Tony Garcia, 44
Executive director of technology, Dominion DMS
Big break: The opportunity to work for Dominion’s automotive dealership management system business
Tony Garcia has had a passion for technology since he grew up coding for fun in his native Cuba.
He began working in software development when he moved to the U.S. in 1999, first in e-commerce and then in real estate. Garcia found his way to the automotive industry nearly two years ago, in October 2019, when a job opportunity came his way at Dominion DMS, which shared a parent organization with the business he worked for, Homes.com.
“I like the ability to create things, to make things work,” Garcia said. “I feel a great deal of satisfaction when I’ve built something that is useful and works and the people that are using it love it. So that’s kind of what drives me.”
Garcia has had plenty of opportunities to create at Dominion as the dealership management system provider prepared for the launch of Vue, a new cloud-based platform, timed with this year’s virtual NADA Show in February. One of his first tasks was to reorganize and expand the DMS unit’s development team to help it operate faster and more efficiently as it ushered in the new product. What started as a roughly 20-person team when he arrived has grown to about 90 employees, he said.
One of Garcia’s steps was to divide software developers, who previously had worked on multiple applications within the DMS platform, into specialized groups to focus just on sales or service applications, for instance. That prevents them from overextending themselves in areas in which they’re less familiar, he said. And he created more visibility into the product development road map so that developers can better forecast when a software tool might be completed, which helps the sales team pitch it to dealerships.
Garcia said he also has focused on the user interface and experience with the Vue platform to make it easier to install and train employees at a dealership. He worked with his team to set up a process to automate the deployment of code that can fix glitches within hours, without the potential for human error.
Vue launched during the pandemic, which also accelerated the industry’s digital transition, he said, so software tools have to become more mobile to adapt.
New generations of dealership employees “come from a different world,” Garcia said. “They’re used to working with phones and tablets, so we want our software to work anywhere. We have already a software that is Web-based, so we are making that software work from any phone, any tablet, any computer, so they can do some of the work from home. They can do some of the work from the service lanes.”
— Lindsay VanHulle