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Area service managers embark on new 20 Group

November 18, 2010

Service directors and managers who completed the CATA’s first four-day Service Management Bootcamp, in September, reunited Nov. 9-10 for the group’s first Service Managers 20 Group.


Moderator Larry Wintz of NCM Associates, Inc., said the group’s size would help it to run lean at the thrice annual meetings. "We’ll be able to cover more territory or go deeper into topics," Wintz said. 

O’Hare Honda Service Manager Frank Lorek said the 20 Group members likely will contact each other between meetings to troubleshoot and learn from each other. "We will interact to see how things are going," he said.


Group members aren’t privy to one another’s financial statements, but Lorek said the moderator, who is privy, helps discussions by referencing percentages—"This is where you should be and this is what you need to do to get there." 

The 20 Group includes service managers of various makes, but there is much the participants can learn from one another, like CSI issues and satisfaction with various vendors. Even an employee of a smaller store hoping to grow can learn from the larger stores, such as analyzing when the larger stores reached certain benchmarks.


Jeff Price, service manager at D’Arcy Motors, said the 20 Group talks will help him refresh his thinking. "I’ve done just about all the methods over the years. Here, I hear ideas that remind me, ‘Why did I get away from that?’ " 

Since completing Bootcamp in September, the service managers enacted a few easy changes at their stores, to show their staffs that change can occur and to prepare them for more changes.


Price said service departments at import stores have for years faced situations that domestic stores are adapting to, like expanded and extended warranties. "It changes the dynamics of your work mix," he said. 

Also this month, 21 fixed ops personnel completed the CATA’s second Bootcamp class. They will meet at their first 20 Group in January.


George Bilkowski, service director of the Rosen Auto Group, termed the recent four-day Bootcamp led by Lloyd Schiller as "inspiring."  

"I haven’t had a five-day vacation in 30 years," he said. "Being here for four days was stressful but worth it."


Tom Green, service manager at Rosen Honda, sat beside Bilkowski and said the Bootcamp duration is proper. "If it was condensed, there wouldn’t be enough time for all the topics," he said. 

Bilkowski said he intends to enroll service managers from the other Rosen franchises in future Bootcamps.


The CATA significantly underwrites the tuition for the Bootcamps and 20 Groups, to entice all CATA member dealerships to undertake the training. Enrollent in similar continuing education programs through other dealer associations typically costs $2,800 for the Bootcamp, plus $250 a month over the three-year 20 Group. Special CATA prices are $1,000 for the Bootcamp and $160 a month for 20 Group tuition. 

And for service directors and managers who complete the 20 Groups, the CATA will rebate tuition to their dealers at the following levels: 50 percent of the first year, 75 percent of the second year, and 100 percent of the final year.


For more information on the training and to register, call Jim Butcher at the CATA at 630-424-6020.