Meet Our Instructors

Michael Hayes, Academy Chair 
Michael HayesMichael brings 40-plus years of auto-industry experience to NADA. Throughout his career Michael’s greatest satisfaction has come from helping build teams and sharing tools to promote growth and success. As a franchised auto dealer, he supported a team that led the market in sales penetration and Distinguished Service awards, culminating in the coveted Chairman’s Award. Michael has been honored by Time magazine and served the Vermont dealers as state association president; legislative and NADA PAC director; and member of the NADA Board of Directors. Working in the remarketing industry as chief operating officer of the National Auto Auction Association and as vice president of dealer development with an electric vehicle startup has given Michael unique perspectives on opportunities for graduates of NADA Academy, where he focuses on variable operations and marketing instruction.


Bob Atwood, Academy Instructor
Bob AtwoodRobert joined NADA in 1996 and offers 55-plus years of auto-industry experience. Previously he owned and operated an automotive repair center and was a service manager for several of the largest metro dealers in Baltimore. In addition, Robert served as an arbitrator for the Maryland attorney general’s office, consumer protection division, and an instructor at a local community college. He has been a top-rated workshop presenter at the annual NADA Show and ATD Show, as well as at numerous state association and NADA 20 Group meetings. Because of his experience as a dealership technician, service advisor and service manager, Robert offers students a unique insight. Couple that with his law degree and business owner expertise and it’s easy to see why the service department training Robert offers is No. 1 in the industry.


Brian Cossin, Academy Instructor
Brian CossinBrian brings 21-plus years of fixed operations experience to NADA. Before joining NADA he was involved in all aspects of dealership parts operations, including 12 years in parts management. Brian’s passion for teaching, mentoring and process improvement led him to NADA. He is certified in change management and as a Master Trainer by the Association for Talent Development. Brian currently facilitates Fixed Operations 1—Parts Department.


Desirée Dawson, Academy Instructor
Desirée DawsonDesirée offers 15-plus years of auto-industry experience. Prior to NADA, she held executive level positions at top-performing dealer groups in areas ranging from digital marketing, recruiting and training, to sales management. An innovative automotive professional, Desirée is process-focused with an emphasis on efficiency. She is also highly creative, detail-oriented and never deterred by a challenge—key traits she uses to push her students to achieve operational excellence and gain a competitive advantage.


Edward Ervin, Academy Instructor, Commercial Truck
Edward ErvinEd brings 25-plus years of experience in the medium- and heavy-duty commercial truck industry, having worked in dealerships of all sizes and in key markets as a leading revenue-producing sales professional. Ed has represented top national truck brands, including Hino, International, Isuzu and Mitsubishi-Fuso. His technology experience includes working as a top-producing dealer account manager at Verizon Connect (formerly Telogis) to introduce GPS location-based software to Ford, GM, Hino and Volvo Mack commercial truck dealerships in the Northeast.


Laurent Hourcle, Academy Instructor
Laurent HourcleLarry is an auto-industry educator with over 27 years of experience. He joined NADA in 2016 as a management instructor, focusing on improving the customer experience and productivity in fixed operations. His experience includes automotive and truck inspection, repair and service. He is a certified Senior Master Technician, specializing in both automotive and diesel repairs, and a certified Master Trainer by the Association for Talent Development. Larry promotes proficiency in collecting, analyzing, interpreting and developing specialized information about equipment and performance issues to find consistent solutions. By inspiring, mentoring and educating students, Larry pushes them to exceed their expectations and thereby boost their efficiency, productivity and performance.


Michael Lucki, Academy Instructor
Michael LuckiMike is a variable operations instructor with more than a decade of automotive experience. He has worked in all aspects of dealership operations, specializing as a variable operations manager for six different franchises. Prior to dealership management, Mike was a practicing Certified Public Accountant and business owner. As a former graduate and now instructor with the NADA Academy, he combines his financial background and variable operations expertise to teach his students how to understand the power, influence and responsibility they have as a dealership operator.


Mark Michalski, Academy Instructor
Mark MichalskiAs an experienced automotive facilitator, Mark offers 45 years of experience, including 15 years in auto retail, 25 combined years of OEM and allied industry experience, and five years as a NADA Academy instructor. His broad dealership management and departmental expertise includes accounting (general ledger, schedules, accounts receivable, accounts payable, manufacturer financial statements), fixed operations and analysis, including parts inventory. Mark specializes in teaching best practices of the dealership parts department.


Thomas Shaughness, Academy Instructor
Thomas ShaughnessOffering 10-plus years of auto-industry experience, Tom specializes in financial management, certified by the Association for Talent Development as a Master Trainer and is a Certified Public Accountant. Tom began his automotive career at Central Atlantic Toyota Distributors in various field sales and regional staff positions. Before joining NADA he was chief financial officer of Freedom Automotive Group, which had seven dealerships that included 21 LLCs. During his time there, Freedom Automotive Group purchased three stores, was awarded an open point and built five new facilities in three years. Tom’s broad automotive experience provides a strong base of financial and operational skills that help students better understand dealership operations and challenges.


Matthew VollmersAcademy Instructor
Matthew VollmersMatt brings 35 years of automotive experience to NADA. He first started a detail/mechanical reconditioning business serving the public, as well as various municipalities and dealerships in the metro Washington, D.C., area. Prior to joining NADA, Matt served as general manager of three dealership franchises under two rooftops: Mazda, Volkswagen and Volvo. Matt also has extensive OEM experience in CPO, fixed operations and variable operations with Mazda North American Operations, Nissan USA, Toyota USA and Southeast Toyota Distributors. His broad retail and wholesale background provides students with a strong base of operational skill sets. He is a graduate of the NADA Academy and is certified by the Association for Talent Development as a Master Trainer.


Heather Westman, Academy Instructor
Heather WestmanAs a second-generation dealer principal, Heather offers 20-plus years of auto and medium-duty truck experience. She previously worked in all aspects of dealership operations, including as a digital marketing/IT manager, salesperson, F&I director and general manager. She was also treasurer of the Sioux Falls Region Chevrolet Advertising and Marketing Group. Heather is a Mark of Excellence Award winner, and her family’s flagship store is a two-time Ford President’s Award winner. She specialized in purchasing troubled stores and turning them into profitable operations. A 2003 graduate of the NADA Academy, Heather is now a financial management instructor there and is certified by the Association for Talent Development as a Master Trainer. Her strategy is management by the numbers, specializing in inventory management and process development around strategic culture.

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