Car Culture

Car Culture

Longtime executive Dave Bates has been named to the new role of vice president, Customer Relations and Chief Customer Ambassador for Reynolds and Reynolds. 

“While we have always been a customer-focused organization, this new role formalizes that commitment by providing a direct conduit between Reynolds and our customers,” CEO Tommy Barras said. 

Barras went on to explain the move will establish a more reliable, consistent way to better understand the challenges that Reynolds customers face coming out of the pandemic, and the products and services that will best help them meet those challenges, while also delivering improved operations and profitability for them.

Bates has held roles helping dealerships throughout his 38-year career at Reynolds and has decades of direct contact and personal interaction with customers. He was named vice president for Customer Support in 2007.

“Dave’s knowledge of our business and the customer relationships he’s developed over the years put him in a trusted position to listen to customers and to help us strengthen our partnerships across the board,” Barras said.

Caliber, parent company to Caliber Collision, Caliber Auto Glass, and Caliber Auto Care, announced that Roland Smith has joined its Board of Directors.

Smith is a board member and executive, bringing over 30 years of experience in consumer brands spanning the hospitality, entertainment, supermarket, and office product industries. Smith currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors of Jack’s Family Restaurants and previously served as chairman of the board of several other companies. As a member of Caliber’s Board, Smith will provide strategic guidance to support Caliber’s operations, teammates, partners and customers.

“I am delighted to welcome Roland to the Caliber board and family,” said Steve H. Grimshaw, Caliber executive chairman. “Roland is a purpose-driven leader, which fits well with Caliber’s culture and long-standing purpose of ‘Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life.’ His track record of results, combined with his broad experience, will greatly benefit Caliber.”

The National Museum of Military Vehicles announced that it will hold a public ceremony May 15 to honor the veterans who participated in the Mayaguez rescue on the 46th anniversary of the Vietnam War battle.

During the ceremony, a Mayaguez Tribute Truck escorted by Patriot Guards Riders will be donated to the museum. Once the Tribute Truck reaches the museum, the names of the 41 Americans who fell during the battle will be read and honored with TAPS, followed by a reunion of surviving Mayaguez veterans.

“The Mayaguez rescue performed on May 15, 1975 was the last battle of the Vietnam War,” said Doug Cubbison, Curator of NMMV. “The names of the 41 Americans who perished in this battle are the last 41 names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The 46th anniversary of the battle is a fitting occasion for the museum to publicly remember and honor both the fallen and the survivors of this battle.”

“Terry Brooks, a veteran of the Mayaguez rescue, created a Tribute Truck to ensure that the sacrifice of those who fell during this battle is always remembered,” said Alynne Catron, Executive Director of NMMV. “Terry is donating the Tribute Truck to our museum to preserve and share in perpetuity with the public.”

The Mayaguez incident: On May 12, 1975, a U.S. flagged cargo ship, the S.S. Mayaguez and its crew were seized by a Cambodian Khmer Rouge naval vessel. President Gerald Ford ordered military action to force the Cambodians to return the ship and release its crew. This rescue mission by the Marines, Navy, and Air Force took place on May 15, 1975. During the ensuing combat, 25 Air Force pilots and crew, two Navy Corpsmen, and fourteen Marines were killed in action while another fifty Americans were wounded. The Khmer Rouge released the Mayaguez and its crew unharmed.

The ceremony commemorating the Mayaguez rescue will begin at 10 a.m., May 15 in Dubois, Wyo.

Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC) has promoted Will Mitchell to chief operating officer. In this position, Mitchell will oversee AFC field and business operations with a continued focus on business development and commercial operations.

“Mitchell is an incredibly strategic thinker and vision-driven leader with a proven track record of success,” said Jim Money, president of AFC. “In his expanded role, Mitchell is responsible for leading AFC’s operations strategy and execution to ensure we are positioned to continue serving our customers in their preferred manner, either in person or digitally.”

As chief operating officer, Mitchell will draw on his deep understanding of the needs of the independent dealer to ensure AFC continues to provide industry leading, customer-first services and solutions. He will also continue to lead AFC’s product development and market partnership efforts with a focus on forging and strengthening strategic partnerships.

“I’m thrilled to extend my focus to empowering our team with valuable tools and resources that provide timely service and convenient solutions for AFC’s customers,” Mitchell said. “AFC has been a leader in the automotive financing industry for over 30 years and I look forward to building upon that legacy.”

Mitchell joined AFC in 2015 as director of strategic initiatives. In 2018, he was promoted to vice president of business development and commercial operations. In that role, Mitchell was instrumental in the launch of several new AFC products, including Daily Tab and Rebuilder, as well as aiding in the company’s continued digital evolution. Prior to his time with AFC, Mitchell worked for various companies in business development roles specializing in strategic initiatives.

John Brasher will join the executive leadership team at EBlock as the chief operating officer, focused on the company’s rapid expansion into the U.S. market.

John Brasher Joins EBlock as COO

Brasher brings more than 30 years of automotive auction knowledge and experience to the senior leadership team. He joins EBlock from ServNet, where he held the position of executive director. Prior to that, he was president of Brasher’s West Coast Auto Auctions from 2001 to 2016. He worked for two years as a general manager for ADESA, and was a founding partner of AuctionPipeline in 2005, which is now Auction Edge.

“The transformation to digital in the auction space is happening now and it’s happening quickly,” Brasher said. “The automotive wholesale business needs a partner that is committed to meeting their customers where they are. I believe EBlock is that partner, and I’m excited to be part of this exciting chapter in our industry.”

“We are excited to have an industry icon like John join EBlock,” said Jason McClenahan, president and CEO of EBlock. “EBlock is seeing tremendous growth, both in Canada and the United States. His experience and passion for the industry, will only accelerate that momentum. I look forward to working closely with John as we shape the digital auction landscape, to the evolving needs of our customers.

Brasher, a third-generation automotive entrepreneur, has served on numerous industry boards and association committees, and has played an active role whenever possible in the remarketing industry. He steps into his new role as COO of EBlock on May 3.

Digital Motors, an online sales platform for automotive dealerships and manufacturers, announced the appointment of auto industry and investment banking veteran Troy Ford as vice president of finance.

“Troy brings to the table a breadth of automotive industry, growth capital, and financial leadership experience.,” said Andy Hinrichs, CEO of Digital Motors.

Most recently, Ford served as vice president of corporate finance for Superior Industries, a publicly traded Tier 1 automotive supplier. Prior to Superior Industries, he held roles in both technology and financial firms, including Sorenson Capital Partners, VMWare, and Wells Fargo Securities.

Ford earned an MBA from the Wharton School and a Master’s in International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce.

“Digital Motors revolutionizes the online car-buying experience for consumers while unlocking efficiency and profitability for dealerships,” said Ford. “The company’s leadership team has a solid track record of generating value for the automotive industry, and I am excited to be part of this talented and growing team.”

Digital Motors’ dealer-based platform allows customers to go through all or portions of the entire vehicle purchasing process online, including securing financing, without visiting the dealership. It turns any dealer’s or manufacturer’s website into an online store.

MUSA Auto Finance, an automotive finance and technology lender, has announced two new executives.

Jon Lamb is now CEO of MUSA Auto Finance. He also remains president of DRIVRZUS, a platform enabling consumers to buy, sell, lease or trade their vehicle from a smartphone. DRIVRZUS is an initiative of PowerBand Solutions, which acquired MUSA in 2019.

Lamb has served in CEO and president roles with Brickell.IO, Privatized Capital, Hundy Inc., Transparent AI and Visible Customer. Lamb also has a distinguished record for military service in the U.S. Navy as a high-tech, weaponry specialist on nuclear submarines.

Lamb is an active board member and advisor to multiple ad tech and fintech organizations.

“Jon Lamb is a world-class entrepreneur whose execution skills have literally taken him from leadership roles on nuclear submarines to the executive suite,” said Kelly Jennings, CEO of PowerBand.

MUSA also welcomes Craig Vaughn in his new role as president. Vaughn brings senior executive experience leading national and regional variable and fixed operations business units for public and privately owned organizations, including Asbury Automotive, a Fortune 500 retailer.

In addition, he spent two years in Beijing, China, as vice president variable operations for NCGA / Yan Jun Auto.

Alamo Group Inc. announced that Jeffery A. Leonard will succeed Ronald A. Robinson as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective May 31. Leonard has been with Alamo Group since September 2011 and is currently serving as the executive vice-president of the company’s industrial division. Robinson will continue as an employee of the company to assist in the transition until Aug. 1 and thereafter will remain as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

“Jeff Leonard’s promotion to president and CEO is the culmination of the board’s careful CEO succession planning process,” said Roderick Baty, Alamo Group’s chairman. “Jeff is a talented executive and a strong leader who has been very successful in leading the company’s industrial division since he joined Alamo Group in 2011.”

Primeritus Financial Services Inc. (PFS) named Jason Herman as senior vice president of remarketing, effective immediately. In this role, he will lead the company’s remarketing and ancillary service operations.

In his new position, Herman will report to Chief Revenue Officer Joe Mappes and will jotin the senior leadership team.

“Jason is a tenured operations executive with a proven track record in managing all aspects of the asset management lifecycle,” Mappes said.  Furthermore, Jason’s deep knowledge and expertise in the financial services industry will be an asset to our company, partners, and customers.”

Herman comes to Primeritus with over two decades of asset remarketing experience from his years with U.S. Bank, where he began in 1999, and advanced to senior vice-president, director of asset remarketing before leaving the bank for Mike Albert Leasing in 2019. 

Mazda North American Operations announced the appointment of Yasutake Tsuchida to senior director of design, effective immediately. In this role Tsuchida will oversee design operations, including next-generation vehicle planning and brand strategy development.

Tsuchida joins the MNAO team with more than 22 years of experience at Mazda’s headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan. He most recently served as the Chief Designer of the latest generation of Mazda3, which launched in November 2018 and went on to win the 2020 World Car Design of the Year award. Tsuchida was also the chief designer of the Kai Concept, and in the late 2000s Tsuchida worked in the Design Studio at MNAO, where he led design on the Furai concept car. Tsuchida began his career at Mazda specializing on exterior design and in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s was lead designer for Mazda3, CX-7 and the Ryuga concept car.

Page 1 of 7