I had the honor recently to be the guest lecturer for the graduating class of automotive business management students at Northwood University in Cerritos, CA. It was a great experience for me to share my adventures of 30 years in the automotive industry. Even better, I was surrounded by super-eager people that are looking forward to a career in auto retail. And let me tell ya folks, these students could give some GM’s a run for their money.
Northwood’s new facility, the Southland/Cerritos Center for Transportation Technologies, had their ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday. “The Village” gathered to introduce their crowning achievement. SCCTT is supported by the Southland Motor Car Dealers Assoc., the Greater LA New Car Dealers Assoc., individual dealers and manufacturers. This state-of-the-art facility serves as a comprehensive hub for our industry and it’s the only university in North America to offer a B.A. in automotive retail management.
Traditionally, every job in the car business has been self-taught. We used to joke about how we all could use our various college degrees for paper towels for all the good it did us in the car business. Operating a store has always required insight and understanding of human behavior mixed with a gut-feeling as a guide. These days though, an all-inclusive understanding includes complex, well-organized and logical approaches that are evident in formal learning environments. Marrying the two worlds is ideal.
Northwood understands this concept and fosters input from leaders in the industry. I’m eager to see the result of Northwood’s curriculum. The students are enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The application of that knowledge in the real-world environment will build stronger organizations for years to come.