AuSM Events

Former Ford CEO Mulally to keynote NAAA Convention


Alan Mulally, who was Ford Motor Co.’s president and chief executive officer from 2006 to 2014, will be a keynote speaker at the National Auto Auction Association’s annual convention in November, the trade group said Tuesday.

Mulally’s keynote presentation will be during NAAA’s opening luncheon Nov. 14, and it will be followed by a moderated Q&A session that also includes:

  • Cox Automotive president Sandy Schwartz
  • KAR Auction Services chairman and CEO Jim Hallett
  • BSC America chairman and CEO Ray Nichols

The NAAA Convention is held as part of , which takes place Nov. 12-16 at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We’re honored and thrilled to have someone of Alan Mulally’s leadership caliber and business acumen in the industry deliver our keynote address,” NAAA chief executive Frank Hackett said in a news release.

“The Ford Motor Company has been a loyal member of our association and has graciously sponsored a vehicle for NAAA presidents to use as official transportation during their annual term,” Hackett said.

When it was announced in May 2014 that Mulally would be retiring from his role leading Ford that July, the automaker had achieved 19 consecutive quarters of profits.

He is largely credited for being the key cog to the automaker’s turnaround.

“Alan deservedly will be long remembered for engineering one of the most successful business turnarounds in history,” Ford’s executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement when Mulally’s retirement was announced in 2014.

“Under Alan’s leadership, Ford not only survived the global economic crisis, it emerged as one of the world’s strongest auto companies. We always will be grateful to Alan for his leadership, compelling vision and for fostering a culture of working together that will serve our company for decades to come.”

To register for the NRC/NAAA Convention and Used Car Week, visit

AuSM announces launch of Auto Fin Journal

CARY, N.C.  - 

AuSM (CMG), publishers of AuSM and SubPrime Auto Finance News, and producers of Used Car Week, the Automotive Intelligence Summit and AuSM Canada — as well as additional leading auto industry events and media — has announced the launch of a new media property called the Auto Fin Journal. 

Launching this summer to select audiences with a full launch in the fall, the Auto Fin Journal will focus content on business intelligence for automotive and auto fintech executives. With the rapid pace of change and technology in the automotive and auto fintech industries, the Auto Fin Journal will serve as a trusted resource for content, business intelligence and knowledge-sharing for industry executives, suppliers and franchise dealers.

The Auto Fin Journal will be in-market with a September/October edition highlighting the Women in Auto Finance with a smartly-defined circulation of 20,000. In keeping with CMG’s high standard of providing top level knowledge and networking, AFJ will be partnered with the Automotive Intelligence Summit and the Auto Fin Con (part of Used Car Week), as well as a regular e-newsletter bearing the AFJ name and branding. 

Nick Zulovich, Senior Editor of SubPrime Auto Finance News and the BHPH Report will lead the editorial and content management of the new AFJ, while CMG publishers Amanda Dunlap and Jessica Johnson will be co-publishers of the new media property.

“As we’ve grown our expert team over the last few years, Nick, Amanda and Jessica have proven time and again that they have exactly what it takes to be successful in their new and expanded roles with the Auto Fin Journal,” said Bill Zadeits, president and group publisher for CMG. “Their ability to build relationships, gain trust and deliver excellent work on behalf of our audiences and customers makes this trio the perfect fit to lead the successful launch of the AFJ.”

The Auto Fin Journal will debut at the Automotive Intelligence Summit this July. CMG is currently accepting expert contributor applications for content areas of auto fintech, regtech, insurtech, and others. Interested parties should Nick Zulovich, [email protected].

2018 Women in Remarketing honorees

CARY, N.C.  - 

“Recognizing Excellence.”

That’s more than just the moniker under our Women in Remarketing logo. It’s one of the reasons why AuSM publishes this issue of the magazine each year.

This special feature, which can be found , recognizes excellence among the leaders of the remarketing and used-car business.

Each of the leaders honored in our Women in Remarketing program takes on different responsibilities within the industry, and the companies they represent encompass a diverse cross-section of the used-car market. Each has a unique and inspiring story to tell, both within and beyond the business world.

We would like to thank everyone who sent in Women in Remarketing nominations this year.

While there are many more women worthy of recognition, we could not spotlight all the nominees, as we are only able to recognize a select few each year.

But stay tuned to AuSM e-newsletters, as we will conduct another call for nominations early next year.

Below are this year's honorees, in alphabetical order by first name:

Anne Holtzman, Allied Solutions

Becky Puckett, Hyundai Capital America

Candice Lester, GM Financial

Clair Wallace, Equifax

Jennifer Leocardi, McConkey Auction Group

Julee S. Dunn, First Tech Federal Credit Union

Kelly Miller, RMS Automotive

Leslie Chambers, Andy Mohr Ford

Megan Lindsey, Ally

Melissa Trautman, MetroGistics

Mollie Lutfy, ALG

Nicole Graham-Ponce, Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth

Penny Wanna, Auction Academy/ TPC Mamagement/ ServNet Auctions

Sandy Whicker, ADESA

Sandy Moon, NextGear Capital 

Stacey White, KAR Auction Services

Tammy Swofford, America's Auto Auction

Tina Viens, Insurance Auto Auctions

Tracy Noonan Fred, Xtime 

Tricia Green, TradeRev

Check out the  to learn more about these outstanding industry leaders.

The 2018 Women in Remarketing class will be honored at , which is scheduled for Nov. 12-16 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

AuSM adds Tom Webb as guest contributor

CARY, N.C. - 

As part of continued moves to strengthen its editorial team, AuSM has added former Manheim and Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb as a guest contributor to its automotive and auto finance publications.

Webb retired in summer 2017 after nearly two decades with Manheim/Cox Automtoive.

Before he joined Manheim/Cox Automotive in 2000, Webb had worked for at the National Automobile Dealers Association for 26 years, serving as a spokesman and analyst for NADA.  He became a senior manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ automotive practice in 1999.

Among his many accomplishments, he authored the annual Manheim Used Car Market Report as well as developed and implemented the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.

As a guest contributor to AuSM, Webb will contribute one article each month, which will be published throughout CMG’s print and digital media properties.

The monthly article will appear in such print and digital publications as AuSM, SubPrime Auto Finance News, BHPH Report as well as associated enewsletters.

His first story is scheduled for the NADA Convention edition of AuSM (March 15 issue) and the NADA/AFSA conferences edition of SubPrime Auto Finance News (March/April issue).

“We are excited to bring Tom’s unique and thoughtful analysis of the used-car industry and the economy to our readers.  We’ve worked with him for many years at NADA and Cox Automotive and want to provide our readers with access to deeper insight and market intelligence with his monthly analysis,” said AuSM president Bill Zadeits.

“And, on top of his rich knowledge of the industry, he’s got a great sense of humor!” Zadeits said. “He’s a perfect fit for CMG and we’re proud to have him on our team.”


AuSM boosts events team

CARY, N.C. - 

In addition to building its editorial team, AuSM parent company AuSM has also continued to develop its events team roster for 2018 and beyond.

Longtime events leaders Marilu McQuilkin, who celebrated 10 years with the company in 2017, has been promoted to the role of Senior Director of Events & Marketing for AuSM.

Mor Aframian, who has been with CMG since August 2014 and was previously Events & Meetings Assistant and Online Community Coordinator, has been promoted to the role of Director of Events & Marketing.

McQuilkin and Aframian will continue to lead AuSM’s local and national events, which include Used Car Week, AuSM Canada, Women & Automotive: Canadian Leadership Forum and Automotive Intelligence Summit business conferences.

Additionally, CMG Conference Coordinator Lisa McGraw, who joined the company in 2010 and heads up management of conference registrations, has an increased role in managing of exhibit hall operations and other conference logistics.

Joining the team in October was Anthony Harrison, marketing manager for AuSM. In this new role, Harrison will lead conference marketing, event website editorial, speaker logistics and contribute to conference planning.

They will continue to work with CMG President Bill Zadeits, Senior Editors Nick Zulovich and Joe Overby, Staff Writer Chris Hart-Williams and Correspondents Sarah Rubenoff and Arlena Sawyers on the editorial team, along with Publishers Amanda Dunlap, Steve Leslie and Jessica Johnson.

“As we continue to grow and expand our events business this talented group of professionals will be the ones to lead CMG to the next level,” said Zadeits.  

“In an industry and world where we communicate electronically and digitally with more and more frequency, the importance of face-to-face interaction has become increasingly important,” he said.  “And, our events team at CMG is among the very best at bringing people together to learn, share, and inspire to build relationships and grow business.”

Stay tuned to AuSM for additional announcements associated with the new lineup for the year.


Auto auction holds 2 sales despite record lake effect snowfall

CARY, N.C.  - 

When faced with record snowfall and two sales scheduled just days after the storms, Greater Erie Auto Auction powered through — despite the 65 inches of snow Erie, Pa., got in less than two days.

Greater Erie AA assistant general manager and dealer sales manager Ryan Russell says what his auction experienced in late December and early January was like something out of a Michael Bay film.

“Whatever movie you’re seeing, it just punches you in the face with its loudness, and this is what’s happening,” he said.

“Basically, the snowstorm was like living in a Michael Bay movie — it started snowing, and it just literally never stopped, and we ran out of room in town to put the snow in places.”

Though 10 inches of snow is nothing to sound the alarm for within the Erie community, the record lake effect snow beginning on the day after Christmas brought challenges to Greater Erie AA that it had never seen before.

On Dec. 25, the city of Erie saw 34 inches of snow, for snowfall in any single day, reported the Erie Times-News

Over , on Nov. 22, 1956, the previous snowfall record was 20 inches, according to the Pennsylvania state climatologist.

“There were two sales when we were hit with the snow storm, scheduled for Dec. 28 and Jan. 4,” explained assistant general manager and fleet/lease manager Chrissy Briggs.

Russell, who not only works in Erie, but has lived in the community for over 35 years, said when he was out snow blowing his driveway for about the seventh time within a 24-hour period, there were people driving down a main road on snowmobiles who stopped at houses that were not plowed.

He said they were to going up to doors and asking people inside “if they were okay, if they had power, if they needed to get to CVS for prescriptions.”

“They helped an elderly couple shovel their driveway out so they could get down to Pittsburgh to visit their newly born grandson,” Russell said. “You know it’s just, it was amazing to see the community come together and help each other.”

“And it was amazing to see our team up here do the same exact thing to try and have an auto auction. It’s our livelihood and we had to do it, and everybody came together,” he said.

What is lake effect snow?

What Greater Erie AA experienced was lake effect snow, which is common across the Great Lakes region during the late fall and winter, according to the National Weather Service.

It happens when just enough cold air that often comes from Canada moves across the vast open waters of the Great Lakes.

As cold air passes over unfrozen and relatively warm waters rises, the National Weather Service says clouds that produce around can form and grow.

“What happened was the lake up here that we’re right next to was not frozen over. It is now finally, but at Christmas time it had not frozen over at all,” Russell explained.

When Lake Erie freezes over, he said the lake effect snow goes away. But when a storm comes across the lake, and the lake isn’t frozen, the storm can pick up more moisture from the lake.

The record-breaking storm in Erie picked up so much moisture from the lake that it couldn't move.

“And that’s how we ended up getting dumped on for two straight days,” Russell said.

“Normally it would just sweep across and spread all of the snowfall over a 75-mile wide radius. Well, it didn’t this time, it kept it to us at about 10 miles or 15 miles of the lake. It just didn’t move, for two days. It just kept picking up more and more moisture out of the lake.”

Snow emergency declared

During the historic snowfall event, Briggs said city officials declared a snow emergency for Erie and stressed that roads were “dangerous and impassable.”

“Ryan and I both grew up here, and you hear this weather forecast of about 10 to 18 inches, you think ‘okay, this is like another day, it’s really no big deal,’ because we know how to manage a foot or two feet, but not when you get it that quickly,” Briggs explained.

She said, “When they were calling for snow emergency, it was crazy — it was unbelievable; that’s what it was, it was unbelievable.”

Erie picked up more snow in less than 36 hours in this event than its previous 13-day snowstorm record, according to Briggs.

“We're used to this kind of stuff out here, and this was seriously a storm I’d never seen before in my life. I lived through it, and I can’t wrap my mind around how we got all the snow,” added Russell.

“It boggles my mind; it was like living in a movie — a disaster movie.”

The snow removal effort

When it came to the snow removal process, it truly required a highly driven team.

Leading up to the two sales scheduled around the historic snowfall event, Greater Erie AA had just a few days to plow through record-breaking inches of snow.

In addition to a snow plow that took on close to 55 hours of work in six days, more than 20 employees spent hours digging between vehicles to clear tailpipes to prep for the auction's post-Christmas sales, according to Briggs.

Though attendance was off as a result of the snowstorm, Greater Erie AA pulled 47 percent for its last sale of 2017 on Dec. 28.

“As much as we would have wanted that to be 67 or 65, we sold 47 percent,” Briggs said.

“Having a sale is better than not having anything,” she added.

While still experiencing snowfall, the auction’s next sale saw 52 percent of its vehicles sell.

AuSM strengthens editorial & conference lineups

CARY, N.C. - 

AuSM parent company AuSM has adjusted its editorial team lineup for 2018, as the company continues to build on the foundation of its industry publication and conferences.

Joe Overby and Nick Zulovich — senior editors of the automotive and auto finance publications at AuSM — will continue in their editorial roles while adding responsibilities as executive directors of CMG’s new Automotive Intelligence Council.

Their AIC positions are in conjunction with the upcoming Automotive Intelligence Summit, a new conference from AuSM set for this summer in Raleigh, N.C.

Overby and Zulovich have also been added to the content team for AuSM conferences, where they will focus on the agendas for CMG’s automotive conferences.

AuSM continues to build the editorial team, as well.

In addition to Overby and Zulovich, staff writer Chris Hart-Williams — who joined the team in 2016 — continues to report for CMG’s automotive publications and is taking on additional in-depth and feature story assignments.

Additionally, AuSM welcomed Sarah Rubenoff back to the team in 2017 as the copyeditor for all automotive and auto finance publications and the correspondent for AuSM Canada.

In addition to her editorial work, Rubenoff is orchestrating the agenda for AuSM’s Women & Automotive: Canadian Leadership Forum this March.

Further cementing the roster is the addition of longtime Automotive News reporter Arlena Sawyers, who became an AuSM Correspondent in 2017. 

Sawyers will be covering an in-depth retail automotive beat in 2018.

“We recognize that content is king when it comes to keeping our readership and audiences informed and up to date on important industry news,” said AuSM president Bill Zadeits. “These new roles and additions to our team continue in our longstanding commitment to strengthen our industry-leading coverage and serve our readers at the highest level.”

Stay tuned to AuSM for additional announcements associated with the new lineup for the year.

AuSM founder Ron Smith to retire Jan. 1

CARY, N.C. - 

Ron Smith, the founder of AuSM and its parent company, S&A Cherokee, has announced his retirement, which will be effective on Jan. 1.

Smith, who will remain a part-owner of S&A Cherokee in retirement, has gradually delegated day-to-day operational duties to fellow owners/principals Bill Zadeits and Chuck Norman over the past year.

“Ron is an incredible businessman, mentor, boss and partner, and an even better husband and father,” said Zadeits, who is the publisher of AuSM. “We hope to continue his legacy of providing excellent service and communications with the highest ethical standards to our clients and constituents.”

“I can’t say enough about what Ron has done for me professionally and personally,” said Norman. “It’s truly been an honor working with him, and after decades of hard work and sacrifice, he’s earned a rewarding retirement. We know he’s just a phone call or email away, but everyone on our staff wishes him their best.”

Smith will remain part of the S&A Cherokee management team, which includes Norman, Smith, Zadeits, Amanda Dunlap and Michael Colborn.

Smith founded public relations firm Smith and Associates in 1982, before starting Cherokee Publishing Company eight years later.  The activities of the PR firm and publishing company were then established as one business entity, as the company was rebranded S&A Cherokee in 2005.

The company now includes two divisions: S&A Communications, a PR and marketing firm; and AuSM, a publishing company that produces such publications as AuSM, SubPrime Auto Finance News, BHPH Report and AuSM Canada.

CMG also produces digital publications and organizes/operates automotive trade conferences, including Used Car Week.  

Lifetime achievement award

It was at this year’s Used Car Week conference where Smith was the recipient of the AuSM Lifetime Achievement Award.

AuSM correspondent Arlena Sawyers was on hand for the award presentation, and provided this recap below:

But before becoming a publisher and an entrepreneur, Smith was a journalist. He started the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s Used Car Dealer Magazine while working for the association.

After NIADA took the publication in-house in 1990 Smith shunned naysayers who said the industry didn’t need a publication dedicated to the used-car business. AuSM was born.

Smith recognized that the used-car industry was growing and evolving and he wanted to be a part of it.

“The manufacturers, the auction association, the independent dealers, the franchise dealers, all of those people,” have all been instrumental in that growth, Smith said. “We’ve been fortunate to see it grow dramatically.”

Smith said his staff is “outstanding” and that support of his wife Donna, helped his dreams become reality.

The AuSM Lifetime Achievement Award has been renamed the Ron Smith Lifetime Achievement Award.

Smith on AuSM Podcast 

Prior to Used Car Week, we recorded an intervew with Smith for the AuSM Podcast. 

Check out our conversation, recorded earlier this fall, below.

COMMENTARY: NRC/NAAA & future of change in auction space


This year’s annual conference partnership between the National Remarketing Conference and the NAAA Convention was a great example of a forward-thinking combination of two very strong brands.

As Dan Kennedy (formerly of GM, now with Jack Cooper Logistics), Mike Broe (formerly of Manheim and now president of AutoIMS), my wife and I sat at the grand banquet, we saw and discussed the transition of the industry from one generation to the next.

Now as Dealers Auto Auction here in Phoenix transitions to the Mumford and Gingras team, it’s clear that the industry’s future is bright, and we think more partnerships are coming in the future.

In keeping with that theme, as the discussions at the conference trended from blockchain to operational mobility and online selling, it was clear that the next generation needed to be a group of disrupters, as well as a group of traditionalists, to maintain the growth and vision needed to keep our industry viable.

With that said, I think the debate over which platform is better, in-lane or online, has made something very clear: There is a need and a place for both.

Over the past decade, NRC has focused on unique and thought-provoking topics and honoring the next generation of leaders while NAAA has focused on safety training, condition report writing, arbitration rules and related topics and honoring its past leaders. It’s a combination that I think blends the best of the past and the future.

In my view, online selling and in-lane selling are not in revolutionary, but rather evolutionary stages. Despite the continuing use of the new “disrupters” buzzword, I remember when that was synergies, economies of scale and many more.

OVE, OPENLANE and simulcast are examples of evolution, because the imaging, condition reports and related items are improving. But the nature of arrival times affects the quality and quantity of much of the dealer consignment at auctions in this country.

More importantly, even as auctions like DAASW have converted to high speed fiber and cat-6 interfaces with HD cameras, that doesn’t mean that the viewing end of the buyers or the online reps has the same totality of upgrades, thus somewhat devaluing the upside of those changes.

My vision for auction disruption has been within the operational areas of our industry, combining mobility with safety — another buzzword today that should never be a buzzword, but should have always been a fact of operational life.

It also amazes me that every auction in this country has not converted to operational mobility. So let me give you my thoughts on this concept.

— Vehicles arrive at check-in, and then a combination of check-in staff/CR writers check-in and CR dealer inventory with mobile devices. That is immediately sent to our website and to AutoIMS, and then they turn a corner and the same mobile devices image and upload standardized images, which again move wirelessly to all areas of our marketing platform.

— In the lanes, each lane leader has a mobile device to view run number assignments, announcements and related on each unit and to obtain emails for management on any issues relating to that unit. The ability to receive emails from the consignor or a buyer regarding that unit are also built into this system to increase customer service and reduce telephone calls.

— Of course, the repos, lease and factory units have different iterations of this process, but the mobile devices continue to create productivity and seamless platform integration there, as well.

The revolution, however, needs to be on the blocks and at our front counters.  

If Apple can create paperless retail stores, why aren’t we tying in bid numbers, (we already have them assigned to mobile devices) to electronic signings and eliminating invoices with each invoice and perhaps next week’s sale information, texted or emailed to the buyers?

If you’re talking about safety, think how many times our buyers cross the bidding lanes to sign an invoice.

With regard to the front counters, with the ability of operating systems to run on iPads, why are we still using hardwired PCs and “chaining” employees to desks and customers to lines?

For instance, here in Arizona, e-titles on the wholesale level are coming in 2018; how does that change the role of a title clerk and third-party services?

As always, this is just one man’s opinion and I am always here to listen to any comments at [email protected].


Jim DesRochers is a consultant with Dealers Auto Auction of the Southwest and was its longtime vice president and general manager. 

Porsche’s Heather Pullen receives Cox Automotive Community Impact Award at Used Car Week

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.  - 

On Thursday, Cox Automotive presented its 2017 Community Impact Award to Heather Pullen, national remarketing manager at Porsche Cars North America.

The award — sponsored by Cox Automotive brand, Manheim — was presented by Grace Huang, president of Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions, during an awards luncheon at Used Car Week.

The honor is given to a remarketing industry leader “for their outstanding contributions to the community and the innovative ways they collaborate with community partners to help further their missions,” according to a Cox Automotive press release.

Huang had the following to say about this year’s recipient:

"Heather's enthusiasm and passion for community service exemplifies the spirit of the Cox Automotive Community Impact Award," said Huang. "Community service is a guiding value for how Cox Automotive operates its businesses, and we congratulate Heather on her inspirational work."

Pullen has been with Porsche for more than six years. And although she is passionate about performance cars, “her real passion starts with horses,” according to the press release from Cox Automotive. She is an avid polo player. In fact, she and her husband, Randy Pullen, formed a charity in 2016 named . The charity is designed to give back to local charities in the Atlanta area by raising money through an annual polo event produced by Pony Up For A Cause.

The charity partners with Atlanta Ronald McDonald House (ARMHC) to support its mission in the local community. Since its inception, Pony Up For A Cause has raised more than $30,000 for ARMHC. 

Along with the award, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to “making a difference through community service,” Pullen’s charity will receive a $10,000 donation from Cox Automotive to further its work in the Atlanta area.

"Giving back to the community is simply part of the culture at Cox Automotive," said Pullen. "It is a sincere honor to be recognized, and I am humbled by the generosity of Cox Automotive."