Damon Lester, Owner, Nissan of Bowie

December 1, 2022
ASOTU was on the ground with Damon Lester during the 2022 NAMAD Annual Conference.
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Damon Lester is the Owner of Nissan of Bowie and is the outgoing President of NAMAD.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In the Dirt with ASOTU.

Paul Daly: 0:04

All right, Damon. All right. This is your last, like, literally, we're in the final hours three, as El Presidente have NAMAD, what's the sensation? What's the feeling right now?

Damon Lester: 0:16

You know what? I'm ready to go.

Unknown: 0:18

That's good. That's a good way to be.

Damon Lester: 0:20

It's a good calming feeling right now and

Unknown: 0:22

get the mic up. Just

Damon Lester: 0:24

I'm ready to go. And it's time and I'm excited for this new new, new right area of of my life. And I'll still be active with NAMAD has been named vice chair. So my role will be different. Yeah. And I'm looking forward to it.

Paul Daly: 0:39

So we're gonna talk about two things, one, passing the torch. And then number two, I want to talk about what what you're looking to do, you know, in the next chapter, so tell me a little about Hugene, we had him on a little bit earlier. But tell me tell me a little bit about how he came into consideration. And, you know, like, what your what your aspirations are for him.

Damon Lester: 0:58

So Hugene actually, woulda came through a search firm. And it was about 115 120 people to actually applied for a position. Why, and he got narrowed down to three. And Hugene won solely on energy, passion, he was hungry.

Paul Daly: 1:15

Come on, you found out he was an Eagles fan? And he said that question. He said that question was actually on the list that

Damon Lester: 1:22

was on the list. I was like, I know who put that question. I was on the list. No, but you

Paul Daly: 1:25

said energy. Passionate was the other thing.

Damon Lester: 1:27

Oh, and he's hungry. Yeah. And he reminds me, a lot of me when I started here at NAMAD. 20 years ago, I'm an outsider or was an outsider. And I came in with a clean sheet of paper. And all he has a servant leadership attitude about him. And so he's going to take this association to another level, different level than what I've been able to do.

Paul Daly: 1:49

Yeah, I think that's really indicative of any great organization, you can get a leader to come in, right, and then give it a little bit different spin. Like you see this in great bands. Right, right bands that last, you know, last go the distance. Yeah, right. It's still the same band, and they're still playing music, and they still have their crowd, but they understand how to like, move it a little bit this way and move it a little bit that way. And it is exciting to see him come in. I have to say he looked a little bit shell shocked on day one. But now he actually looks a lot more comfortable after just like 24 or 48 hours.

Damon Lester: 2:21

So I'm going to the benefit is I'm going to continue to mentor him and show him around. I didn't have that when I started. No, not

Unknown: 2:29

at all. I didn't just show up. We got to put some stuff together. Right. What are your systems? Yeah. For this crickets, he's

Damon Lester: 2:38

coming in with mentorship. Yeah. And I think it was a good move from the board's perspective to to pick someone that was non traditional, which was hard. Yeah. Right. Because you always want to go with someone come short,

Paul Daly: 2:50

because everyone's going to ask what's your resume? Why are you qualified to lead us

Damon Lester: 2:54

why and but he's hungry. Yeah. And that type of thirst, II will go and run through mountains and learn, because he has nothing to base anything off of, then that's an asset to him. But I also think it's it was a good move to pick on a millennial to lead the association into the next millennium.

Paul Daly: 3:11

Absolutely. Well, this is this goes back to something we've been talking about a lot. And that is really the opportunity for the NAMAD community to get to hopscotch right, in a time of transition. Right. And I think it's a brilliant stroke to pick a millennial who's obviously poised and accomplished and hungry. Right? You pick somebody who's smooth, I gotta say that right? He gets up on stage like, he's, he's, he's dialed in. So let's talk about your next chapter. What are you looking for in the next like, 12 months? And then like, the next years?

Damon Lester: 3:42

Well, I'm gonna feel a lot more focused in my store. Yes. And I need to make sure that when interest rates go up, that my expenses are in line as those things that we can't control, but I want to make sure we are operating most but as efficient and effective as we possibly can. Cars are coming in. So we need to move volume, right? And we need to be what a new volume right? You need to move volume with urgency. Yes. So when I when I get back next week,

Paul Daly: 4:09

it's gonna be different level of focus. It's hard to ship an order when you can't be home every day. That's right. It really is. And you've done a great job over the last year yeah, but I know you've been chomping at the bit like when you see the things that you want to do and then go and do

Damon Lester: 4:21

that right I was unable to I have to start stopped because I have to go out of town but it's now I'm gonna be able to focus and hone in and get these processes lined up, get our digital retailing gain stepped up and really be able to focus and move cars and take care of the customers.

Paul Daly: 4:36

It's an exciting time and I don't think anybody deserves a nice calm, peaceful transition and send off yeah, then you do so looking forward to doing it make it a little more trouble together. Oh, absolutely. Right. We got to make as ASOTU and I think it's a little bit of a like, I'm just gonna take the little handcuffs off to him right now.

Damon Lester: 4:52

Yeah, now I can see some be free. Free, David. I can't wait to see what we do. Thank you. Love you, brother.

Kyle Mountsier: 5:00

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 asotu.com. That's a s o t u.com. 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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