Three Northwood University graduates recently landed on the distinguished Automotive News 40 Under 40 Retail List. Published annually, the listing highlights 40 up-and-comers who already are making their mark in dealerships across the United States.For the past four years, Automotive News has honored rising industry stars and spotlights “these youthful achievers” in its special 40 Under 40 Retail section. To be considered for the 2015 honor, candidates must work at a dealership in North America; have a significant business achievement and be younger than age 40 on July 13, 2015. They also needed to receive a nomination from someone other than themselves.
Northwood University alumni honorees on this year’s list include:
Michael Abbondanza, owner/general manager of Newton Nissan of Gallatin, Gallatin, Tennessee. Abbondanza graduated from Northwood University in 1999 with a degree in Marketing and Management. He and his partner, Bill Newton, acquired the dealership in 2009. At the time, it was selling less than 40 new and used vehicles a month. Monthly sales today top 240. In December 2013, the pair acquired a second store in Shelbyville, Tennessee, growing monthly sales volume from 70 to 130 in less than two years.
Jason House, general manager, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Richmond, Virginia. House, a 2005 Northwood graduate with a degree in Automotive Marketing and Management, became general manager of his dealership in the fall of 2014 when by Hendrick Automotive Group acquired the business. He set to work to improve throughput at the store, growing sales by 30 percent and becoming Hendrick’s top-performing, domestic-brand dealership. He comes from an automotive retail family. They own House Chevrolet in Stewartville, Minnesota.
Michael Weinert, general manager/managing partner, Garber Buick-GMC of Fort Pierce, Fort Pierce, Florida. A 1999 graduate of Northwood University’s Automotive Aftermarket Management degree track, Weinert left a high-volume Michigan Chevrolet dealership in 2014 to run a new store in Florida for Garber Automotive Group, a company that operates 14 stores in Michigan, Florida, New York and Illinois. The store has been under construction since Weinert’s arrival and had been losing money when he started, selling only 20 to 30 new and used vehicles per month. Sales losses have turned around and monthly sales already have nearly doubled.
“At Northwood University, we take great pride in our alumni and their accomplishments because they are part of our family,” says Northwood University President and CEO Keith A. Pretty. “As the school of choice for future automotive industry professionals, we appreciate having been an integral part of these individuals’ journeys to a thriving, distinguished career. Our sincere congratulations go out to Michael, Jason and Michael for this honor and a job well done.”