school for just a few hours a day left Short restless. He thought working at an auto dealership might offer a fuller schedule.
He bought his first business suit for an interview at Kelly Infiniti in Danvers, Mass., where he was hired on the spot.
“I just got out of the military and I’d never sold a thing in my life,” he said.
In his third month at Kelly Infiniti, Short sold 27 cars and continued to sell 18 to 25 cars monthly. After six months, his superiors talked with him about going into management. And when Short started looking at other employment options, they promoted him to pre-owned sales manager and sent him to a management training program.
In two and a half years, Short was promoted to general sales manager.
He eventually moved to Florida for a job with AutoNation, where he was sent to struggling dealerships to implement his strategies to increase sales.
Short was quickly promoted to lead sales director, a position created specifically based on his skills. AutoNation gave him responsibility for multiple stores, each of which delivered increased sales, in some cases doubling, as Short passed through.
“I don’t do anything special,” he said about his sales strategies. “Go back to the basics. Pick a strategy and stick with it. Set the policies and procedures and follow them. When they don’t work, make minor adjustments.”
Short said team building happens when people come together to find solutions.
“The military taught me leadership skills that the civilian world can’t teach you,” Short said. “I’ve led so many people in my lifetime. In the military, I led anywhere from two guys to 130 people.”
It was there that he learned to read what motivates people.
“Sometimes in the auto business we think money always motivates — and it doesn’t,” he said. “The military taught me that when so many people from so many backgrounds come together and everybody works towards a united goal, it’s impossible not to be successful.”
— Sarah Kominek