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2015 TalkAUTO Canada: Speakers

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The Future of Automotive Retail in CanadaTuesday, November 10, 2015

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

Don Romano, President and CEO, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.
Josh Bailey, Vice President, Research and Editorial, Canadian Black Book
Alan H. Bird, President & Chief Executive Leader, SCI Marketview
Christian Chia, President and Chief Executive Officer of OpenRoad Auto Group Limited
Stephen Chipman, President and CEO, Birchwood Automotive Group
Emain Kadri, Chairman, Phaeton Automotive Group
Robert Karwel, Senior Manager, Automotive Practice, J.D. Power
Dale Lacombe, Executive Vice-President of Corporate Sales, DMT Development Systems Group Inc.
Carol A. Meissner, Professor, Automotive Business School of Canada @ Georgian College 
J.D. Ney, Manager, Automotive Practice, J.D. Power
Mary Nurse, President, Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd.
J.Raymond O’Kane, Vice President, OEM Strategy and Development, Automotive Finance, BMO Bank of Montreal
Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book
Jeff Schuster, Senior Vice President of Forecasting, LMC Automotive
Charles L. Seguin, President, Seguin Advisory Services
Darren Slind, Senior Director, Regional Automotive Practice Leader
Renee Stephens, Vice President, Auto Quality, J.D. Power
Mike Stollery, President and Co-founder, SF Automotive Group; President, MJS Holdings and Management Inc.
Andrew Tai, CEO,  Unhaggle

Don Romano

Don Romano (Keynote)

President and CEO
Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.

Don Romano has accumulated 30 years of automotive experience in Canada, the U.S., and overseas while working for the Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan brands. His previous roles included President of Mazda Canada (2006-2012); Chief Marketing Officer for North America with Mazda (2000-2012); and Senior Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer with ALJ International in the Middle East (2012-2014) where he oversaw all operations and achieved over 40% market share and 300,000 new Toyota vehicle sales annually.

Mr. Romano joined Hyundai Auto Canada as Chief Operating Officer in January 2014. He was promoted to President and CEO in May, 2014.

Josh Bailey

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.

Alan Bird

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.

Christian Chia

Christian Chia

President and Chief Executive Officer
OpenRoad Auto Group Limited

Christian Chia is the President and Chief Executive Officer of OpenRoad Auto Group Limited.

OpenRoad is one of Western Canada's largest, privately-held automobile dealer groups with 17 locations, 12 brands, annual revenues of over $7OO million and more than 8OO employees. Founded in 1978, the company has its head office in Richmond and operations throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

OpenRoad is known for its innovative and customer-focused retail operations. With some of the most advanced dealerships in Canada, the company is leading the industry in areas of customer intimacy, process improvement, service amenities and technology utilization. OpenRoad is Western Canada's largest volume automotive retailer.

Chia was educated at the University of British Columbia and received his Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance. In 1991 he was recognized by UBC as a Lesley Wong Fellow. Chia also completed the Canadian Securities Course with Honours.

Prior to joining OpenRoad in 1998, Chia established and managed Summit Motors, one of only five distributors for BMW automobiles in China and an authorised dealer of Toyota and Lexus vehicles in five Provinces in the PRC. He was previously employed by Toyota Motor Corporation in Tokyo and was engaged in the finance industry in Toronto and Victoria prior to that. In 2OO9 he co-established Trans China Automotive LLP, an investment fund with retail automotive investments in China.

He has been active in numerous community and charitable activities and is a member of the British Columbia Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization. Chia has served on a number of industry boards including the British Columbia Automobile Dealer Association. He was previously the co-chair of the Vancouver International Auto Show and a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Financing. He is currently the chairman of the Lexus Dealers' Communications Team and a member of the Audi Dealer Advisory Council. Chia also serves as a Director of Servco Pacific Inc., the Toyota and Lexus Distributor for Hawaii, and a member of UBC's Sauder School of Business Faculty Advisory Board.

Chia is married and the father of two children.


Stephen Chipman

President and CEO
Birchwood Automotive Group

Stephen Chipman is the President and CEO of the Birchwood Automotive Group which is Manitoba’s largest dealership group employing over 1000 people in its 16 dealerships and 2 collision centres. He has had former careers as a teacher and a lawyer. Steve has served on many community and industry boards most recently as Chair of the Winnipeg United Way Campaign and of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. He was recently appointed to the Nissan Global Dealer Advisory Board. He was recognized as the 2010 CADA Laureate Award winner in the Innovator category.

Emain Kadri

Emain Kadrie

Chairman and Chief Inspirational Officer
Phaeton Automotive Group

Emain Kadrie serves as the chairman and chief inspirational officer for Phaeton Automotive Group, a position he’s held since 1993. Mr. Kadrie has been active within the automotive industry for years, gaining experience and exposure as the former president of GM International Dealers Association, former president of Hyundai International Distributors Association, and a Cadillac master dealer. He has also achieved recognition as a recipient of the Ford President Award, Toyota President Pride, Lexus Pursuit of Excellence Award, and CADA Laureate for innovation.

Robert Karwel

Robert Karwel

Senior Manager, Automotive Practice
J.D. Power

Robert Karwel is Senior Manager of Automotive Practice in Canada, responsible for management of the PIN data system. PIN Explorer is the leading vehicle transaction database system in Canada which is used by the OEMs and dealers to help manage vehicle sales performance.

Mr. Karwel joined J.D. Power in 2014. He brings with him a decade of experience within the Canadian auto industry working in Product Planning, Incentive Planning and Market research roles at Nissan Canada and Infiniti Canada, and working with GM Canada’s agency partner on Market research. Previous to that, Robert has also worked on Bay Street in the Financial industry at CIBC Mellon Global Securities, and at Daimler Chrysler Financial.

Mr. Karwel has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Toronto.

Dale Lacombe

Dale Lacombe

Executive Vice-President of Corporate Sales
DMT Development Systems Group Inc.

Dale Lacombe has accumulated 25 years of experience in the technology and consulting sectors across Canada and the United States. He has led international sales and professional services teams serving clients in the automotive, manufacturing, financial services and public sector markets throughout North America. In his role as Executive Vice-President of Corporate Sales for DMT Development Systems Group Inc., he is responsible for DMT’s Canadian OEM clients. Prior to joining DMT, he held senior management and executive roles at PwC LLP and Emerging Information Systems Inc. (EISI).

Mr. Lacombe earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce (finance and marketing) with honors from the University of Manitoba.  He is an active board member of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, having served as Chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Health since 2011.

Carol A. Meissner

Carol A. Meissner

Automotive Business School of Canada @ Georgian College

Professor Meissner is not your typical accountant. She blends automotive dealership experience with contemporary pedagogy and her own brand of enthusiasm to make even accounting fun. This earned her the Georgian College Board of Governor’s Award of Excellence - Academic in 2014.

Carol is a former car dealership controller and self-employed accountant who has spent the last 10 years teaching full-time at the Automotive Business School of Canada. Her courses in accounting and dealership financial statements help her students make the link between financial literacy and success in business. Recently, she was invited to develop and teach the financial management course and work as faculty mentor in the new Automotive Dealership Management graduate certificate program.

Carol is the lead author of two accounting textbooks written for the Canadian College/University market and has worked as a subject matter expert for the creation of online accounting courses and resource materials for several publishers and OMVIC. 

In addition to her professional accounting designation (CPA, CGA), she has earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Business Administration degree.

JD Ney

J.D. Ney

Manager, Automotive Practice
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.

Mary Nurse

Mary Nurse

Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd.

The commitment to provide an exceptional customer experience has brought industry and customer attention to Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac. Through continuous technological innovation, process analysis, customer amenities and amazing team members, Nurse delivers an environment that provides value and convenience during every experience. 

Another important aspect that Mary and the management team value is giving back to the local community. This includes involvement and support with organizations in the health, educational, cultural and youth sectors.

The team at Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac has won numerous recognition awards in recent years, including Canadian Automobile Dealer Association – Retailer of the year (2011), North American Women’s Retail Network Performance Award (2011) and the Whitby Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award (2013). 

Mary completed a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor and Masters of Education from the University of Toronto. She spent the first 20 years of her career as an educator, after which she joined the family business becoming Dealer in 2001.

Ray O'Kane

J.Raymond O’Kane

Vice President, OEM Strategy and Development, Automotive Finance
BMO Bank of Montreal

Oversight of the retail automotive business for BMO Bank of Montreal is led by Ray O’Kane, Vice President, OEM Strategy and Development of Automotive 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.

Brad Rome

Brad Rome

Canadian Black Book

Brad Rome is President of Canadian Black Book Inc. and brings more than 25 years experience in the Automotive Industry. Brad was appointed to his current role in March 2015 by Hearst Business Media Group after they acquired WM. Ward Publishing Inc. Prior to this, Rome was Vice President Sales & Marketing at WM. Ward Publishing and was instrumental in the successful launch of the CBB consumer website. Prior to his tenure at CBB, Brad was part of the launch team for XM Satellite Radio in Canada and held senior roles in the areas of Automotive Marketing and Media for more than 15 years.

Jeff Schuster

Jeff Schuster

Senior Vice President of 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.


Charles L. Seguin

Seguin Advisory Services

Chuck is President of Seguin Advisory Services (SAS) a thriving consulting practice focusing exclusively on automotive retailing. 

Automotive retailing is relationship between new vehicles sales, used vehicle sales, finance, after-sale vehicle service, parts and accessories, customers and employees. Chuck has been involved in the industry for over 30 years. His international client list contains automotive manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and dealer groups, trade associations, financial institutions and automotive retail product service providers.    

During his career, Chuck has worked with many automotive entities on a Canadian and global stage. These opportunities allowed him to be exposed to many different aspects of automotive retailing. 

Likely best known in the dealer world for his succession planning focus, Chuck is also active in dealership valuation, buy / sells, estate planning, market studies, expert witness and industry research projects and is considered by many within the industry to be one of Canada’s leading automotive retail independent advisors.

He is a regular speaker at industry events and a regular contributor to Canadian Auto Dealer Magazine.  Chuck has also been a course designer and both in-class and on-line instructor at the Automotive Business School of Canada, located at Georgian College in Barrie. His most recent project for the ABSC is the development of a graduate program in Automobile Dealership Management to give Canadian dealers and OEM an alternative to sending future Canadian retail leaders to the NADA Academy in the US.

Chuck is also active in the community having completed an 11-year post that included acting as Treasurer and Board Chair of St John’s Rehab Hospital in North York, Ontario. Now part of the Sunnybrook Health network, St. John’s is Canada’s largest stand-alone rehabilitation facility specializing in trauma, stoke, burns, work place injuries rehabilitation. He is also immediate Past President and Board Chair of the Midland Golf & Country Club.  

Darren Slind thumbnail

Darren Slind

Senior Director, Regional Automotive 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.

Renee Stephans

Renee Stephens

Vice President, Auto Quality
J.D. Power

Renee Stephens is Vice President of U.S. Auto Quality at J.D. Power. She is responsible for key U.S. automotive quality studies designed to bring the Voice of the Customer (VOC) into the vehicle and component development and delivery process. Additionally, she leads innovation projects and endeavors to understand customer behavior and preferences in the HMI areas and improve VOC visibility in the supply base.

Previously, Ms. Stephens worked at General Motors, most recently serving as director of quality data management in GM international operations, based in Seoul, Korea. In that role, she was responsible for quality improvement in current and future products across Asia, Europe, Russia/CIS, Africa, Oceania, South America and the Middle East as well as products shipped to 140 countries globally.

Ms. Stephens spent 10 years as a certified quality engineer with the American Society of Quality and was acting as dean of the GM Quality College for five years. She was awarded the GM Korea President’s award and received two GM “People Make Quality Happen” awards. She is also frequently quoted in major media publications on industry quality.

Ms. Stephens received a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in business administration concentrating in marketing research from Wayne State University.

Mike Stollery

Mike Stollery

President and Co-founder, SF Automotive Group
President, MJS Holdings and Management Inc. (Mike Stollery Automotive Partnerships)

Mike is the President and Co-founder of SF Automotive Group. He is also the President of MJS Holdings & Management Inc. (Mike Stollery Automotive Partnerships). Stollery and his business partner, Ryan Finch, have ownership in 20 automobile dealerships (various brands) located throughout Ontario. 

Community and Industry involvement are core values, cemented in the foundation of SF Automotive. The group is involved with numerous charity and community events within each dealerships’ market area. Mike is a past Chair of Ford of Canada’s dealer council process (Roundtable). Currently, he is Ford of Canada’s sole dealer representative on Ford Motor Company’s Global Consumer Experience Roundtable. He is also a past chair of Co-Auto Cooperative Inc. 

Mike is passionate about Georgian College. He is the Chairman of the College’s $40,000,000.00 Power of Education capital campaign. He is also a board member at the Automotive Business School of Canada, where he is heavily involved with the annual Auto show and chairs the Curriculum Advisory Board. 

Mike lives outside of Barrie, on Lake Simcoe, with his wife Lesley and two children.

Andrew Tai

Andrew Tai


Andrew Tai is CEO of Unhaggle, a technology and data company that facilitates e-commerce for the automotive industry. Unhaggle’s solutions encompass the entire purchase journey from a consumer’s first click to them driving off the lot. Unhaggle powers many of the largest automotive websites in Canada and its solutions are trusted by leading dealership groups, OEMs, banks, and insurance companies.

Prior to Unhaggle, Andrew was an investment professional at Onex Partners, one of the oldest and most successful private equity firms in North American, where he worked alongside portfolio companies and evaluated investments in manufacturing, automotive, and business services.

Elena Sheehy
Conference Administrator
J.D. Power
Phone: 416-507-3252