Rob Fisher, Northside Auto Sales
Thank you for the privilege of serving as your 2016-2017 VIADA President. I will do my best to represent the Association with professionalism and integrity as I carry out my duties across the Commonwealth as well as with the national association.
I grew up in the car business. As I look back, my granddad was a taxicab driver in Washington DC and augmented his income by gambling on the side, and here I am today, not driving a taxi but still gambling every day in the used car business. In 1969 my Dad took me to the dealership he was managing and I started washing cars. I was 14 and thought it was the coolest job in the world! One day a salesman tossed me the keys to a brand new GTO Judge and told me to bring it around front. As you can imagine I was thrilled beyond belief. From that day on I was hooked on the car business. In 1974 I moved to Manassas to help my Dad operate a Lincoln-Mercury dealership. It can be difficult to work with family and so in 1976 Kenny Loveless and I struck out on our own and started a mobile vinyl top and bodyside moulding business catering to new car dealers. We would also recondition cars for a few independent dealers that were buy here-pay here dealers. It was our observation of these dealers that led us into the buy-here-pay here side of the industry. Back then we were known as paper lots.
In 1978 we partnered with the then owner of Northside Auto Sales and subsequently bought him out by December 1978. After 34 years at Northside, Kenny and I decided to part ways and I became the sole owner. Along with my wife, Dale, and our 13 employees we continue to make a positive impact on our fellow citizens and community. Over the years we have delivered over 16,000 cars and light trucks. Over of our sales are repeat and referral clients.
Over the coming year I look forward to visiting each district and getting to know as many dealers as possible and to listen to their industry concerns. The challenges are many as we move forward but with the help and resources available through the Association, our select partners, vendors, and fellow dealers, these challenges can be addressed in a positive way for our members. As association members we know there is power in numbers. Membership recruitment and retention are critical to the health and vibrancy of the association. To that end we must communicate to fellow dealers all the benefits that are to be gained from being a member - educational opportunities, staff assistance, vendor reward programs, and much more!
Several goals - I hope to continue the progress set forth by the previous administration of increasing our communication and visibility through social media and to make our website user friendly, relevant, and informative. We will also be working on an internal Facebook page much as the National Association has done with state officers across the country. I encourage all to be proactive in improving our industrys image through compliance education, facility maintenance, and community involvement. I would also like to increase our involvement with local and state legislators. We need to be before our representatives to put a face on our industry and most importantly the dealers of the VIADA. It is my hope that we will have a large presence in Richmond at our Day on the Hill. There is an old saying If youre not at the table youre probably on the menu. Lets be at the table!
In closing, I would like to thank my wife of 33 years, Dale, whose steadfast love and devotion guides me every day. I am looking forward to working with the incoming Board as we strive to improve our industry and strengthen our Association in the upcoming year. I am at your service.
VIADA State President | Northside Auto Sales