Highlights from the Colorado
Dealer Management and Leadership Summit

By CAR lobbyist Jeremy Cottrell

If you heeded the call and joined us for the first-ever Colorado Dealer Management and Leadership Summit, you were among a select and privileged group to engage in a timely and spirited educational seminar on industry-specific topics, including:

Among the keynote speakers was Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who opened the Summit with a message regarding the onerous tax increase on commercial property throughout Colorado. He further explained the recent freeze in the school mill levy effectively acts as a tax increase without the requisite constitutional right of voters to weigh in on the decision. Suthers cited his position on activist attorneys general throughout the nation. His list included Ed Brown of California, who has filed lawsuits against the Big Three auto manufacturers citing autos as the cause for pollution and a nuisance to society. 


The structure of the Summit allowed for break-out sessions, where participants could attend specifically-tailored programs in concurrent sessions. Each session allowed for personal interaction, as well as a Q & A session allowing dealers to get straight answers on hard questions. Presentation materials were made available to each attendee in binders, complete with Tom Hudsonís most current release of CARLAW, a book targeting situations, case studies, and trends within the auto industry. 


As the mid-day approached, attendees were treated to the entertaining, and very opinionated, Jim Ziegler, who held the floor throughout the lunch time slot. He spoke of his prognostications for the industry, industry leaders, and what to watch for in the tumultuous auto environment.  


An afternoon training session was concluded with an early evening networking reception, allowing dealers to re-acquaint themselves with their peers before the dinner presentations began. 


Annette Sykora, the first woman to be elected as President of NADA, covered CAFE standards as they related to the very timely Hill-Terry bill. She discussed her experiences in the auto industry and how the changes in the industry would serve to be a memorable and historic time that both manufacturers and dealers could weather. Sykora also cited the importance of not underestimating consumer demand in determining marketplace products.


Lastly, Colorado State Senator Shawn Mitchell spoke. His presentation, perhaps one of the most captivating of the conference, was on the free market economy and why it makes America great. Mitchell credited business more so than government for being the backbone of this nation and its economic viability. The senator's presentation closed the conference on a high note.


Feedback has been strong and well received for the first Summit.  We look forward to building an even stronger educational forum next year and welcome any suggestions in the meantime.