Douglas Schnitzer is certainly no stranger to Park Place Dealerships, but as he leads our newest revenue venture, Park Place Select, as the Director of Operations, a “get to know you” introduction was an absolute must. After going through a question-and-answer session, one thing is clear- Park Place Select is in very capable, intelligent, and extremely driven hands.
Where are you from? Born and raised in the Bayou City of Houston, Texas.
Who is your role model and why? My grandfather, Ken Schnitzer, Sr., who unfortunately passed away in 1999, remains a role model of mine to this day. He was a hard-bargaining businessman, a charismatic leader, and a generous philanthropist. He valued honesty, integrity, and loyalty, and he treated people with the utmost dignity and respect. These are also values that I hold in high regard, and I strive to emulate him in my life.
When did you begin your career at Park Place? I began my career at Park Place in 2010 as an Assistant Service Manager at Motorcars Dallas. After spending several years pursuing opportunities in other industries and obtaining a graduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin, I rejoined the company in 2017 on the sales floor of Porsche Dallas.
What led you to join the Park Place Team? In many ways, the automotive industry remains fairly archaic and tends to abide by the mantra of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Park Place as a company encourages and rewards innovation and is constantly looking for ways to improve in order to remain at the forefront of the industry, as evidenced by the new Park Place Select subscription service. There is a forward-thinking nature that permeates the organizational culture, and that is something I wanted to be a part of.
Can you recount a specific moment or experience that led you to the automotive industry? I can remember a trip to Dallas – I was probably 15 years old – when my father brought my brother and me by the Mercedes dealership, which was still on Oak Lawn at the time. Like any kid, I was completely enthralled by all of the cool cars. We ended up test driving an SL500, and when my dad let me take it for a lap around the block, I was hooked. I have been interested in the business ever since.
What passions do you have that have driven your success at Park Place? I tend to be very analytical by nature. As you know, this is a very complex business, and I have always enjoyed the challenge of diving into the data and financials to understand what makes companies tick. I am also so privileged to work and collaborate with a group of incredibly intelligent and visionary professionals who take great pride in the success of the company as a whole. Their collective enthusiasm is a great motivating force.
How did you become affiliated with Park Place Select? In mid-February, Mr. Grossman called me and asked if I could come to his office for a meeting that afternoon. I honestly didn’t have a clue what the purpose of the meeting was, but my eyes immediately lit up when he asked if I would be interested in helping lead Park Place Select, the new subscription business, which was scheduled to roll out in early May. This was a once in a lifetime chance to be involved with a cutting-edge business concept that will be transformative to the way consumers think about their transportation needs – it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
How is Park Place Select going to be successful this year? Park Place Select will be successful by creating memorable experiences and meaningful moments for our clients. Through a passionate focus on service, our concierges will develop a strong rapport with our clients and be able to truly understand what is meaningful to them, in order to provide personalized service that exceeds their expectations.
What’s the key component of the Park Place Select experience? The key component of the Park Place Select experience is the flexibility and convenience afforded to the members combined with an unparalleled selection of vehicles. Through the user-friendly mobile app, we are able to match members with the perfect vehicle for any occasion. You could drive a Mercedes S-Class during the work week, flip into a Porsche Boxster for a Friday date night, then flip into a Range Rover for a weekend road trip. This is truly a revolutionary service that gives members the ability to meet the changing needs of their lifestyle without owning multiple vehicles.
Any additional comments regarding new programs and initiatives that we can look forward to in 2018? We are currently evaluating the possibility of adding a “Premier” tier to the Park Place Select subscription program, which would include many of the vehicles available through the Premier Collection, among others. Exciting times!
Edit January 2020: The Premier Tier was successfully added to the program.