LAS VEGAS – Florida buy-here, pay-here dealer Scott Lanier was named the 2016 National Quality Dealer during the recent 70th annual National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo here.
“I don’t stand here alone,” said Lanier, owner of Credit Cars in Orlando. “I couldn’t do this myself. I had the backing of so many people.”
As he accepted his award, Lanier thanked his wife Melissa and their son, Graham, who joined him on stage for the presentation.
“I’m so blessed to have the co-workers that I have,” said Lanier, of staff who were in attendance. “I couldn’t do it without them. They’re the best.”
Lanier’s father, Johnnie, started the business in 1963 and was also state quality dealer of the year in 1970. His death in 1981 left the store in his son’s hands, when Scott was just 24 years old. The dealership has grown to 30 employees, all with full benefits and 401 (K) plans.
According to the NIADA, Lanier was one of the first dealers in the nation to create a related finance company to support his business.
Lanier thanked consultants Chris Leedom and Ken Shilson for their support of twenty groups, which provide “priceless” education and competition, which keeps him driven in business. He singled out Chuck Bonanno, his group moderator, for his help, as well.
“I’ve made lifelong friendships and the numbers have made me a student of my business,” Lanier said.
Credit Cars carries about 90 cars on the lot, but has 150 to 160 total in inventory. The dealership sells about 75 units per month, with an average retail price of $13,500.
About 95 percent of the inventory comes from auctions.
Lanier praised the Florida IADA for the work it does, stating its leadership is “on the front lines for dealers” every day. He has been a member of the group for
“Lastly, I want to thank my dad,” Lanier said. The son of sharecroppers, Lanier’s dad was one of 11 children living in a two-bedroom home with no running water. He left school after 9th grade to work and eventually received two Purple Hearts and “a sackful of medals” from service in the Korean War.
“I’m so grateful for the risks that he took to provide for his family,” Lanier said. “Thank you all for this award. This is for my dad. Without him, this would not be possible.”
Lanier wasn’t the only big winner from the Florida IADA.
Lisette Mariner, executive director of the association, won the Association Executive Council’s (AEC) Executive of the Year award.
Mariner has two decades of experience in associations and non-profits, including American Association of Medical Society Executives; Companion Animal Rescue Endeavor; Public Relations Association and several other groups.
Mariner, born in Brooklyn and raised in Miami, has grown the association, boosted involvement in the association’s political action committee and improved the state convention, said Todd O’Connell, last year’s winner.
Mariner was described as having “one of the sharpest 501 (C) minds” and has helped facilitate education for state executives for the AEC during her five years as head of the state group.
In accepting her award, Mariner first acknowledged the victims of the Orlando nightclub attack that had just happed prior to the convention.
She thanked her family, along with NIADA and several of her colleagues in AEC, including Paul John of Georgia, Debbie Andersen of Indiana and Jeff Martin of Texas.
“All of the state execs represent their respective states with much pride and passion,” she said.