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It’s a big day for us here at DrivingSales, and frankly for me personally, as I’m excited to announce that Kevin Root is joining the DrivingSales family as President and Chief Operating Officer.
DrivingSales is my baby; there is no two ways about it. I became obsessed with what has become our company’s vision, and gave birth to our first piece of technology, back in 2003 when I was working at my father’s dealership in California. I was attending NADA’s dealer candidate academy and I hungered for a real time, unbiased source of business intelligence. I wanted best practices, technology information, statistics and any form of actionable data, fact or insight I could get my hands on to run a dealership more successfully. While I craved this information to drive my success, I couldn’t get it. What best practices and business intelligence were available was largely tinted because it originated from someone trying to use the information to sell me something, or it simply came too slow. The world was changing at 100 mph, and I needed my info at least as fast so I could act on it NOW, and nobody in the industry was providing it how I wanted it.
I knew the best source of info was my peers, so I created a web platform to network my dealer academy class together so we could share information between us in real time, en-mass. I didn’t build DrivingSales.com because social networks were all the rage like they are now. The fact is I built DrivingSales even before Facebook existed. Frankly, when I built DrivingSales I didn’t even know what a social network was, they were not even called that yet. I just knew I needed real time, unbiased information from my dealer peers to run a dealership successfully and I was going to build the technology to do it. I knew what I needed and I’m too stubborn to give up.
Its pretty cool to see what a big dream and lots of hard work and sacrifice can become. Today we connect more than 1 out of 3 dealerships in this country, and have users in 9 others. We publish a magazine, and host the highest quality conference in our industry, DSES. Beyond media, we built the industry’s first online university teaching vendor neutral strategies to run your dealership’s Internet operations and have partnered with NADA to make it available to all. We have also built a massive data calculator pulling and analyzing online marketing data from across the market to provide dealers with actionable insight. There have been lots of all nighters, skipped weekends and holidays, and lots of blood sweat and tears from not just me, but also the awesome “Drivers” on the team who have brought us this far. The best part is we are just getting started!
Most of you know I travel extensively around the world speaking to dealer audiences and helping them understand the trends in the market place. I’ve already flown over 241,000 miles in the first three quarters of this year alone! Traveling that much, with 35 employees and a business that is growing like crazy, it’s a challenge for me to lead our vision, serve our customers and run the day to day operations of the company, not to mention take care of my wonderful wife and 4 kids. This is where Kevin comes in.
I’m not stepping down, but I’ve brought in one of the people that I look up to the most in our industry, to help execute on my vision. We are stepping up our horsepower in a serious way. I’ll continue lead our vision, evangelize our message, serve our customers and ultimately run the company from the top. Kevin will help create and execute the details of our strategy and run the day-to-day operations to make sure we are over-delivering on our promises to the industry.
Kevin has been a trusted mentor to me, and has served on our advisory board since 2009. He comes to us from Dealer.com, where he was Chief Strategy and Chief Product Officer. He helped build DriverSide and led Cobalt’s research and training divisions. Back in the day he even ran marketing for a dealership group, and while there built the first Ford website in the world. It’s no wonder JD Power and Associates named him one of the top 10 automotive pioneers of the Internet. His research is known around the globe and personally, he is just a really good dude! I’m flattered he was willing to invest his time and energy into serving you, the automotive community, with us here at DrivingSales.
You can read the full press release here.
Please join me in welcoming Kevin Root to the DrivingSales team. We hope to see you all at DSES at the end of the month!