NADA Academy Grads Recognized as ‘Standouts’ by Automotive News


EAST HANOVER, N.J. (July 27, 2012) - Second-generation auto dealer Matthew Haiken attributes his early success in automotive retailing to his father who served as a mentor and lessons learned at the National Automobile Dealers Association.

This week, Automotive News recognized Haiken, a 2006 NADA Academy graduate, along with 16 other Academy graduates and NADA 20 Group members, in its first 40 Under 40 list of dealership standouts in auto retailing.

“I'm so honored to be a part of 40 Under 40,” said Haiken, 29, dealer principal of Prestige Imports, Inc. in East Hanover, N.J., about 20 miles west of New York City. “The combination of hands-on mentoring from my father and NADA has really given me the foundation to lead me where I am today, and it will continue to lead me where I'm going.”

Haiken entered the Academy in 2005 after graduating with a double major in business and marketing from George Washington University in the nation's capital. He first started attending NADA 20 Group Volvo meetings at age 16. In 2009, he was elected chairman of the 20 Group at age 26.

“It doesn't matter how old you are or how many franchises you have, there isn't a 20 Group meeting that goes by where you don't come away with something new to work on,” Haiken added. “One of the things I love about the car business is that you will always find opportunities to improve and grow the business. There's always something new to learn.”

The NADA Academy, which began in 1979, provides current and future operators of new-car and new-truck dealerships with training programs to run profitable businesses. The 11-month program includes six one-week classroom sessions at NADA in McLean, Va.

“We only graduate the best,” said Marilynn Youngs, senior director of NADA University, the education and training arm of NADA, which includes the Academy and 20 Groups. “There's a common thread among all the honorees. Regardless of their formal education and experiences, lifelong learning is key to achieving success at the dealership.

“It's not surprising that nearly half of the 40 Under 40 list attended the NADA Academy. And many of those continue their career development through the NADA 20 Groups,” Youngs added. “It's heartwarming to hear these honorees attribute their success at the dealership to what they learned at NADA.”

According to Automotive News, several hundred candidates were nominated for 40 Under 40. The nominees then submitted a form with their career information, which was reviewed by the editors. Phone calls were made to references to learn more about the candidates.

“When we were looking through the candidate information forms during the selection process, graduates of the NADA Academy and Northwood University were noted with interest by the panel of editors,” said Mary Beth Vander Schaaf, deputy managing editor of Automotive News.

The other NADA Academy graduates and 20 Group members who made the list were John Altman, Todd Bondy, Matt Browning, Matthew Buchanan, Jamie Darvish, Tatiana Dyer, Jason Hachmeister, Shannon Harper, Jeff Lupient, Mark Mason, Jr., Jamaal McCoy, Shep Nelson, Adam Parks, Brad Scott, Scott Simons and J.R. Toothman III.

“There are two types of dealership operators: those who have graduated from the NADA Academy and those who should,” Youngs said. “Academy graduates and 20 Group members, like professional athletes, recognize the value of investing in themselves through continuous training and leveraging the strength of their peers.”

Haiken said some of the experiences he values most since attending the Academy have been meeting the instructors, networking and staying in contact with the dealership professionals who were in his classes.

“I also bonded with the instructors. Every year at the NADA convention, I always meet up with the instructors or if I ever have an issue I can pick up the phone and call them,” he said. “I've gotten so much value out of the relationships.”

About NADA University

NADA University equips dealers and their employees to get results with the right knowledge, information, coaching and resources to develop both skills and confidence. Visit for more details.

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