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2014 TalkAUTO Canada: Speakers

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The Future of Automotive Retail in Canada
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our excellent line-up of speakers and panelists includes:
More speakers will be posted soon

Alan H. Bird, President, Chief Executive Leader, SCI MarketView
Josh Bailey, Vice President, Research and Editorial, Canadian Black Book
Mike Battaglia, Senior Director, Retail Practice, J.D. Power
Dianne Craig, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company Canada
Michael Croxon, President and CEO, The NewRoads Automotive Group
David Henderson, Co-Founder, SocialDealz Inc.
Jamie Johnston, General Manager, Orangeville Honda
Peter Stuart MacDonald, President, Alex MacDonald Ford
J.D. Ney, Manager, Automotive Research and Consulting, Canada, J.D. Power
Raymond O’Kane, Managing Director and Head of National Retail Dealer Finance, BMO Bank of Montreal
Jeff Schuster, Senior Vice President of Forecasting, LMC Automotive
Darren Slind, Senior Director, Regional Practice Leader, Canada and Latin America, J.D. Power
Pieter van der Griend, Dealer Principal, Stouffville Hyundai and Stouffville Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/RAM
Monte Weis, President and Owner, Weis & Associates Inc.

Alan H. Bird
President, Chief Executive Leader
SCI MarketView

Alan serves as the president, chief executive leader and a board member of SCI MarketView. Before joining SCI MarketView in June 2010, he served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of Curomax Corporation, a company he founded in 2000 then subsequently sold to DealerTrack in 2007. Under Alan's leadership, Curomax successfully launched the first multi-asset indirect finance portal in North America in 2000. Prior to forming Curomax, Alan was senior vice president and general manager of FinanciaLinx, a division of CIT Group/Newcourt Credit and the Bank of Montreal.

Josh Bailey
Vice President, Research and Editorial
Canadian Black Book

Josh Bailey is Vice President of Research and Editorial at Canadian Black Book. He has a great passion for all things automotive and he has devoted more than 15 years to the business, working in retail, manufacturers’ head offices and for service providers. After graduating from the Canadian Automotive Institute, he worked at Reynolds & Reynolds and the head offices of both Honda Canada and Kia Canada. Prior to attending the Institute, he worked at a Chrysler dealership, where he learned the retail trade.

Mike Battaglia
Senior Director, Retail Practice
J.D. Power

Mike Battaglia is Senior Director of the Retail Practice in the Global Automotive Division at J.D. Power. He is responsible for designing, developing and delivering both syndicated and proprietary research projects and performance improvement solutions for manufacturers and dealers. Mike has been with J.D. Power for over 8 years.

Prior to joining the company in 2006, he spent six years with SmartDisk Corporation, a consumer electronics firm specializing in digital media and storage hardware, where he managed all account activities throughout the western United States. Earlier, he held various management positions at Covington Pike Toyota in Memphis, TN including sales management, finance and business development. Prior, he spent six years with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. in numerous field management positions, including sales, distribution and training.

Mr. Battaglia earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Boston College.

Dianne Craig
President and CEO
Ford Motor Company Canada

Dianne Craig is president and CEO of Ford Motor Company Canada, appointed to the position in November 2011. She leads Ford of Canada's operations across the country, including a national headquarters, three regional offices, two branch offices, three vehicle assembly and engine manufacturing plants and two parts distribution centres.

Ford employs approximately 6,000 people in Canada, while an additional 18,000 people are employed in the more than 400 Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealerships across the country.

"My experience with Ford most recently has been in markets with very unique buyer preferences," said Craig. "I want to take that learned experience, coupled with the Canadian dealer body support, and apply it to the equally unique Canadian market for future success and growth."

Craig was the general manger for the Southeast market area, a position she assumed in March 2009. In this role, Craig was responsible for all marketing, sales and service operations for 520 Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealers in the Southeast United States (N.C., S.C., GA, Ala. and Fla.).

Craig joined the company in 1986 in an entry level field position and has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in Dearborn including advertising, product marketing, contests and incentives and field operations. She has extensive field experience including her assignment as the regional sales manager in the Pittsburgh Regional Sales Office in addition to other field assignments in the Detroit, Memphis and Atlanta regional offices.

Between 2005 and 2009, Craig was responsible for Ford and Lincoln Mercury U.S. dealer relations. In this capacity, she led the National Ford and Lincoln Mercury Dealer Council process and other related dealer activities including National Dealer Meetings.

"I've had so many wonderful experiences at Ford that have allowed me to grow professionally and learn the automotive business and as a result – afforded me the opportunity to contribute and make a difference," said Craig. "Now to be been given the opportunity to serve the Ford of Canada team and our dealers as president and CEO is an incredible honour and responsibility."

From a personal point of view, Craig is most proud of her family. She has been married for 18 years and has a 14 year-old daughter.

"My daughter is a constant reminder of how precious life is and she gives me a strong purpose—to be the best I can be everyday," said Craig. "I strive to be a great role model for her."

Craig graduated from the State University of New York and holds an MBA from Ohio State. Outside of work she loves to garden, exercise and spend time with her family. Craig also enjoys skiing and occasionally golfing.

"I truly believe there is something very special about working at Ford – and a big part of what makes Ford special is our great team and our terrific dealer network," said Craig.

Michael Croxon
President and CEO
The NewRoads Automotive Group

Michael Croxon is President and CEO of The NewRoads Automotive Group. NewRoads is currently comprised of NewRoads Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC, NewRoads Kia, and Richmond Hill Subaru. Michael also has an interest in North York Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat and VanDusen Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, though he does not operate these locations. Previous to his current position, Michael was a BMW dealer for nine years, but ended up selling the Open Roads BMW dealership in 2012. Michael is very involved within the industry, as he sits on many different manufacturer boards, including GM’s Marketing Advisory Board, GM’s Technology Board, GM’s Communications Team, Subaru’s Regional and National Dealer Advisory Board, and Kia’s National DAB.

David Henderson
SocialDealz Inc.

David is the Founder & CEO of Unwired Web Solutions and The Find Network along with being the Co-Founder of SocialDealz Inc., a social marketing agency with focus and expertise in business to consumer marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and various other social platforms.

Jamie Johnston
General Manager
Orangeville Honda

Jamie has 17 years of dealership experience. Before Orangeville Honda, Jamie and his family had been involved with Frost GM for two generations where he worked at all levels in the dealership. Starting in the wash bay, Jamie eventually worked his way into the sales department culminating in his role as General Sales Manager.

Jamie studied economics and graduated from the University of Guelph.He lives in Caledon with his wife and 2 daughters and loves to play hockey and golf.

Peter Stuart MacDonald
Alex MacDonald Ford

Peter MacDonald is President and CEO of four Auto Dealerships on Prince Edward Island. Mr. MacDonald started his career in public accounting, quickly moving into management in the private sector. He moved back to his home town of Summerside in 1984 to work and buy the family Ford Dealership. In 2006 he added a second and third Ford Dealerships in Charlottetown and Montague. In 2011 he and a brother opened a Hyundai Dealership in Summerside.

Mr. MacDonald is currently President of the FDRA (Ford Dealer Roundtable Association of Canada) and Co-Chair of the National Ford Dealers Round Table. He is a past Director of CADA (Canadian Automobile Dealers Association), a Past President of the PEIADA (Prince Edward Island Automobile Dealers Association).

Peter and his wife Karen reside in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

J.D. Ney
Manager, Automotive Research and Consulting, Canada
J.D. Power

J.D. Ney is Manager, Automotive Research and Consulting at J.D Power’s Toronto office. He is responsible for day-to-day client service, providing Canada’s automotive decision-makers with reliable and actionable research insights using the company’s syndicated studies and the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power.

Mr. Ney also handles project leadership responsibilities for most of the J.D. Power Automotive Practice cornerstone syndicated research, providing clients across the industry with critical benchmark performance results across all of the major study areas. He also oversees the publication of the company’s popular Analyst Note, a monthly report that tackles intriguing, important or controversial issues in the Canadian automotive industry.

Prior to joining J.D. Power in 2011, Mr. Ney held senior editorial positions with Canadian magazine publications in the automotive, restaurant and hotel sectors.

Mr. Ney received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, and a master’s degree in journalism from Bond University in Australia.

Raymond O’Kane
Managing Director and Head of National Retail Dealer Finance
BMO Bank of Montreal

Oversight of the retail automotive business for BMO Bank of Montreal is led by Ray O’Kane, Managing Director and Head of National Retail Dealer Finance. While a banker for over 42 years, Ray’s last 15 years have been involved with BMO’s Automotive business. His accountabilities cover development and execution of the retail strategy while having had direct accountability for the national sales force, credit and client serving. His responsibilities also include the management of external relationships from suppliers to OEM’s and the Banks Captive programs. Ray lives in Oakville Ontario and is married to Janet has 3 sons and 2 grandchildren.

Jeff Schuster
Senior Vice President, Forecasting
LMC Automotive

Jeff Schuster is Senior Vice President of Forecasting at LMC Automotive, with responsibility for all activities in the Americas region. In addition, oversight of the global light vehicle sales and production forecasts and process is under his direction. Mr. Schuster is also a member of the LMC Automotive board of directors. Included in his role is the leadership and analysis that detail manufacturer, segment, platform, model, and plant trends. In addition, he is one of the firm’s primary global automotive experts.

Mr. Schuster has been tracking developments in the global automotive industry for nearly twenty years and has been with LMC Automotive since its inception in 2011. He is widely quoted by the automotive media in print, internet, radio and television. He frequently makes industry conference and seminar presentations covering various topics including, the current assessment and outlook of the automotive industry.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schuster led the automotive forecast division of J.D. Power and Associates and has experience in financial analysis and cash management in the automotive supply base.

Mr. Schuster holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Science degree in corporate finance from Walsh College. He is an active member of Society of Automotive Analysts and the Automotive Press Association.

Darren Slind
Senior Director and Regional Practice Leader
J.D. Power

Darren Slind is Senior Director and Regional Practice Leader for J.D. Power automotive business in Canada and Latin America, with particular focus on the Brazil and Mexico markets. He is responsible for client relationships, business growth and profitability across the region, as well as alignment of J.D. Power automotive operations globally.

Mr. Slind joined J.D. Power in 2000. Prior to his current position, he established the company’s performance improvement and real estate practice in Canada before assuming the role of country manager in 2009.

Mr. Slind has more than two decades of progressive sales, marketing and consulting experience. Prior to joining J.D. Power, he worked at Xerox Canada Ltd. and Nissan Canada Inc. He has consulted with leading companies and brands across several industries regarding how to achieve business performance gains through a deeper understanding of customer expectations and the alignment of key customer touch points to these expectations.

Mr. Slind earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Toronto and an MBA with distinction from the Schulich School of Business, York University.

Pieter van der Griend
Dealer Principal
Stouffville Hyundai and Stouffville Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/RAM

Pieter van der Griend has been within the retail automotive business for 28 years with major markets, such as Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Pieter received his bachelor’s degree from Mount Allison University, and later received his MBA from Queen’s University. His previous work includes working within corporate retail and OEM at Mercedes-Benz Canada Corporate for 10 years. He is on the Board of Directors of Co-Auto, as well as the National Dealer Advisory Counsel for Hyundai Auto Canada. He was named Canadian Dealer of the year by Mercedes-Benz Canada, and then later received the President Award of Merit from Hyundai Auto Canada in 2012 and 2013. Pieter is married with three children.

Monte Weis
President and Owner
Weis & Associates, Inc.

Monte Weis is the President and Owner of Weis & Associates, Inc. With nearly 20 years specializing in Automotive Retail Facilities, the Weis Team is a leader in Dealership Image Programs and Quality Management consulting. As facility investments continue to rise, Weis focuses on how to implement an "agile" facility that is flexible enough to grow with Dealer operations and industry trends. Weis also focuses very much not only on the cost per square foot implications of a Dealership Investment - but also on annual operating expenditures. Most importantly, the physical environment has a considerable impact on customers and employees.