Clifton Reed, GSM & Jerry Romano, President and GM at Windward Auto Sales

February 28, 2023
ASOTU was on the ground during the 2023 NADA Show and caught up with Clifton Reed and Jerry Romano.
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Clifton Reed is the GSM at Windward Auto Sales.

Jerry Romano is the President and General Manager at Windward Auto Sales.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In the Dirt with ASOTU. Well, hey, I'm standing here on the NADA show floor with Jerry and Cliff. And you guys are where in the country, Hawaii, not well, kind of in the country, not really in the country. Yeah, it's America. My in laws were there a couple of weeks ago, and they were like, yo, it's a different world out there. So talk to me because being a dealer in really a country, that's that, or a state that's on an island like that? What are the challenges that you face that maybe you don't see a lot of your counterparts face it?

Jerry Romano: 0:37

Obviously, inventory management with getting a day supply dialed in and used cars is a huge, huge issue in Hawaii, trying to acquire the workforce. It's a limited limited pool of code to grab from

Kyle Mountsier: 0:53

Yeah, so how are you man at like, when you're thinking workforce? Especially like, how are you managing making sure you attract people and keep them in that in that area?

Clifton Reed: 1:02

I think for the most part, it's probably the company culture. And you know, you got to promote the culture that you have, especially our long term employees. Those are the guys who really tell the story as to what it's like to work at a company. And you put a good picture out there, and then you attract good people.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:19

So what is the story about what it's like to work at your company?

Clifton Reed: 1:22

Well, both of us, it's funny to say that I started without leadership in 1992, I believe Jerry started in 1991. So we've come up through many transitions, many different managers, many processes. And for the most part, our owner prior has always had that family feel everything he did without company, involved family. And that's what we try to continue as the leader, current leaders of our company.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:47

So 30 year over 30 years with the same company, what I mean, you've seen the ups and downs of the industry. And I mean, whether it'd be recession or high times, you've seen multiple of them being in being in the state of Hawaii, like, what what are you experiencing right now, that's altogether different, but all together the same, potentially, of what things that you've seen over the last 30 years?

Jerry Romano: 2:09

Well, like you said, the same or different, it's really the same in a different cycle. You know, right now, we're coming off a high, you know, Dealers made a lot of money, okay, but but we're going to come into a recession, or we're going into this recession. And, you know, I think, with our wisdom and years of experience, we're preparing ourselves for it and really know how to go through it. And one of the things is the way we mark it, you know, it's actually something that I've been doing for years on Island, I have a brand personality, and I actually do things a little different than most dealers do to separate myself and and create a culture of high expectations where customers want to come and buy a car.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:52

You know, I what I know of Hawaii, there's a very, like, just naturally community feel about the Island and all that, how do you guys lean into that community feel but within the business nature of what you do?

Clifton Reed: 3:06

You have to respect the culture. Bottom line, if you're going to come to Hawaii, and you're going to especially do business there, you try to understand their needs, not your own, and then you make your business model fit, you know, something that they will be attracted to.

Kyle Mountsier: 3:19

Yeah, that's awesome. Guys, that's really encouraging. It's cool to see someone for 30 years, be with a group and be with a store. And hey, I guess it's probably not too bad being in Hawaii. Thank you for listening to In the Dirt with ASOTU. We love the automotive industry and the people who make it run day in and day out. We would love to connect with you more through our daily dose of fun, a free email that you can sign up for at That's a s o t We put our heart and soul into it every day. Thanks again for listening. Join us next time for more Conversations in the dirt with ASOTU.

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