Mike Weibel, 30
Regional director, western region, IndiGO Auto Group
Mike Weibel grew up loving the car business, often hanging out as a kid in the showroom at the dealership where his dad worked. But his first job in a dealership finance position was a grind. He reported to work every morning by 8 and didn’t leave until 11 p.m. or midnight.
“I wouldn’t see my wife and daughter when I left, and I wouldn’t see them when I came home,” Weibel said. “It was brutal.”
One day in 2012, an old friend who had worked for Weibel’s dad at a dealership more than a decade earlier called and invited him to dinner that evening. Because of his work schedule, there was no chance. But a gut feeling said he shouldn’t miss the opportunity to reconnect with his friend Kelly Wolf.
“I told my finance director, ‘Sorry, it’s an emergency,’ and he’s saying ‘No, no, you can’t leave,’ but I went to dinner,” Weibel said. “So we meet, and have an instant connection, and suddenly, he’s saying, ‘Have some faith in us and come on board.’”
Wolf and Todd Blue of the indiGO Auto Group offered Weibel, then 23, a position running the online sales department at a Porsche dealership in Houston. He accepted the job and has not looked back.
Weibel, a graduate of Texas State University and then the NADA Academy, has excelled in a series of positions within the company. One of the dozen dealerships he oversees has nearly quadrupled its new-vehicle sales over a four-year stretch.
In 2018, the Land Rover Rancho Mirage dealership he oversees in California was named the fastest-growing dealership in the country during Jaguar Land Rover’s world dealer meetings.
If an unexpected job offer at dinner was his first fortuitous moment, another came eight months into his job at the Porsche dealership, when Blue and Wolf asked him one night to hop on a plane to Southern California the next day. They wouldn’t tell him why.
“They just said, ‘We’ll tell you when you get here,’” Weibel said. “I had a 1-year-old daughter, just bought my first house. And I’m flying to a place I’ve never been in my life. I was with them all day at a bunch of dealerships, and they still wouldn’t tell me anything. That night at dinner, they told me they wanted me to be general manager of an Audi dealership, and my jaw hit the floor.”
California has become a second home for Weibel and his growing family, which now includes a son born in 2015. Living in Palm Springs, he’s two hours from the beach and two hours from snowboarding at the Big Bear Lake region. On weekends, he plays golf and is involved in his church.
For a guy who grew up hanging out on the showroom floor of the dealership where his dad worked and wanting to do nothing other than work in the same business, he’s grateful for the opportunities.
“I never imagined this,” he said. “Really, I just wanted to be a general manager one day, and now I’m western regional director. I never expected it to come this quickly. But it has, and it’s been great.”
— Pete Bigelow