LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CXAUTO 2023 SPEAKERS – Scroll down to biographies
Owner and President
PATRIOT AUTO GROUP
Adam Arens, Owner and President of Patriot Auto Group Patriot has four locations – the first store Patriot Subaru opened in Saco, Maine in 2003, and is the largest volume Subaru Retailer in New England for the and the largest volume auto dealership of any make in the entire state of Maine. The second store opened in 2014 and is also Patriot Subaru, this one is in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, the third store Patriot Nissan of Salem, NH opened in 2018 and the fourth Patriot Acura of Maine will open at year end 2023. His stores all started as add points.
The awards received at his dealerships number over 100. They include 15x Best Dealerships to Work For, Subaru’s Chairman Award, Subaru of New England President’s Award 17x , The Best Place to Work in Maine, Massachusetts, and NH, Nissan’s Award of Excellence, Maine’s Eco Business of the Year, and many more.
Adam resides in both Florida and New Hampshire, has two grown children, two grandchildren, 3 dogs and about 180 associates in the car dealerships. His interests are playing tennis, enjoying music and working in politics to impact the world – (either side – they are both right and wrong).
Vice President Variable Operations
CAVENDER AUTO GROUP
Eric has worked in the auto industry for 24 years. He began his career at 16 years old detailing cars quickly working his way into sales then finance and onto becoming one of the youngest GM &Operating Partners in the Industry.
During the early part of Eric ‘s career he found a passion for marketing. Along with the time in the Automotive Industry Eric also has over 20 years in the Marketing Industry. He began his career in marketing by dominating the Spanish Media with Infomercials that ran 6 years consecutively across several markets. In 2008 the beginning of social media Eric refocused his attention to the future of marketing and began a relentless campaign that has now made him the #1 Viewed Social Media Dealer in the nation. Currently his marketing spend due to his social media presence is less the $125 per car, totally unheard of in the industry.
Eric is currently spending his spare time teaching and mentoring other dealers across the nation on social media and what hard work and dedication it takes to make is successful. Eric also has a passion for hiring Women, he ran one of the few dealerships in the States with 47% women representation. His goal was to be at a 50/50 ratio and open doors for those that would not consider the industry before. That led to him being awarded 2022 Automotive news All Star and Also Gmc / Buick recipient of DEI leadership 2022.
Fixed Ops Director
Michael Barich is an accomplished Fixed Ops Director and small business owner based in Franklin, TN. With over 30 years of experience in leadership roles primarily in Fixed Ops, Michael has established himself as a dynamic and innovative professional with a passion for growth and success. Michael has a proven track record of driving operational growth, improving operational efficiency, and building high-performance FixedOps teams. Michael’s expertise in process development and execution has enabled him to deliver exceptional results including 15 consecutive Toyota President’s Awards and 2 National titles for Murfreesboro Nissan as the leader for customer pay parts sales, customer pay labor sales and customer pay tire sales.
A lifelong learner, Michael is a NADA dealer academy graduate. He is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in the automotive space, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.
Michael’s drive, creativity, and commitment to excellence make him an impactful leader. He is dedicated to making a positive impact on those around him.
Trends and Futuring Manager
FORD AUTO GROUP
Jennifer Brace is a Trends and Futuring Manager at Ford where she leads discussions on long-term thinking, planning, and strategic development. By researching demographic shifts, identifying market outliers, and developing data-driven scenarios for the future, she challenges her colleagues to think through a broad range of possible narratives before settling on a plan of action.
Throughout her 19-year career with Ford, she has launched multiple versions of SYNC in vehicle technology, lead user experience research projects on autonomous vehicles, and drove innovation in mobility from Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer currently resides in Plymouth, Michigan, and holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan.
Director Financial Services Group
SUBARU OF AMERICA
Doug Braverman has been in the Auto industry for 44 years, starting with American Motors in 1979 in the Parts and Vehicle Sales areas. He later joined Volkswagen of America in the Audi of America division where he held a variety of field and regional roles in the Pacific Region and in 1991, he transferred to the VW Credit subsidiary. He later spent time with Mitsubishi Motors Credit and in 2010, he joined Subaru of America as the Asset Control Manager for the Subaru Acceptance Retailer floorplan financing business. In 2018, Doug became the Director of Financial Services for Subaru of America leading the company’s Retailer floorplan financing unit, the Subaru Service Loaner program (“SSLP”) and the Subaru Guaranteed Trade in (“GTP”) program.
Doug is a graduate of Northwood University with a BBA in Business Management, and he later earned his MBA from the University of Redlands here in Southern California.
Gold Coast Cadillac
William H. Camastro Jr., is Dealer Partner at Gold Coast Cadillac in Oakhurst, New Jersey since May 2020. Like many, Bill started as a salesperson 38 years ago and has held many roles working with three (3) public companies and then owner and operator of Hudson Valley CDJR and Hudson Valley Used Auto Exchange.
After 38 years in the business, his passion is building a profitable business model through customer satisfaction & retention. He employs written best practices with daily processes that are measurable and measured daily. The process results are utilized to ensure high levels of accountability and any necessary process improvements. Over the last 25 years, the bulk of his efforts have been with underperforming stores and groups that were in need of a defined culture including those he has owned.
Bill has 6 children with the woman he’s been married to for 35 years. He’s a sports enthusiast with many years invested in the martial arts, music, & real estate.
President and CEO
Holman Strategic Ventures
Bill Cariss began his career at Holman Enterprises at ARI in 1984, and held many executive positions. He joined the retail operations in 1996 as Executive Assistant to the President of Holman Enterprises and went on to become Vice President of Dealership Operations in 2001 and President of Retail Operations in 2015. During that time, he was responsible for operational, financial, and corporate development activities, and led the acquisition of Kuni Automotive in 2016.
Mr. Cariss currently serves as President and CEO of Holman Strategic Ventures. This team leverages the many core assets and technologies across all Holman business through a combination of start-ups and joint ventures with key partners, as well as strategic investments in early stage companies.
Shawn Concannon started his automotive career back in 1996 with Enterprise, where he worked for 11 years before launching his 15-year career with TSD. As the President of TSD, Shawn manages strategic mobility solutions for global rental franchises, OEMs, auto groups, and car share initiatives. He has helped create and support over 20 OEM courtesy/rental car programs during his career. His extensive experience in the automotive space enables him to provide powerful insight into the changing industry. As a frequent speaker on multi-use fleets and operational efficiency, Shawn is at the forefront of advances in mobility technology.
About TSD – TSD designs and develops fleet mobility solutions for dealerships, auto manufacturers, public auto groups, and rental companies worldwide. Our solutions are used across 88 countries and six continents. Every day we help over 16k dealerships and car rental companies improve their operations. Many of the metrics, operational patterns, and subsidy patterns used in the industry today were created by the TSD team. For more information on getting started with TSD, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tsdweb.com.
Vice President Strategic Partnerships
Ali Fawaz is the VP, Strategic Partnerships for Dealers United having joined in December 2022 where he helps harness the power of digital marketing and social media to get the Dealership’s business and inventory in front of the right audience, on the right platform, with the right message at the right time. Previously Ali was the General Manager Worldwide For Automotive at Reputation.com. He carries a passion for making innovative waves in the customer shopping experience.
He’s lead work for brands such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Cadillac to elevate their online reputation. Providing strategic direction that paved the way for the development of scalable & measurable marketing & CX solutions in the automotive digital, and social media landscape. Ali Graduated from the University of Michigan with studies in corporate communication. Today he works with automotive OEM’s to leverage data, directories, reviews and surveys to catapult the retail dealer’s online presence.
Ron Frey is an automotive strategist, specializing in automotive innovation and technology. Following a 35-year executive career in the automotive industry, today Frey is an active investor and adviser, as well as director on select corporate and non-profit boards.
Marketing and Communication Director
Samantha Foster is the Marketing and Communication Director at UVeye, a global startup dedicated to transforming vehicle inspection through cutting-edge technology. Samantha Foster brings over a decade of experience in the automotive industry to the table, as well as expertise in the HVAC and international trade industries. Samantha’s interest in the automotive industry stems from her previous role as a marketing and customer experience leader at Romano Auto Dealerships, where she managed marketing and sales initiatives aimed at delivering the best possible customer experience.
Her skills in developing cohesive strategies aligned with sales objectives prioritize customer experience, and her passion for utilizing technology to provide innovative solutions for customers and improve processes to enhance customer experience is unwavering. Her people-first approach drives her success in building strong brand awareness and fostering growth in the auto industry through several professional and networking organizations.
Head Coach of Marketing
JEFF WYLER AUTOMOTIVE FAMILY
Named as one of the top 5 influencers changing the auto industry today by Automotive News, Kevin has been a leader with auto subscription, Google Analytics, and digital retailing – to include buying 100% online.
Kevin was a Naval Aviator for 8 years, flying over 200 combat hours in Desert Storm. He has used the leadership skills he learned in the Navy to keep the Wyler Family at the front edge of automotive eCommerce.
Senior Director 20 Group
Tim brings 35-plus years of auto-industry experience to NADA. Prior to NADA, he held various dealership positions, including service manager, general sales manager, general manager, dealer operator and dealer principal. Tim was a multiyear Five Star Award of Excellence Dealer, a Gold Award Winner for Excellence for Resource Automotive for Honda Canada project, and a J.D. Power distinguished team member with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SSI Improvement Project.
He is now an adjunct professor for leadership development and a subject matter expert in sales, service and CSI for luxury, domestic and import dealerships.
Vice President, Customer Engagement Center
Since joining Holman in 2006, LeeAnn has played an integral role in the company’s customer engagement strategy, helping to ensure the organization continues to deliver a truly exceptional experience to both its B2B and B2C customers. LeeAnn’s impressive tenure began in Holman’s Fleet and Mobility division where she held a number of strategic leadership roles across a variety of operating areas including sales, employee engagement, and client relations. In 2018, LeeAnn transitioned to the organization’s retail automotive division where she spearheaded the development of Holman’s centralized Customer Engagement Center.
Today, as Vice President of the Customer Engagement Center, LeeAnn leads a team of automotive sales and service professionals who support Holman’s network of 30-plus dealership locations across the country, helping to deliver an industry-leading retail experience through innovative technology and unsurpassed efficiency. LeeAnn is also responsible for ensuring the company’s culture of service excellence continues to thrive and evolves to align with the needs of Holman’s customers.
LeeAnn prides herself on her exceptional leadership skills and ability to develop others. She is also a founding member of Women of Holman, the organization’s first business resource group, and currently serves on the group’s advisory board. A Florida native, LeeAnn is a graduate of Florida State University and also holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently resides in Haddonfield, New Jersey with her husband and their son.
Vice President, Customer Experience
Chad Jernberg is Vice President of Customer Experience at Holman Automotive, one of the largest privately owned dealership groups in the United States. He leads initiatives to modernize the sales and service experiences while enabling employees to create more human connections their guests.
With an extensive background in hospitality and digital engagement, Chad brings a unique perspective to the automotive industry. He partners with Holman’s dealership teams across the country to turn customer insights into actionable improvements that build loyalty and win new business.
Senior Group Manager Field Operations
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Co-Founder & CEO
Atul Patel is Orbee’s Co-Founder and CEO bringing to the automotive industry 20 years of tangible marketing technology experience gained in starting and scaling martech companies. Atul holds several patents in marketing data compliance that have saved large marketers millions against compliance and inefficiencies. These patents became the core technology behind Jornaya (LeadiD), a company that Atul co-founded and which was acquired by Verisk, a data analytics and risk assessment firm which also acquired Infutor and Contact State.
Atul also founded Optimal.com, an ad blocking company acquired by Sovrn; OptimalSocial, a social graph analytics and media buying platform acquired by Brand Networks, where he serves on the Management Board. Brand Networks works with large brands like Walmart and is a certified partner of Facebook, Instagram, Snap, Tiktok, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. He also founded OneScreen, a digital video, CTV and OTT technology company and helped define early video ad standards; co-founded LeadROI, a bleeding-edge lead management system for financial services; served as advisors to AdGear, a DSP and SSP that became Samsung Ads; and built a video business for NTENT, a search engine and search monetization provider to mobile carriers.
Atul serves as founder, advisor, and executive on many startups in and out of the automotive industry. He was born and raised in Southern California, attended UCLA, and now resides in Houston, TX.
Director, Retail Buying Experience
AUDI OF AMERICA
In 2010 Kirk joined Audi of America as an Area Director in Florida, where he led record market expansion and growth. However, he gained the most notoriety for convincing dealers to build facilities without traditional sales desks and working with them to create cohesive online and in-store digital sales processes long before omnichannel was an industry buzzword.
In 2021, Kirk became Audi’s first Director of Retail Buying Experience (RBE). This new department is responsible for the entire purchase experience, from the moment a customer touches either a Tier 1 or a Tier 3 website through engagement with the dealership and culminating with the delivery of the vehicle. RBE is responsible for the design and field deployment of Audi’s online buying initiatives and all programs that support omnichannel sales processes at the dealer level. Kirk and the RBE team work with the Audi of America Digital and IT team to ensure Tier 1 technologies are best in class and mesh with dealer tech stacks. They also work with the regional field teams to integrate new tools and technologies into traditional dealer processes.
Kirk began his career at Ford Motor Company in 1991 after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. While at Ford, he progressed through multiple sales, marketing, fixed operations, network development, commercial fleet, residual value, and brand positions.
Senior Director Automotive Strategy
Steve Schmith is the senior director of industry strategy for Acxiom’s Automotive practice. He has nearly 25 years of automotive experience, including prior roles leading the Automotive News Research & Data Center and hosting the Daily Drive podcast, and leading marketing for Deloitte’s Automotive practice in the U.S. and globally. He has authored several reports on auto, mobility and manufacturing.
Gray Scott is a seasoned marketing executive with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He is a founding member of the elite group Auto Genius. Throughout his career, Gray has been recognized for his strategic thinking, creative problem-solving skills, and ability to execute complex marketing campaigns. He has a deep understanding of the automotive market and is an expert in brand management, product launches, and consumer insights. He has been utilizing machine learning and AI since 2017, and has continued to explore the tech across multiple business units with great success.
Gray has held various leadership positions in marketing and product management at several automotive groups and tech companies. He has also worked in the advertising industry, where he gained valuable experience in media planning, creative development, and campaign execution.
Gray is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, where he shares his insights on the latest trends and best practices in automotive marketing. His presentations are known for being engaging, informative, and thought-provoking, and he tells us how it is, real and fairly unfiltered.
Director of Marketing- Digital & Field Performance
Lewis A. Scott is the Director of Marketing – Digital and Field Performance at Byrider. In his role, Lewis oversees SEM and paid search strategies/best practices. He is responsible for monitoring and optimizing above sales funnel key performance indicators as well as downstream funnel metrics such as leads, applications and sales.
Lewis joined Byrider in 2012 as a Consumer Credit Analyst and has had several major roles as a General Manager, Franchise Operations Consultant and Field Marketing Manager before becoming a Director in 2021. He has worked on major enterprise initiatives such as lead optimization strategies, cost per sale by channel improvements, customer journey insights and first party data and analytics implementation.
Lewis has quickly become a leader and expert within his field and continues to propel his company forward in today’s competitive market.
Owner – SHAKER AUTO GROUP
CEO – TRUVIDEO
A technological innovator in automotive, Joe Shaker is a principal owner in Shaker Auto Group and the co-founder and CEO of TruVideo, the automotive industry’s simplest to use video and texting app. Through decades as a dealer, Joe learned firsthand that transparency is the key to consumer trust. He tested TruVideo in his own dealerships leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver powerhouse returns in customer satisfaction.
Joe has served on advisory boards for Ford Motor Credit Company and Mazda North American Operations as well as founded CarDay Inc., a pioneering online retailer for used vehicles.
Art Shaw is CEO at RepairPal. After going to Stanford Business School, Shaw worked at McKinsey and then left to run Strategic Planning at Charles Schwab. Shaw changed roles at Schwab in 1995 to help launch www.schwab.com, which defined financial services online and grew to a $1 billion business. He then ran myCFO and sold it to Harris Bank after achieving the #1 rating from Bloomberg Wealth Manager. Thereafter, Shaw was CEO of Connexus, an online advertising company targeting audiences through display, search and social. He served as Executive Chairman of Tunecore (sold to Sony Music) and Lead Director of Insikt.
Art holds a BA, magna cum laude, in Mathematical Economics from Brown University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He was also selected as a Henry R. Luce Scholar and spent a year in Thailand working on Public Policy.
Former VP Product Marketing – NOVO INSURANCE
Digital Transformation Executive – @Skinnerschoice
Robert (Bob) is a serial entrepreneur who has launched Future Now Services @SkinnersChoice to leverage his own experiences to bring cutting edge services (of the Future) to business now. He have a vast global network of partners in technology, marketing, finance, retail, distribution, entertainment, movies, music, and merchandising and leveraging this network to help businesses start, grow and thrive.
Most recently he led all aspects of product marketing for Novo Insurance, a Silicon Valley based disruptive Insurtech. In his role he was responsible for customer experience, web site, mobile app, advertising & loyalty program. Most recently he was the V.P. of Digital Strategy and Marketing Technologies at FordDirect. In this role at FordDirect, Bob was responsible for media tech & cross tier strategy, data capture & enablement and omni-channel marketing & personalization.
Bob has been a board member of the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit as well as a multi-year Techstar mentor. Prior to FordDirect Bob founded several technology ventures where he lived and worked across 4 continents. – Michigan State University Spartan Graduate, #spartanstrong.
Former Senior Manager, Customer Journey & Loyalty
MITSUBISHI MOTORS NORTH AMERICA
Matt has extensive experience driving growth in diverse industries including automotive, where he has held senior leadership positions focused on customer loyalty and retention. His understanding and insight into building effective customer journeys have been fueled by his experience working in dealerships, OEM, CRM/data management, and direct marketing across the auto industry.
During his 20+ years in automotive, Matt has had the opportunity to work with almost every auto brand and retail marketing agency and will share insights into the most fundamental process for building customer loyalty and service retention, while increasing communication efficiency and reducing program costs.
Director, Aftersales Marketing Business Intelligence and Technologies
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA
Shawn Williams has over 25 years of experience the Automotive Industry and has worked for a tier 1 supplier and 2 OEMs. Shawn started his career in engineering and manufacturing with a focus on quality and new model development. During his tenure as Plant Manager for Nissan’s Smyrna assembly team, he achieved Nissan’s the first ever North American J.D. Power Plant Initial Quality award by using data to provide rapid feedback to speed up improvements.
In 2021, Shawn transitioned to Marketing and Sales responsible for Aftersales Service Marketing, Connected Car, Parts & Accessories eCommerce and Business Intelligence. Allowing data to drive the business, Shawn grew ecommerce sales by 65% and achieved a record increase in Service Retention. To develop stronger brand awareness, he overhauled the service marketing program to provide better engagement and response rate through personalized creative and strategic touch points.
Executive Manager of Operations
Qvale Auto Group
Geno Walsh currently serves as Executive Manager of Operations for the Qvale Auto Group, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Overseeing operations for several dealerships in the South Eastern United States, Geno is regarded as a prominent influencer of the modern retailing process. In his over 20 years in the automotive industry, Geno has successfully developed progressive digital marketing strategies, implemented modern sales and service processes and spearheaded multiple modern retailing programs around the country.
Geno is one of only eight dealer members to serve on the Google Dealer Council and is also a member of the advisory board for CarWars and DealerSocket, respectively. Recently, Geno was invited to serve on the Volkswagen of America National Think Tank Group, and continues to keynote several industry conferences both nationally and internationally, including; NADA, the Automotive Analytics and Attribution Summit and Global Digital Dealer Conference.
Vice President Marketing
Foundation Automotive Corp
Throughout her career, Leah has been a noteworthy marketing leader in the automotive industry. She brings 8+ years of marketing experience to Foundation Automotive, spanning digital marketing, traditional advertising, brand recognition and customer experience. Leah has a rare and diverse combination of marketing/sales skills and expertise, including building brands to increase revenue growth; and connect people to the brand story both internally and externally. She continues to successfully provide brand strategy, marketing strategy and thought leadership for leading brands.
Leah is a Houston native who earned a degree in marketing from Aurora University, Aurora, IL. She has love of adventure and travel, and has even hiked a section of the Pacific Crest Trail! In her spare time, you’ll find her by the beach or hiking a mountain peak.
El Cajon Ford
Tim Wilson currently works with El Cajon Ford as the Marketing Specialist and provides consulting services as the Founder/CEO of DigitalFootprint. With a digital media sales career that has spanned 25 years, Tim has worked across multiple industries for both mega and startup companies. Whether it was a company he started in the 90’s to take on Auto Trader, his time at Google running automotive in Canada and the US or his consulting practice working with dealerships today, the automotive industry has remained a constant in his career.
While working at Google and spending all of his time focused on evangelizing digital and educating Tier 1 and Tier 2 clients, he realized that he wanted to focus on helping the true engine of the automotive industry – dealerships. Over the last 3 years, his consulting firm, Digital Footprint, has helped dozens of dealerships be more efficient in their digital marketing spend focusing on a cost-per-vehicle calculation that maximizes ROI.
As all Tiers of Automotive try to maneuver and grow in a world dominated these days by acronyms – EV, SEM, AI, VDP, GA4, 3P & GBP – Tim is grateful and excited for the opportunity to share his knowledge and experience on this evolving and complicated industry.