Jerry Romano, who started working as a technician three decades ago for the late dealer Louis VeDova, has fulfilled a dream to own his mentor's Hawaiian dealerships — through an unusual ownership structure that includes executives from one of the country's major buy-sell firms.
Brady Schmidt, CEO of National Business Brokers Inc. in Irvine, Calif., along with Gary Mull, the firm's director, partnered with Romano and the dealerships' CFO, Wayne Davis, to form Windward Auto Group. The four on Aug. 25 bought Windward Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram and Windward Hyundai in Kaneohe, Hawaii, north of Honolulu, from VeDova's trust. The longtime dealer died of cancer in June 2020, according to his obituary.
"I worked for him since I was 18 years old," Romano said of VeDova. "As time went on, I eventually became general manager under his tutelage."
Schmidt said his firm had the listing for the two dealerships for at least a couple of years before VeDova's illness. After VeDova died, Romano, the stores' general manager since 2016, continued to operate the dealerships while they remained for sale.