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Operation Troop Train gives vets a vehicle for dealership success

May 24, 2013
On a mission to provide military veterans with a vehicle for success, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association hosted an automotive sales training and job fair May 13-14 for retired military personnel.
The CATA partnered with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to identify veteran candidates who were interested in undergoing the two-day training and meeting with local CATA dealerships. The CATA created Operation Troop Train this spring as a pilot program to lay the groundwork for what organizers hope becomes a quarterly initiative. 
The training was led by Lee Eddy, founder of Leed Performance Inc., who provided the candidates with a solid foundation of the dealership business and prepared the former servicemen for the one-on-one interviews with dealership representatives.
Eddy opened the training with a message that seemed to resonate with the candidates. “People can buy a red or blue piece of metal within five to 10 miles in any direction,” Eddy said, “but it’s the dealership personnel that are the differentiating factor.” Eddy also discussed the importance of communication and working in teams to produce the best possible outcome — skills the veterans understand instinctively from military experience.  
Too many employers don’t recognize the value of military training or that veteran skills easily transfer to other fields of work. CATA Chairman Kurt Schiele contested that misunderstanding, saying: “Some of the best employees at my dealerships are veterans. Servicemen and women are willing to put their life on the line for their job; if that doesn’t show commitment and dedication, I don’t know what does.”