Michael Lucki

October 3, 2023
Michael Lucki and Kyle Mountsier sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023.
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Michael Lucki is the Academy Management Instructor at the National Automobile Dealers' Association.

Thanks to Effectv for making ASOTU CON Sessions possible!

Paul Daly: 0:02You're listening to his soul to concessions by effective live from a soda con 2023.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:11

All right, we are here on I think the last episode of concessions, I don't know when it's getting released in the order. So I apologize if this isn't the last one for 2023. But sponsored by effective and they've been a great partner, to the podcast and to the content that we put out. And I'm sitting here with Michael Lewicki. Even though there's zero T's in his name, it somehow found its way in here, Academy instructor with nada. Welcome to the pod man.

Michael Lucki: 0:40

Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. We've

Unknown: 0:41

had a few conversations with you in the past. And so it's always it's always my job as podcasts interviewer to get a unique thing out of the way. And you let me know just now that like when some people say that the car businesses, this is a family business, or we're all family here, you know, it's a generational business. For your family. It means totally different. Give me the family tree real quick.

Michael Lucki: 1:05

Okay, so I am the only family member that is not employed by the business. So or as the other side of it at this time. Yes, time. All right. So so my I have two sisters that are both older than me both have worked in the stores. One currently works in the store. The other sister's husband is our general manager of our Toyota store in New York. And the other sister married into a family that now has four employees amongst our stores. So she married really well. According to my family. Hey, yeah, they're

Unknown: 1:38

like you did a good job. Thank you. You brought up brought them all home.

Michael Lucki: 1:42

Good. So beyond that my uncle is our parts manager was a fort was a pharmacist. pharmacist is a perfect job for a parts manager. It really

Unknown: 1:51

it's basically the same thing. Right? You know, it's like, you know, what do you need? What's the salve? Here it is. Do you have any questions before it goes into the car? The inventories all back there, right.

Michael Lucki: 2:01

All that kind if there's any obsolescence it's a big problem. That's a huge problem. So it's definitely a family business. When I worked there, we had a family atmosphere everyone there felt like they were part of the family and it was not easy leaving a family like that. Your family and also the family in the in the dealership?

Unknown: 2:20

Yeah, I'm sure so what yeah, what did that decision look like? And why? Why? There's has to be some level of passion behind it. If I had to guess to go to the academy side.

Michael Lucki: 2:31

Yeah, yeah, the passion is the person that I'm married. Hmm. So I did what was in the best interest of my wife and my kids. Yes. And made that move. And it was, was not an easy move. It took about two years for that to happen. Okay. And, and as a graduate of the academy back in 2015, it was a great opportunity for me to come and give back and, and serve our community. And there's so many connections on the academy side, that I didn't know about until afterwards. people that knew my family, people that knew our dealerships, people that were went to school with my parents, people that it was just it was it, it feels like a family at the Academy, and we support each other. All the instructors support each other. Everyone has their own specialty. Everyone has their own topics, but everyone understands our vision, which is to serve to serve our members with advocacy and education. Yeah. And it's meant we're serving our members. So it feels it feels like you're really still in service to the automotive retail industry.

Unknown: 3:31

So cool. So you know, nada is, is very interesting thing. I mean, when I first got in the, into the industry, nada was just a value, right? It was like, Oh, you got your nada value on that car, right? It was a retail value. And then I learned it as a dealer. It was, oh, there's a wholesale value there. And so that was my first kind of, you know, association with the four letters, right? And then more broadly, I start getting emails about a big show once a year. And I'm like, Oh, cool. There's a big show. That's neat. And then my dealer goes, well, we are going to 20 group, you know, our nada, 20 group, and I'll say, Okay, I guess they got these things where they go on fancy trips and talk about the bottom line, right? And then all of a sudden, I meet the Academy, which is this whole training program for people to become dealers and to learn more and not just dealers, but there's multiple training programs in it. When you say advocacy, advocacy and education, walk us through, like how the heart of that comes out in in each of these because I think it does, it's not just like the advocacy is over here. And the education is over here, right?

Michael Lucki: 4:41

Sure. Sure. So it's easier for me to speak about the education side, because that's what I'm in every single day. But the advocacy part of NAD is how it was founded. In over 100 years ago, a group of dealers came together and said we need to support and represent our dealers and dealers across the country in Washington. And because of that and And as a byproduct of that, the the dealers who are really my employer, which is the board of directors, which has people from every state, that are dealers that are serving on the board of directors, non paid, by the way, right serving, and including some of the people that you had here, they're their family that were on the board there, or are currently serving on the board. They determine what we focus on. So they are really our guide about what is important, and what they want us to develop. And they they look at us and they determine who is going to work in any da now, all of the things that you that you mentioned that we do. And although I'm the education that 20 groups, the academy the show. I was shocked when I came on board, how few people work in nada. Hmm, I really thought that the show was put on by 50 100 100 Because that's how big it is. And you know, by putting on a show here, it's so how many people do you think work on the NADA show full time?

Unknown: 5:57

Well, I've I think I've got a little bit more information now over the last couple of years since there's a lot more integration. But I think that like the full time show crew seems like it's only three or four people that are dedicated to the show. It's less than

Michael Lucki: 6:11

10. Right now. Yeah, I don't know exactly the number but it's less than 10. I was blown away by that when you see how much they do, how much they put on. And the the scalability of what they've been able to do is just tremendous. And

Unknown: 6:23

there's a lot of partners that come alongside for the show, I know to help with, you know, the vendors and things like that. But yeah, the core team that's actually working year round. And I found out this year, they plan the venue five years in advance.

Michael Lucki: 6:38

Yeah. It's a machine. It's it is a machine. And it's a wonderful machine. I mean, the fact that we can bring 20,000 people together in one location, right. But what I'm what I'm closer to is the Academy and the Academy is also a machine built upon constant improvement, and continuous education of ourselves as instructors as well as our students. So we this year, we're going to serve proximately 22,000 to 2500 students in our program. And that's a lot of students that we all that we take pride in knowing each and every one of them personally, that they know what what class they graduated where they're from, just like in the dealership trying to deliver a personalized experience where you know, the person's car, you know, the person's family. Oh, it's

Unknown: 7:24

very, it's very, like, cohort ish, right? Like I start I, I've gotten to know some of these these groups that have gone through the academy, and they're like, they're like, besties for life.

Michael Lucki: 7:37

Yeah, it's something special that happens when you're together in a class for a year of people that you normally don't get a chance to interact with. I call it the power of the room. I call that's what I call it. And that's what we all call it is that the network and the power of the people in the room that you're around, is really what makes our program so incredible. Whether the power of the room has 300 years of experience, 500 years of experience, 20 people 30 people, the network creates knowledge, trust sharing, and development along the way. Yeah. And we as instructors get to see a small bit of each of these rooms, and bring that together. And when I hear an idea, I put it on a board in my mind, I put it actually a physical board. And then I see how many other classes say that. And if it's mentioned enough, it's going to it's going to be mentioned by us, then it's going to be mentioned in our book, then it's going to be mentioned, it's a part of our curriculum. So the curriculum that we have is really developed by the power of the room. And the connection between education and advocacy. Getting back to your question is that whenever there is a question that is outside of the traditional education, we have staff that knows about it on Capitol Hill, that can help us with that provide resources, provide guidance, and also connect us with dealers that are doing things to fix this issue. Yeah, so every class I have a board have a parking lot of questions. And at the end of the class, we have we've addressed each one, and some questions or whatever.

Unknown: 8:56

Yeah, I mean, the majority of the people that are I mean, probably all are at some level working in a dealer or dealer group right now that are walking through these classes, right. And so they're experiencing things in real life and learning at the same time. What are like maybe one or two of the questions that are coming most often recently, or the things that more people are struggling with? And not?

Michael Lucki: 9:21

Absolutely. So we start the class with challenges, every class with challenges and those challenges are pretty consistent amongst the classes. And most of those challenges are addressed by the content that we cover, because we're updating our content all the time. Yeah, we have a program development team that helps us develop content and put it in they make us look good, not just wonderful. So we can actually stay in touch with what's important. But then the parking lot questions are the ones that are not in our content. Sure, are ones that come up that we don't have an answer to and I don't want to give the wrong answer. So I want to think about it. Provide resources provide guide guidance and provide the right connection to answer that question. And those are the ones that are on my mind when I think about each class and what's what's the next thing that's coming. So there's a lot of questions about Eevee. Incentives, application of Eevee incentives right now, a lot of the questions were brought up earlier on your panel with Mike Stanton, our president, as well as lies of origins, talking about all the things that are happening in the industry. So so that those parking lot questions are things that we actually if we don't have a good answer for, we'll bring up in other forums, we'll bring it up between our instructor team, we'll bring it up with our advocacy team, we'll bring it up with our bi annual meeting with our 20 group moderators to see if any of them of our 50 or so 20 Group moderators and Academy staff have an answer or have a connection, or have knowledge to that. That's what provides that value. So our next clubhouse room, which is interesting, we actually have a clubhouse room, which is once a month only for Academy students and graduates, the topic is about Eevee incentives. And right now we're working with the IRS to figure out how to make sure that it's an easy application of those Eevee incentives. Well, it's

Unknown: 11:05

the application, it's the it's the understanding who can apply what the application is for it, how to and then more importantly, how to get paid on the back end of that thing as we go where the dealer is going to be receiving the funds right in 2024.

Michael Lucki: 11:20

So we have representatives from our students in the academy that have volunteered to be interviewed by the IRS, to showcase the system to test it out. And people that have have direct knowledge of how that incentive program is being applied at their stores, whether they're dealer principals, we asked for people that were involved in that process in our last class, and Michael Hayes, our director, got four or five people and now he's giving feedback on their application to the IRS. So there's their love to hear that there's lots of connection.

Unknown: 11:48

So many people in the auto industry wouldn't even know that that's happening. Right. But that is happening. And that's how education is meeting the advocacy is meeting what's happening on Capitol Hill, and then what's meeting in the practical outworking? Because that's going to be a problem that we have to solve for, like a few months from now. Right? Yeah, I love it.

Michael Lucki: 12:06

Yeah, so that's one of them. There are other ones that come up all the time, about interest rates, about your things that are happening in the industry, about affordability, about the challenges, the challenges are different for every class. I mean, we have a class in financial management, the challenges are different than the class and parts management, the class and service operations a class in which I teach, which is inventory and marketing management, which we developed a marketing class which I'm I want to share with you share with you at one point a man for marketing managers, because we saw the growth in that area and the need in that area, and then a class on associate retention and development as well as OEM relations, then we have a business leadership class. So amongst those different core classes that we have, there's different questions that come up in each one because of the focus.

Unknown: 12:49

Well, I think that it's key to just understand like, hey, there's a deep, deep, rich opportunity within nada. And if a dealer or any person in a dealership is wondering what can any da do for me outside of giving me a value or having a great show. There's plenty there. And thanks for exposing some of it and joining us here at the conference in here on the pod.

Michael Lucki: 13:09

Happy to be here. Thank you. Thanks for everything you do for industry. Always my pleasure.

Paul Daly: 13:17

Thank you for listening to this show to concession by effective if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday, here and podcasts also live streamed on YouTube and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collapse auto collapse. And if you just want to go a little deeper and in 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 a sotu.com We'll see you next time.

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