ATD Dealer Academy Prepares Graduates to Meet the Challenges Ahead


McLEAN, Va. (May 1, 2013) - Josh and Vaughn Waters, cousins from Waters International Trucks in Meridian, Miss., are among the recent graduates of the ATD Dealer Academy. They represent the fourth-generation of family members working at the dealership, which was started by their great-grandfather 75 years ago.

"The classes [at the academy] provide examples that allow you to identify areas of the dealership that can be improved," said Vaughn Waters, who says his time spent at the academy was well worth it. 

Vaughn's father, David Waters, vice president of the dealership agrees. "It was well worth the investment," he said at the graduation ceremony held last month in McLean, Va. "Some ideas from the program that have been brought back to the dealership have been implemented and are paying off right now."

Dan Shoemaker and Scott Shaffer from JX Enterprises in Hartland, Wis., are also among the graduates. "It's the nuts and bolts of running a dealership, it is fantastic," said Shaffer, referring to lessons learned at the academy.

"This is a great way to put new [dealership] managers in the mix," said ATD Vice Chairman Eric Jorgensen, president and CEO of JX Enterprises and an academy graduate who attended the graduation ceremony.

Katie Hopkins, executive vice president of Truck Centers in St. Louis, Mo., sponsored employee Jeremy Williams throughout the program. "He has already been implementing what he has learned," said Hopkins, who served as the first chairperson of the ATD NextGen committee and was an honorary member of the ATD board. "We're excited about the new ideas he is bringing back to the dealership."

The class of 26 students from the U.S., Canada and Mexico began the program in June 2012. They were required to complete six weeks of classroom instruction and 45 weeks of dealership training. 

About ATD

ATD represents about 2,000 medium- and heavy-duty truck dealers. ATD members share in NADA's programs, services and benefits. ATD hosts an annual convention for dealers and dealership managers. For more information, visit

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