Tag Archive | "Agent Summit"

Brian Reed to Helm Digital F&I Panel at Agent Summit


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the upcoming Agent Summit have announced that Brian Reed, president and CEO of F&I Express, will serve as moderator for “The Great Debate — F&I Products Online,” a highly anticipated panel discussion. The event will be held May 21–24, 2017, at Paris Las Vegas, and Reed’s panel will begin at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

“The topic of digital F&I has taken center stage for agents, dealers and anyone with a stake in F&I production,” said David Gesualdo, publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom. “It’s an important issue at an important time, and we are grateful to Brian and his team for tackling it head-on.”

Reed will be joined by a diverse panel that will include Phil Battista, president of Darwin Automotive, Mike Burgiss, vice president of strategy and retail transformation for Cox Automotive, Roadster CMO Michelle Denogean, Dylan Doran, president of Western Fidelity Insured Services, and Mark Thorpe, president of The Impact Group.

The discussion is expected to cover a wide range of subjects relating to digital F&I, including how much information providers and dealers should put online — including pricing — as well as the impact of an online F&I process on dealers, producers and consumers.

“As the car-buying and F&I processes have evolved over the last few years, the industry has discussed the opportunities and challenges of online F&I,” Reed said. “The ‘Great Debate’ session is focused on facilitating an honest discussion about F&I products online and an open debate around the evolution of how F&I products are presented to consumers.”

Registration for Agent Summit 2017 is open at the event’s website. Attendees who register by April 21 will enjoy a $100 discount.

To discuss sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo at 727-947-4027 or via email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Posted in Auto Industry News, Summit UpdatesComments (0)

Reinsurance Symposium Returns to Agent Summit


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the upcoming Agent Summit have confirmed the 2017 event will feature a Reinsurance Symposium for the fifth consecutive year. The four-day event will begin on the evening of Sunday, May 21, at Paris Las Vegas, with the Reinsurance Symposium scheduled for the following afternoon.

“The Reinsurance Symposium has been an indispensable source of information and education since it was launched in 2013,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur. “Agents are rightfully invested in the topic and deserve a clear explanation of the options available to their agencies and their dealer clients.”

This year’s Reinsurance Symposium schedule includes a lunch with sponsors, a panel dedicated to controlled foreign corporations (CFCs), a second panel on non-controlled foreign corporations (NCFCs), and two networking breaks.

Portfolio and SouthwestRe are the lead sponsors for the symposium; CNA National, GSFSGroup, Protective Asset Protection and The Tribal Domicile are premier-level sponsors. Cornerstone Financial Consulting (div. Raymond James), Goodwin & Speirs Investment Group, J. Huell Briscoe and Associates, MarksNelson and SunTrust Reinsurance Trust Services are general sponsors.

Registration for Agent Summit is open at the event’s website. Attendees who register by April 21 will enjoy a $100 discount. To discuss sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo at 727-947-4027 or via email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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UDS’s Crisorio Returns as Agent Summit Advisory Board Chair


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual Agent Summit announced that Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of United Development Systems Inc. (UDS), will serve a fifth consecutive term as advisory board chair. The 2017 event is scheduled for May 21–24 at Paris Las Vegas.

“As an experienced and accomplished agent, Randy has his thumb on the pulse of our industry,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom. “We fully expect he and his team to produce another hard-hitting and action-backed agenda no agent can ignore.”

The advisory board’s principal task is to decide upon which topics are of pressing importance to agents and invite speakers to address them. In the course of Crisorio’s tenure, the scope of the event has expanded from its original focus on F&I training to include sessions devoted to agency development, dealer recruitment and relations, reinsurance, new technology, and much more.

To build the event’s agenda, Crisorio and his team rely heavily on suggestions from agents and other attendees. Past feedback has led to a number of new topics and features, including a block of sessions open only to agent principals.

“Business has been great, but to take the next step up, join fellow agents from across the country in an idea exchange that will write your future,” Crisorio said. “There is no limit to what we can accomplish together.”

Registration for Agent Summit VII will be open soon. Stay tuned to AgentSummit.com for updates. To participate in the conference or offer ideas to the Agent Summit advisory board, contact Randy Crisorio via email hidden; JavaScript is required with “Agent Summit” in the subject line.

For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo at 727-947-4027 or via email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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UDS’s Crisorio Returns as Agent Summit Advisory Board Chair


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual Agent Summit announced that Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of United Development Systems Inc. (UDS), will serve a fifth consecutive term as advisory board chair. The 2017 event is scheduled for May 21–24 at Paris Las Vegas.

“As an experienced and accomplished agent, Randy has his thumb on the pulse of our industry,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom. “We fully expect he and his team to produce another hard-hitting and action-backed agenda no agent can ignore.”

The advisory board’s principal task is to decide upon which topics are of pressing importance to agents and invite speakers to address them. In the course of Crisorio’s tenure, the scope of the event has expanded from its original focus on F&I training to include sessions devoted to agency development, dealer recruitment and relations, reinsurance, new technology, and much more.

To build the event’s agenda, Crisorio and his team rely heavily on suggestions from agents and other attendees. Past feedback has led to a number of new topics and features, including a block of sessions open only to agent principals.

“Business has been great, but to take the next step up, join fellow agents from across the country in an idea exchange that will write your future,” Crisorio said. “There is no limit to what we can accomplish together.”

Registration for Agent Summit VII will be open soon. Stay tuned to AgentSummit.com for updates. To participate in the conference or offer ideas to the Agent Summit advisory board, contact Randy Crisorio via email hidden; JavaScript is required with “Agent Summit” in the subject line.

For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo at 727-947-4027 or via email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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Save the Date for Agent Summit 2017


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have announced that the seventh annual event is scheduled for May 21–24, 2017, at Paris Las Vegas.

Launched in 2011, the event draws about 1,000 agents and agent principals, speakers and exhibitors and remains the only conference designed by and for independent general agents.

“With less than six months before showtime and a litany of topics and speakers to consider, much work lays ahead,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur. “With the help of our advisory board, we pledge to deliver the best agenda yet for a show we hope will appear on every agent’s calendar in 2017.”

Registration for Agent Summit is expected to open in early 2017. More information about Agent Summit is available at the event’s website. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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An Interview with Jimmy Atkinson


At Agent Summit in May, Jimmy Atkinson continued a long career in public speaking when he joined “Building a Team Theme for Prosperity,” a panel discussion led by Tom O’Neil of O’Neil Financial Services Agency. Upon returning to his adopted hometown of Napa, Calif., the COO of AUL Corp. met with AE to reflect on his work in retail and as a trainer, product provider, marathon runner and long-suffering Braves fan.

AE: Jimmy, it was great seeing you at Agent Summit, and I enjoyed your panel. Great energy, great content, and O’Neil did a nice job as the moderator.

Atkinson: Tom did a terrific job. He was probably the most engaged moderator I’ve worked with. We drilled down on the questions on multiple calls and had a final prep session before we went onstage. Everybody on the panel had a good time.

AE: Do you enjoy public speaking?

Atkinson: I do. I spent about five years just doing training and another three or four years just doing F&I development. I started with MS Diversified, which was later acquired by Assurant Solutions, and then worked with Joe Verde for four years. I started my own training company in 2001. I found I had a real passion for teaching and sharing information. By the way, when I started at Joe Verde Group, the first person to take me under his wing was Dave Anderson.

AE: The same Dave Anderson who spoke at Agent Summit?

Atkinson: The same. And I gained a lot of confidence through that experience. It’s always great to see Dave and listen to his powerful message.

AE: What was your first job in the auto industry?

Atkinson: I started selling cars in March of 1983. Pugmire Lincoln Mercury, in my hometown of Atlanta, had an ad running in the newspaper. I actually replied to the ad at their Chevrolet store down the street. The sales manager at the Chevy store said, “You’ll never make it in the car business,” so I walked down to the Lincoln store.

AE: If only he knew.

Atkinson: Well, I was a bit more shy and introverted at the time. And it was only a 10-minute interview. But I caught on and moved into F&I after 18 months. Then I was promoted to sales manager and then general sales manager. I spent seven years at three dealerships. From there I went to work for MS Diversified as a regional manager and training director — the same work that agents do, but as a direct employee.

About four years into it, I got involved in F&I training. When I started my own company, I figured I would be a trainer and have a few products. In 2002, I received a call from my old boss at MS Diversified. They had been acquired by what was then Assurant and he asked me to rejoin him there.

AE: When did you make the move to AUL?

Atkinson: That was in July of 2010. Luis Nieves, the founder, was a client and friend through Assurant. He called me and said, “I would like to visit with you. I have an idea.” We met and he said he needed someone to come in and be his No. 2.

AE: And that was a big move, leaving Atlanta for the Wine Country.

Atkinson: It was. We had moved around a bit before that, but I was born, grew up and spent most of my life in Atlanta.

AE: I learned most of what I know about Atlanta from “A Man in Full” by Tom Wolfe.

Atkinson: I just read that a few months ago! The way he paints Atlanta is probably pretty accurate. It’s a great city, but you get the sense it’s always trying to prove itself. It is home to a ton of Fortune 500 companies, so it’s always growing and expanding, and that brings a lot of challenges. But I love it because it’s home, and of course I still love the Braves, Falcons, Hawks and Bulldogs. You can’t learn to appreciate the meaning of loyalty and heartache until you follow teams that have lost so many championships.

AE: Actually, I’m from Buffalo, so …

Atkinson: Oh, that’s right.

AE: Let’s move on! We had a nice visit in Napa a few years back. What is it like to live there?

Atkinson: It’s very different. There are things I miss about living in the South, but California is a beautiful state. And people don’t realize this about Napa, but it’s like a small farming town, only with hotels and restaurants and tourism. When I think about living in Atlanta, I picture myself either being at the airport or fighting all the traffic, so the relaxed atmosphere is welcome.

AE: Still, it must have been difficult to leave.

Atkinson: It’s never an easy decision. It was made easier because we have two sons who were grown and moving to Los Angeles at the same time. That’s only a one-hour flight. We moved a couple times when the boys were growing up, and that was probably tougher on them than I’d like to admit. Thankfully, I have the greatest wife and mom in the world, and the boys are now wonderful young men.

AE: What do you do to stay in shape?

Atkinson: I ride a Pinarello road bike sometimes, and I’m terrible at golf, but mostly I run. I’ve been doing it for about 18 years. I have run four marathons and a bunch of half-marathons, including two with my younger son. It relieves stress and gives me solitude when I need it.

AE: Running in Napa must be a lot more comfortable than running in Atlanta.

Atkinson: If you’re training for a fall marathon, you’re running up to 18 miles in the summer. So, yes, climate-wise, it is better in Napa. But both cities have a lot of hills.

AE: How much do you love working with agents?

Atkinson: I do love agents. It’s kind of wild. They’re such a different breed. Not unlike car dealers. They are the masters of entrepreneurship and truly brilliant in their fields. They have that amazing ability to adapt to change and grow their businesses. It’s a neat group of people.

AE: Are you looking for more agents? How does that process work?

Atkinson: Jason Garner, our general sales manager, heads up agent acquisitions. He has a team of business development managers. We’re pretty selective. But if we have an area where we’re underperforming and want to grow, and if we don’t have an agent there, we will look for someone. But we have a very stable agent force. We still have the first agent we signed and the first dealer we signed.

AE: That’s impressive.

Atkinson: It’s all driven by Luis, who founded the company and created this wonderful culture. He is probably the most humble, generous and appreciative person I’ve met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He always believes in doing what’s right, and that’s the real secret.

AE: So what drives you now? What gets you up in the morning?

Atkinson: Well, first, there’s always a million things to do. Second, it’s exciting. You asked about agents. That’s one of the most exciting parts of the job. They bring unique opportunities and problems to solve. One of the things we strive to be is a company that agents can turn to for a new approach and we think we do a lot of it really well. At the same time, you have to find a way to create new value. It’s a tremendous business, and it’s growing. There is nothing I would rather be doing.

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