As many of you know, I am an avid marathon runner. I run several marathons a year, including the London Marathon. This year, I traveled to London with my family several days in advance to get settled and start my pre-marathon routine to ensure I was in top shape.

This year held special significance to me, as this year marked ten years since I ran my first marathon. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and posted an embarrassingly long time: over four hours. Ten years later – and ten years older – and I have shaved more than an hour off my time, and run countless other marathons across the country. Every time I start training for a marathon, I am reminded through all the pain, soreness and stiff muscles and joints how to work hard at something you love.

 

Photos: A mix of pre- and post-race alongside my running partners, as well as a shot during the 26-mile trek.

 

 

A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at a Honda Grassroots Meeting for Zone 8 by the zone manager. For those who know me and the Paragon dealerships, Zone 8 is not my zone. In fact, it is far from my zone, in the upper Midwest.

 

It’s always a great opportunity to spend time outside of my bubble and see how the rest of the country does business. Brainstorming and sharing knowledge is critical to building each other up, because as Honda dealers we should be allies instead of foes.

 

I was honored that Honda corporate thought that my thoughts and business philosophies would be valuable enough to share with fellow Honda dealers, particularly in a market so different from New York. And yet, the central theme of my presentation was one that affects all dealers across the nation. I believe our industry is under attack in the form of Tesla, Google and Apple. The warning signs are here, and there is no mistaking the direction in which the consumer wants our industry to evolve. That evolution may not include us, the dealer.

 

Hope is not lost. The best part about these warning signs are just that – they are signs, signals of the impending change. We have time to adjust and to adapt before the rain comes. Adjust your business models and adapt to the consumer while times are good.

 

Fix the roof while the sun is shining.

 

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Photo: This photo was taken during the presentation at the beautifully classic Renaissance Blackstone Chicago hotel.

Last week, Paragon Honda was honored with the distinction of #1 Honda Certified Pre-Owned Dealer in the nation for 2015. Several wonderful folks from American Honda visited Paragon Honda to personally deliver this award, including Mr. Hiroshi Aizawa, Mr. Ray Mikiciuk and Mr. Sam Dolente.

I am incredibly proud of my team for working hard every minute of every day of 2015 to earn this award. It is a significant accomplishment. It speaks to our ability to provide the right product at the right price to large numbers of people, and our market has responded favorably to this value proposition.

 

#1 Volume Dealer Award pic

 

Cover Photo: (From left) Hiroshi Aizawa, Honda Division Coordinator; Ray Mikiciuk, Honda Senior Manager U.S. Field Sales; Sam Dolente, Honda Zone Manager, from American Honda present Paragon Honda with the #1 Honda CPO Dealer Award 2015.

Post Photo: Several members of our Paragon Honda management team. (From left): Rob Patel, Jason Graciano, Mike Adovic, Sasha Kekovic and Ariel Munoz.

I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for the 2016 Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, Florida. It was an incredible event, attended by the best and the brightest in the industry. Shared wisdom only makes us collectively better.

My presentation topic was one that I’ve been speaking about for quite a while now, and something that has me very, very worried. As an industry, we need to wake up and acknowledge the dangerous external threats we are facing in the form of Google, Apple and Tesla. These tech titans have declared their intention to build their own vehicles and disrupt our industry in measures not seen since widespread adoption of cars decades ago. It is time to act, get your own house in order before it is too late. Fix the roof while the sun is shining on us.

Photo: Backstage view during my presentation at the beautiful Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami, Florida.