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Riley Nelko, Business Partnership Lead, Google

Riley Nelko, an Automotive Partnership Lead at Google Canada, is excited to share Canadian Automotive Dealer Research and unique insights into BC car buyers at our event on October 15th. Riley will be walking us through the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing Canadian automotive dealers in 2018, as well as strategies and best practices to win new business in the age of assistance. Google’s research was conducted in partnership with Ipsos and will be premiering on stage at our event for the first time in British Columbia!

Riley is a Business Partnership Lead at Google Canada where he helps automotive brands and agencies build world class digital capabilities. He graduated from Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business and joined Accenture’s management consulting practice in 2011. As a consultant, Riley focused on Corporate Strategy & M&A advisory across a number of industries, and has built a deep expertise in digital transformation. In November 2013, Riley joined Google where he has always worked closely with finance and automotive companies to accelerate customer acquisition and leverage Google’s marketing solutions to sell more products and services. In 2016, Riley worked on Google’s business strategy team for Android & Play in Europe, South Korea and Japan, before returning to Google Canada to lead a new partnership team – and is now exclusively devoted to the Automotive Industry.

Jay Acunzo, Host, Unthinkable 

Jay Acunzo is an award-winning podcaster, dynamic keynote speaker, and a guy bothered by conventional thinking. While at Google, he worked as a digital media strategist, which taught him how to use today’s rate of change to your advantage, and how repeating the tried-and-true often leads to stale work. After working for multiple online startups, including HubSpot as head of content, Jay developed a passion for finding ways to use your own personality and aspirations to positively affect your results. And today, as the creator of several web series about the meaning of work, including his weekly show Unthinkable, Jay spends his time studying how conventional thinking forms, and sharing stories of the people who dare to question it.

Over the past decade, Jay’s built content strategies from scratch for startups, produced attention-grabbing series for publishers and challenger brands, and even helped scale a venture capital firm through narrative podcasting. His work has been cited in courses at Harvard Business School, by writers at the Washington Post, Fast Company, and Forbes, and by investors on TV’s Shark Tank.

Today, Jay hosts shows and works with teams who aspire to be the exceptions to all the conventional thinking in their niche.

Farid Ahmad, CEO & Founder, Dealer Solutions

Farid Ahmad is the C.E.O. and Founder of Dealer Solutions North America. A company that owns and operates three other companies which all provide different services to the automotive industry. These companies include; DEALER SOLUTIONS North America, Auto Careers Group and Right Fit Plus. After working in the automotive industry for the last 30 years in the U.K., the United States and Canada, Farid is considered an industry expert in recruitment and
hiring and has been a guest speaker for Chrysler Canada, Porsche Canada as well as other automotive industry groups.

Farid and his team at Auto Careers Group have interviewed and placed over 1,000 candidates in the retail automotive industry over the past seven years. Farid has developed many strong relationships with dealer principals and manufacturers. When he decided that he wanted to become involved with the mergers and acquisitions business for dealerships, he was able to combine his knowledge and experience of the industry and his contact base to grow
DEALER SOLUTIONS NORTH AMERICA into the largest mergers and acquisitions Company in North America in just a few years. After having been involved in over 96 dealership transactions, Farid has his finger on the pulse of the automotive marketplace in North America.

Farid was educated in the U.K. and graduated from Brooklyn’s Technical College in 1981. After several years of various positions in the auto industry in England, he immigrated to Canada and joined a Honda store as a Sales Manager and eventually General Sales Manager. While there, he attended and graduated from the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy.

Andrew Au, Co-Founder & President, Intercept Group

Andrew Au is the co-founder and President of Intercept Group, a marketing agency that helps global brands win the head, heart and hands of Gen-Y and Z’ers across North America. Intercept empowers some of the largest global brands, including the likes of Microsoft, 3M, and 7-Eleven, as they shift from mass to millennial.

Through is innovative work at the agency, Andrew was the youngest person to join the Entrepreneurs Organization at the age of 22. In 2016, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 for Marketing & Advertising. As a regular contributor to Forbes, he lends his millennial expertise to articles and podcasts; from the interworking’s of the Met Gala to understanding millennials to digital disruption.

In 2017, Andrew was named INROADS Alumni of the Year and celebrated in Washington DC along side General Colin Powell, Tom Joyner, and other distinguished honourees. Today, he is regarded as a generation thought leader helping global organizations win Gen-Y and Z’ers, as consumers, professionals and employees.

Marc Bourassa, Chairman, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA)

Marc Bourassa is dealer principal of BMW West Island and Cadillac de Laval, Dorval, PQ.  Bourassa holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. He has over 20 years experience in automobile marketing, sales and operations. He has a track record of growing diversified franchised dealership businesses. Bourassa has held numerous automotive Board positions with local, provincial and national associations. His community involvement has provided financial contributions to build 9 community parks in the Greater Montreal area. CADA is the national trade association representing new automobile and truck dealer franchises of all makes. CADA’s 3,000 dealers employ over 140,000 people selling, leasing and servicing new automobiles and trucks in Canada.

Steve Carreiro, Partner, KMPG Enterprise Tax 

Steve Carreiro, CPA.  Steve is a Partner and leader of the KPMG Enterprise Tax practice in Vancouver.  He has more than 20 years of experience working exclusively with private businesses providing them one-on-one personalized service addressing the financial, tax, business and compliance issues those private companies face.  Steve advises private corporations and their shareholders on a broad range of taxation and business matters including corporate reorganizations, business and financing structures, disposition and acquisition transactions, estate and succession planning and employee/shareholder compensation.

Michael Hatch, Chief Economist, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA)

Michael Hatch has been the Chief Economist for CADA for nine years. Michael has extensive private and public sector experience, having served as an economic policy advisor on Parliament Hill. He is a frequent commentator on public policy issues on Business News Network and in other major TV, print and broadcast media. He has also been a featured speaker at major events including the Vancouver Board of Trade Economic Growth Forum. Most recently, he worked for a Big-Four accounting firm as a consultant, advising multinational clients on matters relating to multi-jurisdictional tax and compliance issues. Michael holds a Degree in Economics from the University of Toronto and is fluently bilingual.

Darren Haygood, Senior Vice President, 

Darren is a proud father of four, Runner, Avid Golfer, and automotive enthusiast.  His unique background in the automotive industry spans nearly 20 years, and includes working as regional Marketing Director for an OEM, as a GM for a large franchise dealership and as Exec. Vice President for for many years prior to their acquisition, and is now the Senior Vice President at

Brent Wees, Director of First Impressions, Nextup

Brent Wees is the “Director of First Impressions” for Nextup and has been a fixture in the North American automotive digital landscape for almost 20 years. He has also had the good fortune of being a featured columnist for automotive publications in the US, Canada, and England. Brent’s energetic, comedic and uniquely engaging presentation style keeps him in demand around the globe.

John White, President & CEO, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA)

John White is an International Automotive Business Professional who possesses over 35 years of experience at the manufacturer, dealership and financial services levels, which also includes auto manufacturer advocacy representation with government. John has an in depth knowledge of the Canadian, American and Australian automotive landscapes, including cross cultural understanding of manufacturer/importer relationships with both North American and European companies. Prior to joining the CADA, John held several senior management positions in the Volkswagen Group, serving as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada from 2008-2013 and as President and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Australia from 2013-2015. John also worked for PHH Vehicle Management Services, an international Vehicle Fleet Leasing and Management Company where he served for six years as Region Manager for Eastern Canada. He started his career with General Motors of Canada Ltd where he held various positions over ten years at General Motors of Canada, GMC Truck Centre, Montreal.

Thanks for Coming!

Early bird registration closes on September 14th. 

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