Sevan Stryker, 39
General manager, Bob Penkhus Motor Co.
Sevan Stryker knows that regardless of what may be going on in the world, there's still an absolute need for dealerships. But he knows the culture is changing.
The COVID-19 pandemic did an excellent job of demonstrating that to him.
"Adapting to the new environment, to me, was a fun challenge," said Stryker, a general manager approaching his 19th year in the automotive industry. "It was finding various ways to still make sure our clients were taken care of."
It meant sanitizing every vehicle serviced during the viral outbreak. It meant ramping up a valet program in which dealership staff picked up a customer's vehicle for service so customers didn't have to worry about leaving home. It meant establishing a larger online presence to allow people to digitally buy vehicles.
Stryker says the new practices put in place to alleviate pandemic fears will carry over into the future because they're convenient.
"In today's world, people are extremely busy," he said. "That level of service was coming. I think COVID literally just expedited it and put it to the forefront."
Embracing the changing environment was a logical step to Stryker, who said he realized early in his career that investing time and effort into the car business translates to profit.
During the pandemic, the group for which he works — Bob Penkhus Motor Co. in Colorado Springs — saw a $1.2 million net profit bump year over year. Service proficiency also rose from 67 percent to 105 percent.
In May, the three-rooftop company posted its highest-ever monthly net profit.
"To me, that's a statement," Stryker said. "That just shows that although we're dealing with all these hurdles — COVID, the pandemic, and then right into the inventory and chip shortage — we're still breaking records."
— C.J. Moore