Oliver Young, 33
Chief sales officer, Young Automotive Group
Growing up in the family business, Oliver Young touched every aspect of Young Automotive Group. Today, he is charged with preparing the nearly century-old company for the future.
Young’s great-grandfather started the business in 1925. Young is part of the fourth generation of the group. His father, Spencer Young Sr., is owner.
When Young became chief sales officer in 2014, he developed training programs and implemented new sales processes. Sales increased 43 percent, and revenue rose 29 percent, which poised the company to acquire six franchises. Young Automotive boosted sales to $1 billion in 2018 after implementing Young’s strategies.
Young also helped restructure the company’s fleet business, making Young Automotive one of the largest fleet dealers in the western U.S.
In high school, Young worked in the service department, and in college, he worked in a variety of office functions, such as titling, inventory forecasting and sales tax auditing.
“There’s so much opportunity to see every aspect of the business growing up in it,” he said. “I knew I really needed to be in the store to get the experience, and school just added to it.”
He said the experience made him capable of taking care of customers through “the entire process,” not just the sale.
But Young wanted to make sure going into his family’s business was the right decision, rather than simply “falling into it.” He applied to various companies and received multiple offers.
“I wanted to make sure this was my decision,” he said. “There are a lot of kids who fall into the family dealership, and if I wanted to, I could absolutely go and find a job anywhere else.”
On his way to sales management, Young founded Oz Marketing in 2009 and ran it for five years. Oz Marketing continues to lead the dealership group’s advertising strategy.
Young said his marketing career gave him a special understanding of how marketing and sales interact.
“For some odd reason, sales and marketing are seen as separate entities when they’re the same thing,” he said. “We need to understand and know our marketing so we can understand how to work with customers according to the messaging we’re putting out there.”
— Sarah Kominek