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Students fine-tuning 60th Auto Show

September 26, 2023

The public is invited to come “connect” at the 60th Northwood University International Auto Show, Oct. 6-8 in Midland.

“This year’s theme is ‘CONNECT’ because we want to inspire others to come together and connect with students and car fanatics from all different places,” stated General Chair Cole Briggs, a graduate student from Port Huron. “Plenty of business opportunities and friendships are started with their first connections and the building of a network, and we wanted to incorporate Northwood’s role in that by connecting students and businesses alike; and bring people together at our positive family-friendly event.”

The Northwood University International Auto Show is the largest outdoor student-run car show in North America.

This year’s show will display more than 500 vehicles from over 65 manufacturers, vendors, and private owners. Attendees will see a wide range of cars, including rare multi-million dollar hypercars curated from the Winkleman Collection that is owned by a Northwood alumnus and long-time supporter. There will also be a classic Corvette recently donated to Northwood by Dianne and Michael Morey, of Mount Pleasant, and cars from Rick Hendrick’s private collection. Hendrick is the owner of Hendrick Automotive Group, the largest privately-held automotive retail organization in the U.S.

The show also will feature multiple signature events, sports games, photos, interactive booths, and an opportunity to meet with Northwood’s student volunteers who run the entire show. For guests age 21 and up, alcohol will be served at Tavern 59 from 1 to 3 p.m. at a stand at Northwood’s Hantz Stadium during the football game, and then from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Four Seasons space on the Mall Walk. That space will feature live music and a wood-side grill on Saturday, Oct. 7. There also will be food trucks in the Specialty Lot that will give everyone more food options.

A VIP panel is scheduled to take place from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Northwood’s Griswold Lecture Hall. It will feature Paul Bearden, regional manager of Honda; Nikki Paschall, marketing lead at Michigan CAT; Collin Shaw, chief operating officer for Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association; Lori Wittman, president of retail solutions at Cox Automotive; and Mike Schwab, president and CEO at NGK Spark Plugs USA, Inc.

“The VIP panel is an inspiring opportunity for students and attendees to learn more about the automotive industry,” stated Signature Events Chair Pietro Vitale, a Northwood student from Woodhaven, Michigan. “The panel consists of a unique set of professionals who come from various backgrounds and have all found their own paths through their love of their industries. Attendees will be empowered and inspired by these leaders — and our students will make new connections to help them succeed in their future.”

A Women in Automotive Roundtable is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in the McNair Center located in the Plaster Free Enterprise Center on Naegele Drive. The panel is sponsored by CDK Global and will be moderated by Northwood First Lady Mary-Ellen MacPhee.

Panelists will include Susan Michaels, OEM & Partners Development executive for CDK Global; Alicia Thomas, vice president of acquisitions at Capital Automotive; Rita Bragg, vice president of acquisitions at Capital Automotive; Sarah Vantine, vice president of sales at Quantum5; Lisa Kusey-Rechsteiner, Graff Chevrolet partner/owner-operator; Heather Sattler, OEM sales at CDK Global; Jen Cole, vice president of OEM Business at CDK Global; Kathy Gilbert, senior director at CDK Global; Tammy Horner, OEM director of sales at CDK Global; and Diane Schmidt, program manager at CDK Global.

“The Women in Automotive Roundtable event is a great opportunity for attendees to interact with some of the most influential female leaders in the automotive industry,” stated Sydney Rizo, a Harrison Township student who is this year’s Auto Show signature events vice chair. “Attendees will be able to connect and discuss business strategies along with market trends impacting the ever-changing automotive market.”

Rizo noted it’s inspiring to witness Northwood alumni and supporters share their experiences and valuable insights, while also promoting the show.

“I’m excited to be a part of the enlightening conversations and collaboration with everyone involved,” she added.

To close out the show, there will be a Cars & Coffee event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8.

“This is my favorite event of Auto Show weekend because I love seeing how passionate and supportive the car community is of the show, and we have cars from all ages and types,” said Classic Car Chair, Leyton Billups, a student from Leesburg, Virginia, who is the classic car chair for this year’s auto show. “Anyone who wants to register for Cars & Coffee can email me at .”

From planning to execution, the Northwood University International Auto Show is entirely run by students who serve on an executive board. Other members of this year’s e-board include:

• Sabastien Upham of East Lansing — Logistics Chair

• Sawyer Jordan of Midland— Logistics Vice Chair

• Riley Hayer of Clare — Finance Chair

• Connor Bachteal of St. Joseph — Finance Vice Chair

• Jordan Barker of Hartland — Donor Relations Chair

• Brooke Engelhardt of Saline — Marketing Chair

• Tyler Tidwell of Port Huron — Marketing Innovations Chair

• Vanessa Collins of Clio — Social Media Chair

• Katrina Ness of Birmingham — Public Relations Chair

• Alex Mazon of New York, New York — Operations Chair

• Nick Salamone of Northville — Domestic Divisional

• Matisse Dornier-Duff of Whitehall — European Divisional

• Sam Caldwell of Romeo — Asian Divisional

• Owen Hayes of Whitehall — Specialty Divisional

• Miranda Prieur of Novi — Aftermarket Chair

• Ethan Moots of Brown City — Aftermarket Vice Chair

Admission is free for the Northwood University International Auto Show as a thanks to our generous sponsors and an effort to give back to the local community.

“We are incredibly excited to share all of the hard work that our executive board and student volunteers have worked on for the past year,” stated Brooke Engelhardt, a student from Saline who is serving as the show’s marketing chair. “Come connect with us for the 60th year of the Northwood University International Auto Show!”

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