Brad White, President, VIADA
Bluegrass Auto Sales
When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather on the weekends and during the summer months. He enjoyed going to yard sales and flea markets to find items he could buy and resell. He would often buy an old guitar or banjo that needed repairs. He would make any necessary repairs, add a new set of strings, tune it up, give it a good cleaning and then resell it for a profit. Sound familiar? I suppose it’s safe to say this is where I learned to love buying and selling and developed the entrepreneurial desire that would later lead me into the car business.
While my grandfather’s love of music led him to work with musical instruments, my love of the outdoors led me to a degree in Forestry. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1999, I worked in the forest industry for five years as a procurement forester. Still having the desire to buy and sell and be my own boss, I started my own business buying and selling real estate in 2004. The real estate market was booming, and I experienced success for a few years buying and selling land, timber, and houses. Then came the financial crisis in 2008 and the real estate and timber business came to a halt. I realized that I would need to find an additional source of income if I wanted to remain an entrepreneur, so I thought about other business opportunities. I worked with many different business owners while doing real estate, but I specifically recalled working with a couple of car dealers who seemed to really enjoy the business and appeared to be quite successful. I decided the car business was the business for me…how hard could it be?!
When I opened my dealership in 2010, I was completely new to the car business. My knowledge of cars was limited to changing my own oil or replacing spark plugs. Fortunately, I got to know fellow VIADA member Mike Witt of Mike Witt Motor Sales. Mike has been a great mentor to me and he gave me a lot of help and encouragement when I was getting started. He recommended that I join the VIADA, and that advice has served me well. Thank you for everything, Mike!
The association has been crucial to my success as a dealer. The relationships and education provided by the association have filled the gaps of my inexperience and given me the confidence to continue in this industry. In an industry that is ever-changing and filled with so many rules and regulations, how can we keep up without the association?
It is important to know that this association is here to help you succeed in your business. For you to gain the most from your membership, I encourage you to take action and get involved. Start by attending your district meetings. These meetings will keep you up-to-date on all the latest rules and regulations affecting your business. You will also learn about the latest member benefits that will help your business save and make more money. Most importantly, you’ll build relationships with other like-minded dealers.
I also encourage you to attend Dealer Day and the annual convention. Attending these events will provide you with education about many topics related to your business. You will also have the opportunity to meet numerous vendors who offer products and services that will help you grow your business. Additionally, you will be able to network with other dealers from throughout the state.
The association has accomplished many great things over the years and I am confident we will continue to provide increasing value to our members. During my presidency, we will work to grow the dealer education offered by the association. It is important that we continue to improve as dealers, and continued education is key to growth. We will also work to continue growing our member benefits program. Our association already provides a huge value to our members, but we will continue to work to find new ways for our dealers to benefit from their membership in our association. While we are here to serve our dealers, it is important that we also serve our community. We will continue to increase our charitable giving through the Ladies Auxiliary and we are planning to give away a car to a wounded warrior at our 2019 convention…stay tuned!
I am very honored and humbled to serve as your President in 2018-2019. I can certainly say that I have gained much more from the association than I have given. My hope is that you will be inspired to get involved in the association and benefit the way that I have!