Our future means engaging in industry events

A Message from VADA President and CEO Don Hall

February 2024

As I reflect on the recent NADA Show and look forward to the VADA Annual Convention in June, a thought persists: the power of the dealer body and importance of staying connected to our industry's pulse.

This month’s NADA Show in Las Vegas was a reminder of the collective strength and innovation within the auto industry. It's a place to get inspired, recharge, and learn about emerging trends, such as electric vehicles and the latest tech shaping our operations.

As I looked around the room at our reception with the Maryland and WANADA, I saw many familiar faces. But I also noticed those of you who were not there, and it's apparent that more Virginia dealers should take part in these events — especially senior management.

A few Virginia groups had numerous leaders in attendance. For example, Carter Myers Automotive brings a huge delegation to these shows, and it shows in their forward-charging dealership operations.

The NADA Show isn't just an opportunity for learning; it's a venue to contribute to our industry and our Association’s collective wisdom and strength. It is disheartening when I hear short-sighted views that perceive attendance at these gatherings as a loss of valuable time back at the dealership. I truly believe it is your loss and that of your dealership organization.

With 45 years in the industry, I've learned that our success is intertwined with the contributions of those who came before us and the collective effort of our peers. No dealer is an island, and the future of our industry depends on our shared engagement and willingness to learn from one another.

So when these events come up, show up.

Show up in South Carolina

The upcoming VADA Convention in June is a pivotal opportunity for us to come together, share insights, and shape the future of retail automotive in the Commonwealth. If you haven’t registered, do so. And thank our growing list of sponsors listed on the website — many of whom are your valued partners. If you can’t attend, I am absolutely sure you have members of your team who would be honored to attend in your place. Support your dealer association!  It is indeed your obligation.

A Showing at Dealer Day on the Hill

Moreover, engagement at events like Dealer Day on the Hill highlights the importance of active participation in shaping the legislative environment affecting our industry. More than 50 dealers turned out for this event in late January, where we not only advocated for our priority Buy/Sell legislation (details in our latest Capitol Briefs), but educated a slate of new lawmakers on the importance of the franchise system.

With over 36,000 individuals working in Virginia dealerships, imagine the impact we could have if we mobilized a larger presence to advocate for our interests and demonstrate our commitment to responsible and innovative industry practices. What if, instead of 50 of you, 500 showed up next year?

Consider the benefits of active participation in industry events. It's about more than just the immediate takeaways; it's about fostering a culture of continuous learning, collaboration, and advocacy that will propel our industry forward.

Let's build our presence at the NADA and VADA conventions, not just for the sake of attendance, but to actively contribute to and shape the future of the auto industry in Virginia.

And congratulations to Virginia’s TIME Dealer of the Year, Barry Nelson

Finally, I want to congratulate Barry Nelson, owner of Autos by Nelson in Martinsville, on his recognition as the TIME Dealer of the Year for Virginia at a ceremony with other nominees at the NADA Show.

Barry has never served on a VADA Board, but he’s a true leader in his local community. We are always looking for dealers who “lead from the front” like Barry does.

See what happens when you show up? You get your face on the cover of TIME!

Left to right: Jessica Sibley, CEO of TIME; Barry Nelson, President of Autos by Nelson; Don Hall, VADA President and CEO; Doug Timmerman, Ally Interim CEO and President of Dealer Financial Services