Training Key
The next generation of leaders in Canada's Automotive retail sector are taking their space. We introduce you to four reasons our industry has a bright future. Mike Trotman, who heads up the Trotman Auto Group in British Columbia, (which includes Langley Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, Comox Valley Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, Alpine Toyota in Cranbrook, and Abbotsford Hyundai) was exposed to the industry at an early age. "My father was a dealer," he says, but Trotman was adamant about pursuing another career path. "I was drawn to business, so I enrolled at the Sauder School of Business [at the University of British Columbia] and took a degree in Commerce." Trotman also had a desire to travel, so where an opportunity came to live and work in Italy, he jumped. "It was an invaluable experience," he says. "I was able to see things from a completely different perspective, I think it was one of the best things I ever did." Upon his return home, he knew he'd been bitten by the travel bug, but like many students, needed a way to fund his wanderlust. "I decided to work at the family dealership and got into sales. I sold cars for six moth and actually discovered that I enjoyed it; the aspect of meeting people, finding a vehicle to fit their needs, and working with them through the process." In fact, Trotman liked it so much that after six months he was at the top of the leaderboard when it came to sales at the dealership. It was also around this time that he began to consider other career options beside the corporate world. "I'd almost convinced myself that the car business wasn't for me, yet the more I took a look at the industry and listened to my father, I discovered that perhaps there was more to this than I originally thought." Trotman's father had started out on the corporate side, taking a job with Ford out of school and becoming a district manager. "But he had an about turn," he says. "Going over dealers' statements, he saw the opportunities available on the entrepreneurial side and opened a used car store." Over time the store grew to become an AMC franchise, then a Volvo store, a Fiat dealer, and ultimately Langley Chrysler. While Trotman did pack his bags after his sales stint and traveled, the idea of exploring opportunities in the car business was growing stronger. When he returned home this time around, he made a plan to get to work. "An opportunity on the management side came about and I took it, with no regrets," he says.