Honored to serve

Tormohlen looks back on year as NIADA president

As a lifelong car guy, Gordon Tormohlen has never turned down an opportunity to talk shop with fellow car dealers.

Traveling to different events around the country, Tormohlen has relished each chance to visit with peers in the past year as president of NIADA.

“I’ve been to a number of association and annual meetings and the biggest piece is just talking with fellow dealers,” Tormohlen said. “We all speak entrepreneur as a language but for them to realize that the guy that’s in the top position at the association is a normal dealer, not some highfalutin big mouth. We can talk about issues and what’s going on in their state, what they think about car sales and how F&I is doing for them or setting up a service department. I think it’s good for them to know that, and it’s been good for me to be seen in that regard.”

At each of the events, the veteran dealer from Freeport, Ill., was also learning as much as he could to improve his business just like the other attendees.

“I took notes at every association meeting I went to and I benefited by those meetings that the executives and committees set up at the state convention,” Tormohlen said. “They did a heck of a job. I benefitted greatly by being there. I’d take a few notes and pick up an idea or two.”

Tormohlen began his tenure as president last June at the NIADA Convention and from his opening statement laid the groundwork for helping dealers be successful.

“I want to see others thrive in this business and have the myriad of good experiences that I’ve had with it,” Tormohlen said.

“This is a dream business. You can start out with doggone near nothing and eventually wind up with a very significant business on your hands and earn a good living doing it.”

Tormohlen served on the NIADA Board of Directors for more than a decade before rising to the president’s seat last summer. It was just months after CEO Jeff Martin arrived from the Texas IADA and began working through some of the association’s financial constraints.

“I do feel we are on more firm footing than 12 months ago,” Tormohlen said. “Dealers will see that when we get to our annual meeting. We’re well ahead of our normal cash flow.”

Aside from the financial status, Tormohlen has seen the association make strides in unifying the industry, working with dealers, state associations and vendors.

The association also worked to be active in the past year with its advocacy efforts from filing an amicus brief in the NADA and TADA lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission on the “Combatting Auto Retail Scams” rule to bringing a coalition of industry leaders together to protect the use of GPS and starter interrupters in Illinois.

“The association has worked hard in the last year to give dealers a voice,” Tormohlen said. “It’s important for the association to be proactive.”

He’s excited to see the Certified 360 program grow and the Certified Master Dealer training return.

 Tormohlen will move from the president’s seat to serving as the chairman for the next year. He remains committed to helping the industry and fellow dealers grow and enjoy success.

“My job will change a little bit next year as chairman. My task will be to see that our president succeeds,” Tormohlen said. “I’m going to continue to support the industry in any way or shape that I can.

“As of August, I’ll be 51 years in the car business, which includes you know the 50 cents an hour at the age of 13 washing cars and parking cars on the lot for my dad. That’s a lot of years of experience. It has been an outstanding ride and one that I don’t intend to stop when I’m finished with my presidency.”

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