I was born into the car business – specifically a “Ford family”. My father, Harold S. Feder, Sr. was a Sales and Marketing Executive for Ford Motor Company for 37 years. Dad was a natural born salesman and “a car guy” and spent most of his career working directly with Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers all over the USA. In fact, we moved 11 different times during his career – inside and outside of Detroit. Dad’s first and only true love about working for Ford was calling on the dealers. In fact, told be truth, he hated the corporate office jobs and would much rather spend his days in dealership showrooms and service lanes helping dealers grow their business. He also was involved in many dealership buy-sell transitions … helping one dealer transition the business to a new owner when it came time to exit.
Growing up, I was a first-hand witness to this “industrial gypsy lifestyle” and enrolled in so many different schools that I lost count. But I attended Ford introduction shows, drove brand new company cars, and played golf with a lot of Ford dealers. By the time, I finished my MBA from the University of Florida in 1982, the Ford business was running through my veins and I embarked on my own career with the Blue Oval.
The leadership shadow and successful career that my Dad had cast was broad, large, and pretty daunting. But with his encouragement, a ton of time and effort spent with dealer principals in stores all over the globe, and some luck in working for great Ford leaders, I made my own successful career and was able to reach senior management heights that made my Dad very proud. There is one lesson that Dad engrained in my head that I will never forget … that is, “the greatest asset of the Ford Motor Company (or any auto manufacturer) that you will not find on any balance sheet is the local dealer”. So very true.
These days it is my absolute pleasure to support automotive dealers in deriving the most from their hard earned investments by representing their exit transition or acquisition interests in the marketplace – confidentially, profitably, swiftly, and as stress-free as possible … just the way my Dad taught me.