40 Under 40: David Wagner

CARY, N.C. - 

David Wagner heads up NADA Used Car Guide’s analytics department, which is responsible for the economic modeling and analysis the company provides.

When asked what he is most proud of in his career, the 39-year-old said: “Well, my kids are definitely not hungry. Besides the obvious though, I am proud that my integrity is still in pretty good repair. This is a business filled with a huge amount of very complicated data, infused with a mix of real, meaningful information and copious amounts of noise. 

“For an analyst this is a mixed blessing — it is immensely satisfying to do the difficult work needed to cut through this noise and get to something real, but it can also be very tempting to uncover something that really isn’t there to satisfy a customer who needs an answer immediately,” he said. “Thankfully I have managed to stick to the real stuff.”

While he didn’t initially gravitate toward the car business, Wagner said he has found it to be “a gold mine for those of the nerdy variety, like me.”

So what, exactly, got him involved in the auto industry?

“It was a want ad for an internship I ran across in graduate school that read, ‘blah blah blah, steady paycheck, blah blah.’ I had no interest in the business at the time, but of course that has changed,” Wagner said.

“This business is a gold mine for those of the nerdy variety, like me, because it has more data, collected consistently, with more history than most other industries,” he said. “I have had the opportunity to work with an ocean of data, coupled with a lot of very nice people who have a real need for my help; that is satisfying.”

David Wagner, NADA Used Car Guide

As far as the folks he admires professionally, it’s a long list, including the analytics team at this company. However, Wagner did give props to one particular co-worker at NADA Used Car Guide.

“I can say honestly that nearly everyone I have worked with — both customers and coworkers — have been genuinely kind, honest folks who just want to do a good job. In particular, I admire the group of analysts that I have worked with,” Wagner said.

“I’ve interacted quite a bit with folks from the government, software and academic worlds, and with no offense to those folks, the analysts in our world are pretty refreshing to deal with,” he said. “The only person I will call out specifically is Jonathan Banks here at NADA Used Car Guide. After more than 20 years of thinking about this industry, he is still engaged and still cares about understanding all of its complexities.”  

David Wagner, 38, is director of analytics at NADA Used Car Guide. 

View entire list of 40 Under 40 honorees.

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