Women in Automotive Roundtable

Park Place Corporate recently hosted a Women in Automotive roundtable with more than 100 Members, including women from every dealership, as well as several GMs, and Tony Carimi, Park Place managing director.

Women in Automotive panelists included Porsche Dallas Service Director

Jenny Drummond, who has spent more than 20 years at Park Place; Lexus Plano F&I Director Shiva Olumi, who started as a receptionist at Park Place 21 years ago; Park Place Assistant Controller Jody Monroe, who started 21 years ago as AP/AR Clerk for Motorcars Dallas; and Asbury Automotive Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dr. Wendy Reynolds-Dobbs. Carolyn Alvey, Vice President at Aardvark Communications, served as moderator. 

Panelists were asked how they “inspire within.” They encouraged attendees to reach out to other Members in their department to demonstrate how their skills can support the entire group. 

When the panelists were asked how they could earn the respect of their male counterparts, there was a common response: “Do your job and do it well. If you don’t know something, admit it and find the answer. People want to help if you acknowledge you need help.” As a final word about women in automotive, special guest Asbury Automotive Group Board of Directors member Maureen Morrison flew in from Atlanta. Ms. Morrison is a former partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she began her career in 1976, and became a partner in 1987. She spoke on her career in finance and why she wanted to serve on the Asbury Board of Directors. “Asbury is committed to making more opportunities for women. We have women leading in Parts and Service departments as well as female General Managers.”

Women In Automotive– Inspire Within

Earlier this month we had the pleasure to host over 100+ members at our corporate offices in Las Colinas for a very informative speaker and panel discussion powered by Park Place Women in Automotive. The theme of the event was Inspire Within, and the purpose of the event was to foster communication, inspiration, and motivation for women within the automotive industry.

We learned from four incredibly tenured women on how they navigate their careers in an industry that is traditionally male-dominated along with meshing your two worlds- personal and professional. 

Our attendees also had the honor to listen to Maureen Morrison who has served as a member of the Asbury Automotive Board since January 2019. Ms. Morrison currently serves as a director and Chair of the Audit Committee, and member of both the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee and Compensation Committee of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.

Three of our panelists were women who have been with Park Place Dealerships for 21+ years and one recently hired female who just joined the Asbury Automotive company as the Vice President and Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer.

Panelist bios follow below:

  • Jenny Drummond is the Service Director for Park Place Porsche Dallas. She has enjoyed the last 21 years advancing from Assistant Service Manager to Service Manager to now Service Director, overseeing one of the largest Porsche Service centers in the United States.
  • Shiva Olumi is the Finance and Insurance Director for Park Place Lexus Plano. Over the last 21 years, she has had several job roles starting from receptionist to becoming a director.
  • Jody Monroe is the Assistant Controller at Park Place Dealerships. Her journey with Park Place started from 21 years ago as the Accounts Payable Accounts Receivable (APAR) Clerk for Park Place Mercedes Dallas.
  • Wendy Reynolds is the Vice President and Chief DEI Officer for Asbury Automotive. Wendy worked for 15 years as Vice President and Chief DEI Officer at Unisys, where she led business-aligned strategic initiatives in DEI, Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”), organization effectiveness, talent management, employee engagement, workforce planning, and analysis, and leadership/executive development.

With women making up less than 18% of the workforce in this industry, Park Place is dedicated to recruiting and retaining more women who can have incredible careers in the automotive industry while working with a team that is dedicated to their success.

Celebrating 35 Years of Excellence

Park Place Dealerships’ 35th Anniversary Celebration at Texas Live was filled with joy and laughter, and even a few tears as we paid tribute to Motorcars Dallas GM Robert Morris’ 31 years of service. But first and foremost, it was a time to celebrate 35 years and our outstanding members.

We took this opportunity to give back to the community through our partnership with Children’s Health which included a $10,000 donation. The generosity of our members also filled an extended-length Sprinter van with more than 1,000 backpacks and toys! This incredible contribution made an impact on Volvo SEM Kurt Rongey, who shared with Tony Carimi what this meant to him. 

“Park Place’s decision to collect toys for Children’s was very meaningful to me. When my nine-year-old daughter Julianne was in the hospital after her brain cancer diagnosis a little over a year ago, one of the bright points was when a social worker offered her a choice of toys that a generous person had donated. Julianne chose a LEGO set. In November of 2021, Julianne passed away. But that toy donated anonymously was a bright spot at a difficult time that gave my girl some joy and pride. We still display that LEGO set in our home. I was overwhelmed to see all the toys Park Place members had given. A whole van full! Believe me, they will bring a lot of happiness to some sweet kids who need something to smile about. I loved the opportunity to bring a LEGO set to donate in honor of my daughter.”

Extra Girly Service Technician– Citlali Reyes

Citlali Reyes, 23, has been a technician at Park Place Motorcars Arlington for four years. But if you were to see her outside of the dealership, you would never guess her profession.

“I’m extra girly,” she proclaims. “I’ve always loved working on cars. I find it amusing how I love makeup, nails, heels, and all the typical girly things so much. On the same note though, I’m a high flagging, efficient technician that has committed the hours, blood, sweat, and tears to get where I am currently.”

Citlali was born in Denver but moved to Texas with her parents in 2012 and graduated from Irving’s MacArthur High School before finishing at UTI Dallas in 2018.

“My first impression when I came to Park Place was how luxurious the entire dealership is in all departments, from sales and service to parts, the client waiting area, and our shop.”

When not at work, Citlali manages a small apparel business and is co-owner of a small business in the custom truck scene. She’s also currently in the process of becoming a licensed nail technician.

When asked what advice she would give someone just starting out, she responded, “Advancement is simple. Just keep your long-term goal in clear sight and make small steps towards the big picture.”

Dan Le, The Unexpected IT Expert

You could say Dan Le’s path to becoming an IT Tier III Engineer for Park Place Dealerships was a long and winding road. It started in 1975 when he was only 9 years old and he immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam. Dan is quick to thank all the Vietnam veterans who helped his family relocate.

After graduating from Carrollton’s R. L. Turner High School in 1984, he went straight to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Houston. Afterward, he was hired as a service technician at a Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oak Lawn in Dallas that would become Park Place’s first dealership.

“At 19 and working for a well-known Mercedes-Benz dealership was a dream came true,” said Dan. “I worked as a technician for two years, then became a service dispatcher, where I helped with a variety of functions related to IT support, including phone system administrator and installation, tech payroll, and ADP program setup. During this time, the company had yet to integrate computers or even email into its processes.”

“ADP installed a hand-full of green screens throughout the dealership to improve car flow,” he explained. “It was hard for some people to trust the automated features of managing car flow. But it was easy for me to understand so I helped train others. During this period, we had several ADP systems upgrades. I became Park Place’s local ADP support.”

As technology was rapidly progressing, Le was able to demonstrate how the technology could have a positive impact throughout the organization.

“Within 10 years, ADP installed our first Cisco network infrastructure. Shortly after, Mercedes-Benz asked Park Place to be one of their test dealerships to implement the new NetStar Mercedes-Benz system. I worked alongside Mercedes’ NetStar team on a full-blown WAN network infrastructure between all our dealerships. Porsche deployed their own system and I got involved. Soon after, Lexus deployed their Dealer Daily system. Basically, every brand we have represented, I helped introduce their system into our dealerships and have worked in IT at Park Place ever since.”

Dan and his wife of 28 years live in Highland Village. Their daughter Liz lives in Vista, California and their son Nathen is a senior at Texas A&M.

Dan’s advice to someone just starting out? “Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Believe in yourself and work hard, even when no one is looking.”

In Its First 35 Years, Park Place Dealerships Helped Shape an Industry

When the Mercedes-Benz store on Oak Lawn Avenue became the first store in the Park Place Dealerships brand back in 1987, there were no computers to track inventory or formal employee training programs, and no one talked about company culture. In fact, there wasn’t even a company website or email. Now, 35 years later, Park Place is a leader in the automotive industry with technology, training, and a culture that has been rewarded at the national level. And, one thing is certain, Park Place Dealerships’ next 35 years will be as vastly different as the first.

“Our industry is always evolving with innovation and that has a direct impact on how people shop for cars, purchase a vehicle, visit our stores, and communicate with us,” said Tony Carimi, managing director at Park Place Dealerships. “We have to adapt and engage our clients in every interaction whether that is onsite or online. Our plans for Park Place include increasing the presence of our technology platforms, recruiting a new generation of talent from outside of our industry, and preparing for a boom in electric vehicles.”

Over the next five years, Park Place will hire more technicians and train them to handle the increase in electric vehicles expected to hit the market. By 2025, Mercedes-Benz plans to roll out 25 new plugin hybrid electric vehicles in addition to fully electric vehicles, and Lexus will introduce 20 new or improved models. Volvo expects its all-electric cars to be 50 percent of its global sales by 2025 with the remainder hybrids. By 2027, Porsche anticipates nearly every vehicle will be fully electric. While Jaguar will become a pure-electric luxury brand by 2025, Land Rover will introduce six pure-electric vehicles in five years.

“We have to be prepared at the dealership level to accommodate a client’s preference to purchase and service both electric and fuel-based vehicles,” said Carimi. “In addition to technicians, we will need to train sales associates and service managers to advise clients. We also will need to hire in accounting, human resources, marketing, and administration positions to accommodate our growth. As we attract key talent, we have a plan in place to protect our culture including a new onboarding program.”

The company recently appointed a new Director for Center of Excellence to focus on growth, Member development, leadership, and process training.

Attracting and retaining the right people is a key priority for Park Place Dealerships. It’s not enough to be known as the best in the industry. For Park Place, it is about establishing a culture of excellence that endures. Park Place Members are committed to creating memories for clients that resonate beyond a transaction. They are highly trained to deliver a personalized experience for every client.

“There is no doubt that the strength of our brand is in our people,” said Anam Ali Hashambhai, marketing director for Park Place Dealerships. “We want every Member to be proud of the organization where they choose to work. As we mark our 35th year in Texas, we created a bold, forward-thinking design to resonate with our Members, clients, and the community. We are introducing a creative perspective around our timeless “Experts in Excellence” campaign. Excellence is the driving force behind everything we do, therefore you will start to see “X is for Excellence” come alive with a playful treatment of words such as eXceptional, eXtraordinary, eXhilaration, eXplore, and luXury.”

The modernized look underpins Park Place’s position as a leader in the luxury retailing space. Park Place has proven it delivers an automotive experience worthy of the world’s finest cars and will continue to innovate while anticipating the needs of its clients and exceeding their expectations.

“We are so proud of our heritage and are looking forward to the next chapter of our story as we continue to cultivate relationships, customize experiences and serve our community,” said Hashambhai. “Our clients, members, and partners can expect us to be innovative, respect each other, lead by example, and take ownership of our actions. We have set the course for the future of our company.”

Park Place Dealerships Updated Response to COVID-19 as of January 1, 2021

Thank you for making Park Place, Your Place to purchase and service your vehicle. Your safety and well-being is our top priority!
Park Place Dealerships currently has many services clients can take advantage of during this situation including online service appointments, express pay for vehicle pick up, virtual test drives, and 100% online purchasing. With the ever-changing climate, we are doing our best to continue to put our clients first. Going forward, we have implemented the following measures to protect clients and employees:
 
GREETINGS: We have advised all dealership employees to suspend handshakes and physical contact with our guests. Smiles and great client service will continue!
 
SANITATION: Our teams are actively wiping down high traffic areas throughout the day, and nightly custodial activities are hyper-focused on cleaning and sanitizing those same high traffic areas. We encourage you to utilize the hand sanitizers that are conveniently located throughout the dealership.
 
CLIENT and LOANER VEHICLES: We take great pride in caring for each and every client and loaner vehicle. Vehicles are diligently inspected and meticulously cleaned and cared for upon their every return. Our team of professional detailers, car-washers, valets, and service managers are diligently providing extra care for each vehicle for your safety.
 
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH: We are following all CDC guidelines for businesses and employers. We are asking employees to stay home if they feel ill and we ask clients to exercise good judgment if they have traveled to high-impact areas, been exposed to a COVID-19 patient, or feel ill.
 
MASKS MANDATE: Per recent rules in Dallas County, we are currently requiring all team members and clients to wear a mask at any of our establishments until further notice.
 
While there is a lot of uncertainty because of COVID-19, we are grateful you have entrusted us to help you purchase, service, and repair your vehicle. We are closely monitoring this evolving situation, and we will continue to update you with any changes to our company policies.
 
Thank you for your continued support of Park Place Dealerships. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns!

The Good Samaritans

Motorcars Fort Worth shop foreman James Kuebler was taking a car for a test drive early one morning when he spotted a lady sitting in the middle of a bank parking lot, next door to the dealership, holding her ankle.

I walk that path all the time, said Rev. Wil Gafney, a professor at TCUs Brite Divinity School. I don’t know what happened. I just heard my ankle crack, and I went down. I couldn’t get up on my own.

James stopped and helped Dr. Gafney into the car and drove her home, where her personal assistant gathered the necessary papers and took her to the hospital.

I can’t thank James enough for stopping to help me, she said. Id always heard Park Place had great service. It’s true.

James has worked for Park Place for more than 35 years, starting in Oak Lawn in 1984. He went to work in Euless for a Mercedes-Benz store, then returned to Dallas before transferring to Motorcars Fort Worth in 2005.

But James is not the only good Samaritan in his family. James’ daughter, Rachel Kuebler, a booker with Porsche Dallas, just celebrated her five-year anniversary. Park Place recently received a gushing email from another grateful lady who had been helped by Rachel.

Last week Rachel from your Porsche store was my angel, said the thankful woman. I was stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire when she stopped to help. She insisted on changing my tire, then offered to follow me to the tire shop down the road so I could get the tire replaced. I was floored. If this is the kind of help you give to people who aren’t your customers, I can only imagine the top-notch service your regulars receive. I don’t know if a luxury vehicle will ever be in my family’s budget, but the next time I need a car I will absolutely be checking out your used cars. Park Place and Rachel, you are doing it right.

When the email reached Tony Carimi, he replied, It’s a great nod to James leadership, both in his professional role and with his family. The stories show how his great example at work and home contributes to the goodwill running in the family. This perfectly exemplifies the Park Place spirit of serving!

Park Place Dealerships Updated Response to COVID-19 as of August 11, 2021

Thank you for making Park Place, Your Place to purchase and service your vehicle. Your safety and well-being is our top priority!
Park Place Dealerships currently has many services clients can take advantage of during this situation including: online service appointments, express pay for vehicle pick up, virtual test drives, and 100% online purchasing. With the ever-changing climate, we are doing our best to continue to put our clients first. Going forward, we have implemented the following measures to protect clients and employees:
 
GREETINGS: We have advised all dealership employees to suspend handshakes and physical contact with our guests. Smiles and great client service will continue!
 
SANITATION: Our teams are actively wiping down high traffic areas throughout the day, and nightly custodial activities are hyper-focused on cleaning and sanitizing those same high traffic areas. We encourage you to utilize the hand sanitizers that are conveniently located throughout the dealership.
 
CLIENT and LOANER VEHICLES: We take great pride in caring for each and every client and loaner vehicle. Vehicles are diligently inspected and meticulously cleaned and cared for upon their every return. Our team of professional detailers, car-washers, valets, and service managers are diligently providing extra care for each vehicle for your safety.
 
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH: We are following all CDC guidelines for businesses and employers. We are asking employees to stay home if they feel ill and we ask clients to exercise good judgment if they have traveled to high-impact areas, been exposed to a COVID-19 patient or feel ill.
 
MASKS MANDATE: Per recent rules in Dallas County, we are currently requiring all team members and clients to wear a mask at any of our establishments until further notice.
 
While there is a lot of uncertainty because of COVID-19, we are grateful you have entrusted us to help you purchase, service, and repair your vehicle. We are closely monitoring this evolving situation, and we will continue to update you with any changes to our company policies.
 
Thank you for your continued support of Park Place Dealerships. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns!

Clicklane – 100% Online Purchasing Experience

The online car buying process has been evolving over the last decade and Park Place Dealerships has rolled out Clicklane, a seamless online experience that has simplified the car buying and selling process, saving the consumer significant time to complete the transaction.

“We want to meet clients where they are most comfortable and Clicklane gives the buyer or seller complete control,” said Tony Carimi, Managing Director of Park Place Dealerships. “Some clients enjoy in-person car shopping while others want to make the transaction as straightforward as possible. Through Clicklane, our clients can skip the visit to the dealership and complete the entire purchase online.

Clicklane is a unique platform that allows the consumer to buy or sell their automobile in approximately 15 minutes. While the online car-buying experience has been available for some time, Clicklane modifies the process to six easy steps that include:

  • Find Your Dream Car – New, Pre-Owned or Certified (3 minutes)
  • Easy Trade – Enter VIN to get value of your car and real-time payoff amount (3 minutes)
  • Pick Your Payments – Select a payment structure that works for you (3 minutes)
  • Get the Best Rate – Choose the rate you want from more than 30 lenders (3 minutes)
  • Digitally Sign Paperwork– Sign all documents via DocuSign® (3 minutes) and wait for the car to be delivered to your home or business within a few days.

“Park Place is best known for its great customer service and Clicklane extends this experience right to the front door of our most loyal clients, as well as attracts new clients,” continued Carimi. “Online shopping will continue to grow and we expect the automotive category will represent a shift in this trend from first-time buyers to high-income earners.”

Clicklane has a seven-day, 1,000-mile money back guarantee on all online purchases. The consumer can return the vehicle to the dealership at their expense in the same condition as it was upon delivery with no questions asked.

Unlike other online buying platforms, Clicklane gives real-time information such as trade-in values calculated to the penny, as well as loan payoffs. Payment figures are based on local taxes and fees so the consumer can be confident the calculations are accurate during the online purchasing experience.

Park Place Dealerships was founded in 1987. For the past 34 years, the company has been engaged in the community through its support of the arts, medical research, children’s advocacy and education. Park Place employs more than 1,400 members and operates eight full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. For more info, visit parkplace.com.