The American Truck Dealers (ATD) announced a new program aimed at developing the next wave of medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers to effectively run their own businesses.
The initiative, “Next Generation ATD,” will kick off at a networking reception sponsored by Successful Dealer (a sister publication of Truck Parts & Service) at the ATD Convention and Expo, held this year in Phoenix, April 15-18.
“Today, commercial truck dealerships across the country are facing the reality that many baby boomers currently running the business will be retiring or have already retired and need to be replaced,” says Kyle Treadway, ATD chairman.
“At a time when many ATD members are transitioning ownership of the dealership to their children, Next Gen ATD will help prepare the dealers of tomorrow as well as see who’s interested in taking on a leadership positions at the association,” adds Treadway, president of Kenworth Sales Company in West Valley City, Utah.
ATD members (45 years old and younger) or recent NADA-ATD Academy graduates in dealership management positions are encouraged to join the new program. Eligible ATD members will soon receive an invitation to attend the group’s first meeting at the upcoming convention.
“Next Gen ATD will make it possible for us to meet dealers with similar backgrounds, share ideas and look for ways to improve our business operations,” says Katie Hopkins, Next Gen ATD chairman and executive vice president of Truck Centers Inc. in St. Louis, Mo. “The new program will also help younger association members, many second-, third- and fourth-generation dealers, make a smoother transition when it’s their time to run the family business.”
“Dealers like me are finding out that we have a lot in common with our peers across the country,” says Hopkins, a third-generation dealer. “We face many of the same challenges, share many of the same goals and care deeply about the future of truck retailing.”
NADA University is currently developing an online social networking platform so the group’s members can stay connected. The Next Gen ATD committee also is planning to host quarterly events, educational seminars and mentoring programs.
“We’re looking to Next Gen ATD to become more comfortable about stepping off the sidelines and getting into the game,” says Tucker Morgan of Kenworth Sales Company.
According to Hopkins the Next Gen steering committee developed its vision statement — Leadership development and the advancement of truck dealers and managers of the future through peer relationships, education and networking — to guide it in determining the course for the group.
Amy Kyrish of SanTex Truck Center, who recently graduated from the Dealer Academy says what attracted her to Next Gen was “the idea of being able to connect with the rest of the industry. I see this as a forum where we can share information and ideas, ask questions and learn more.”