How Northwood University Prepares Students for Automotive Success with Todd Caputo and Northwood Students

June 21, 2024
Glenn Lundy hosts an inspiring discussion with Todd Caputo, founder of Todd Caputo Consulting, and a dynamic group of students from Northwood University: Noah Koss, Breanne Pratley, Hanna Wood, and Zak McLeod.
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In this lively episode of ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv, Glenn Lundy hosts an inspiring discussion with Todd Caputo, founder of Todd Caputo Consulting, and a dynamic group of students from Northwood University: Noah Koss, Breanne Pratley, Hanna Wood, and Zak McLeod. They explore the unique role Northwood University plays in shaping the next generation of automotive leaders. Todd Caputo shares his initiative to bring Northwood students to ASOTU CON, highlighting the importance of investing in future industry talent.

The Northwood students enthusiastically discuss their experiences, the university’s innovative curriculum, and how it prepares them for successful careers in the automotive industry. They highlight the value of networking opportunities, real-world learning experiences, and the supportive community at Northwood. The conversation underscores the importance of embracing change and innovation in the automotive industry and showcases the bright future these passionate students are working towards.

0:00 Intro

0:54 Todd Caputo on the importance of supporting future automotive leaders

2:21 Hanna Wood on why she is a Northwood advocate

3:27 Noah Koss on relational opportunities and networking

5:01 Breanne Pratley on Northwood’s innovative programs and internships

6:48 Zak McLeod on the changing landscape of the automotive industry

7:35 The competitiveness and passion of Northwood students

10:21 Addressing misconceptions about finding talent in the automotive industry

11:17 Hanna Wood on the rigorous and engaging Northwood experience

Thanks to Effectv for making this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions possible! Learn more about Effect here:

Unknown: 0:02

You're listening to the asotu con sessions by Effectv live from asotu con 2024

Glenn Lundy: 0:09

Hey. This is Glenn Lundy, and I am here on the asotu con podcast stage in collaboration with effect TV. Sitting across from me are Todd Caputo of Todd caputos Consulting. I've also got Noah costs is in the building. I got Brianne prattles is here with us as well. Hannah with no h wood is in the building. And Zach ka my man, Zach with a K, Z, a K, McCloud, he's in the building as well. They're all students over there at Northwood University, and we're here today talking about building the next generation of automotive, which obviously this is what, this is who we've got right here, right the next generation of automotive. So Todd, talk to us a little bit. What's going on. What's this program? What's this all

Todd Caputo: 0:54

about? So northwood's been around for a long time. How? How many years has north have been 1960 1960 1960 right? And I always knew about North was a dealer. Growing up, I didn't end up going to college there. But, you know, I was talking to Paul and Kyle about organizing this event, and I said, I think it's really important that we have the future in this business, the human capital, being able to come to an event like this, finding out what a soda was about, becoming a part of the asot community, and I'm willing to sponsor however many kids we can get from Northwood to come and some of the staff. And that was what we did. Yeah,

Glenn Lundy: 1:29

I love that, man. I love that you're pouring into the next generation in that way, creating opportunities, right? That's the true definition of like a servant leader. Isn't someone that is willing to do anything for for others. It's those that seek opportunities to do things for others, and you're clearly doing that. I had never heard of Northwood university, so, like, a year and a half ago, Oh, right. And I've been in the auto industry for a long time, like, probably longer than I would like to admit, but I'd never even heard of it. And then I guess it was my guy Jeremy knowing there he is, right. There I got Jeremy, longest man in the room. He's like, man, I've got, I'm teaching at this Northwood University. It's like a school for a car dealer kids. I'm like, what? Like, what is this thing? So, Hannah, I'm gonna start with you. Tell me a little bit. What is Northwood, what does it mean to you, and how does this play into where you're trying to go with your life. What

Hanna Wood: 2:21

a perfect way to start it. You are talking to the biggest advocate for Northwood that there's ever been. I am like the biggest die hard fan for Northwood. So to me, Northwood is all about the people that are there. I'm the biggest Michigan fan you'll ever meet. And I walked on campus, saw the leaves changing because we're in the middle of the woods. I met the people that we have, the speakers we have on campus, and I have never met these kinds of people that are so wonderful in my life. And just going to that campus one time, I instantly committed within like that week, it's gonna take me somewhere super successful, into the car industry. I met asotu. I've been to NAD I've been to some great conventions, and it's all because of the amazing campus we

Glenn Lundy: 3:02

have that is amazing. I can't wait to go. You invited me?

Hanna Wood: 3:05

I did. I really did. Yeah, I did get to go check it out. Yeah, you actually kind of have to now, like you're required.

Glenn Lundy: 3:11

I'm totally in on that perfect know what? Talk to me a little bit the like building the next generation. What is Northwood doing for you that you believe is setting you up to be the future of automotive, or are they you could be like nothing. Bro,

Unknown: 3:27

definitely a leader in setting us out for success. I'd say, I'd build off a hand on what she says speakers in class. Big thing, as our professor, LG bright always says it's a relational based industry, and I believe we get a lot of opportunities to go out, expend your out and see what works for us, get the best of what we can find. And, you know, see what the automotive industry has to offer, and take it from what we want to learn and just go from there. I really think it's what we make of it for sure. So paint

Glenn Lundy: 3:53

a picture for me real quick. So it's a campus that's beautiful with leaves and all the things that Anna just Yes, it is. And then you mentioned, like speakers. So you guys are sitting in a classroom setting or something, and there's Yes, random speakers cruising around the campus or every week

Noah Koss: 4:08

is a new thing with algae. So we'll walk into class 9am bright and early, and we'll be have we'll have a speaker ready for us to learn about their company, possible job opportunities. I'd love to hear every speaker, though. So it's very big being in class, and it's you never know what you're going to get with Northwood. And that's always the great thing every week is a new week. And it's just like I said, what you make of it? So if you go to class, you talk to people, you network, you're going to have a great time at Northwood, for sure.

Glenn Lundy: 4:34

I love it, man, who's been your favorite speaker so far. I'm

Unknown: 4:37

going to have to go with Glenn Lundy.

Glenn Lundy: 4:42

So somebody give this man the keys he just won whatever prize we're giving? That's what I'm talking you officially are the future of automotive. That response right there. That was beautiful. Jump in. So I want to ask

Todd Caputo: 4:56

you all a question, what are your degrees going to be in when you graduate? You.

Breanne Pratley: 5:01

Yeah. So one thing that Northwood offers is an MBA BBA program. So it's where you can get your BBA in three years, and then your master's in four or one. So it's four years total. And so for me, I'm doing my undergrad right now for automotive marketing and management, and then minoring in finance. So I just completed my first year at Northwood, and I'll be under graduating my undergrad in 2026 and then my MBA in 2027 incredible,

Glenn Lundy: 5:26

absolutely incredible. What about you? Zach?

Zak McLeod: 5:28

So I am in the automotive Marketing Management Program, and with that, like Noah and Hannah both said, we get to spend a lot of time meeting people in the industry. So I'll be graduating next spring, right about this time, already make a difference in the industry.

Glenn Lundy: 5:42

I love that, man. I'm curious. You guys said the Northwoods been around since when? 1960s Okay, so the 1960s so this school's been around for 60 something years, right? Here we are in 2024 technology has changed. A lot of things are emerging. So RAM, would you say? Is Northwood keeping up with these kind of things. Are they kind of old school, like the rest of the car business intend to be sometimes, or are they staying ahead of these things? Yeah, so

Breanne Pratley: 6:08

I would say that Northwood does a really good job at keeping up, especially like with AI. Our professors help us use AI in the classroom. For me, my marketing class, my professor. Hello, your professors do what. They help us incorporate AI into our learning.

Glenn Lundy: 6:22

They help you use AI in the classroom, not like some other schools, where they're like, you cannot use any AI correct. So

Breanne Pratley: 6:29

they actually teach us how to how to do it, yeah? So we're using it in the correct manner. So I think that's an advantage that Northwood has for us, and they do a good job, for sure. That's

Glenn Lundy: 6:40

incredible. Yeah? That's incredible. Zach, what does the future of auto look like? Man, what are you setting yourself up for? Like? What's the, what's the what's the vision? What do you see?

Unknown: 6:48

Yeah, so the for me, the future of automotive, as many people, have decided, when we're here, that we've gotten to talk to is that there's a lot of change coming in the industry, and that with being in college right now, graduating soon, that we're coming in at a pretty pivotal, pivotal time to come out and make a difference. So with that, with all the digital retailing going on now, with a lot of up and coming companies here that are ready to kind of take ride that wave and kind of maybe make a difference in the industry, and boot some of the bigger companies out of the direction take a little bit more market share, I think it's up to us to kind of keep that wave going, Yeah, with a lot of people, whether or not they're at Northwood, to keep that making that difference for us. Because, like I said, it's changing, and there's new players in the game. So it's nice to see that happen. It's competitive industry, and people want to win.

Glenn Lundy: 7:35

It sound like Drew Brees going after somebody. It's all I could think he's like, there's new games, new game. You know, we're just going to get in there coach and got to do what we got to do and take them out. Man, I love it. Todd, these are incredible young adults. They speak so well. They're put together, like, phenomenally. Talk to me about what you are doing and how this, like, help me understand how you're producing things like this. So how northwood's producing things like

Todd Caputo: 8:00

so one of the things I learned meeting these great young people last couple days is a lot of the large auto groups, public and private, are going to Northwood to recruit. I thought that was huge, like, there was a huge learning for me that you know, Penske, Hendrick Lithia, when you guys told me, like, they have recruiters on campus all the time. You guys have events that'd be great. Y'all have passed in like a minute. That was one, one of the learnings that I got. The other thing that I learned too is, you know, 2030, years ago, when I first heard about Northwood, when I was deciding where I was going to go to college, it was kind of a college where only, like, car dealers kids went to. And one of these guys, I can't remember which one. I said, how many kids are going to graduate this year? And I think you said 350 and I said, how many are dealers kids? And you said about 50% so only 50% of them are going to go back to maybe a family store. The other 50% go pretty much anywhere in this industry, okay? And that was one of the maybe even happier about bringing them here. So everybody has a good understanding of that, because you know this, you own your own business. Human capital is so important. And when you can get young people like this that are smart, that want to work, that truly love the car business right out of college, what it's about, it's the best pond efficient is there 100% so

Unknown: 9:18

I'll jump on on that. You're looking at four people that are all first generation automotive students, so we're diving in head first, and like Todd said, we're just doing it for the love of the industry. I think we all had a love for cars at a very young age, and that's what drives us to just kind of make a industry passion, as well as get a job out of it, just to keep the passion going. For sure, love it.

Breanne Pratley: 9:36

So yeah, I was gonna touch on that too. All four of us, none of our parents, are in the industry, so we're all kind of getting our foot in the door. Yeah, so, yeah, nope. So none of us are dealer kids, and to speak on like the Hendrick and Penske, Noah and I are both going to be interning with Hendrik this summer, and Zach's going to be with Penske this summer. And Hendrick actually came to our school and had, like. Reviews for students, which is cool too, that Northwood has those opportunities for us, and they host career fairs twice a year too. So we get that experience by going to those events and meeting new people, networking and stuff like that. So we are like, have these great opportunities for the summer, because, you know, Northwood provides that for us, and we take advantage of the opportunities handed to us. It's incredible.

Glenn Lundy: 10:21

Yeah, I love it. I love it. Biggest thing I hear, I work with a lot of dealers around the country, and I always hear I can't find any good people and young people don't want to work there. You know, all these things, right? I hear these things I know

Unknown: 10:38

is gonna ruin us. No, they're not terrible. I

Glenn Lundy: 10:40

know these things are all not true, but I hear it often. So I am curious, since all of you guys came not from the industry, I'm curious like, what attracted you to Northwood? You said you're the biggest advocate, right? Hannah, and that you love it, right? But it sounds like it's routine, it's structured, it's coordinated, it's disciplined, yeah, I don't think lazy people will make it through, right? It doesn't seem that way. So tell me how they were able to attract, yeah, a personality like yours, yeah, that has that hard work ethic and then is driven and loves being in school and learning, yeah,

Unknown: 11:17

so definitely the hard work and driven. I think I'm in like eight different organizations on campus. I'm in charge of, like, our auto show on the E Board, like, plenty of things to do on campus. And I would love to say that we all have taken our fair share of what we can do. My original first time on campus was the auto show already, lots going on, lots of like routine, which is, it's kind of like, you'll find that a lot of the people on campus, they've been raised very well. Anybody that sleeps in doesn't go to class, you don't see them for long. And I think that's also helps Northwood keep its amazing reputation. So

Glenn Lundy: 11:52

your first time there was an auto show, yeah. How did they attract you to the auto show? Oh, I'm

Unknown: 11:56

getting there. It's gonna be good. I want

Glenn Lundy: 11:59

to know somebody like you into their

Unknown: 12:01

school? Yeah. So I had no and I only went because it was an orientation, and I heard the Miami football coach was gonna be there, and so, like, I'm freaking out, this is gonna be great. And we had, like, amazing guest speakers on campus, and we had the head lady of dodge for the entire United States, got it, spoke like two sentences with her, went back and talk there again. I'm pretty sure within that week, I committed to Northwood for automotive, like it was completely convincing. Last year we had, I forget his name. He has the best sales for Subaru. He's the biggest dealership on the other side of the ocean in Europe. And he's, like, coming over to the US. It's totally amazing. We have, like, just the craziest people come. Obviously you're coming. Totally amazing. Todd's gonna come because Todd's the best. It's gonna be so awesome. If you've heard me tell you to come to campus, it's because you're amazing, and you'll only make it better.

Glenn Lundy: 12:51

You're amazing. You're all amazing. Thank you for being here with me. You guys heard it, right? So all you need to do is get the Miami head football coach to come do events over at your dealerships, and you can attract amazing humans like this right here. Can we make some noise for these incredible humans? Thank you.

Unknown: 13:07

Thank you for listening to this. Asotu concession by Effectv. If you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcast. We have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker, Monday through Friday here on podcasts, also live streamed on YouTube and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collabs. Auto collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email. We put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to asotu com. We'll see you next time you.

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