MT. ARLINGTON, NJ - He witnessed the organization’s conception and birth at early planning meetings and participated in the precursor monthly luncheons at Spaghettini Grill and Lounge in Seal Beach, Calif. And, as the group’s first and only secretary, he is “keeper of the minutes,” chronicling its story for the present and future.
However, Mike Antich is much more than a one-man historical archive for the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA). Throughout the IARA’s 10-year history, Antich has contributed to the vehicle remarketing organization’s significant achievements and helped define its value to the industry.
Bringing Specialized Strengths
Antich brought specific strengths — professional skills and industry knowledge — to the IARA’s early days that continue to help the Alliance realize its potential today.
For more than 25 years, Antich has covered the fleet management and vehicle remarketing industries, first as a feature editor, then editor and associate publisher for Automotive Fleet magazine and four additional fleet-related publications produced by Bobit Business Media. His column and blog, “Market Trends,” is a highly regarded and widely read industry resource.
Antich’s fleet-related commitments span the entire industry. A member of the NAFA Foundation board of directors, he also serves as vice chair of the organization’s Affiliates Committee and Student Mentoring Committee. Currently an executive committee and board member for the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), he led the group as its 2009-2010 president. As a result, Antich was able to share many industry best practices with the IARA.
Additionally, Antich chairs the three annual industry gatherings: the Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR), the Green Fleet Conference, and the Fleet Safety Conference.
Recognizing his many and valuable contributions to the fleet industry, Antich was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.
A Wide Variety of Roles
A member of the IARA executive committee and board of directors since the group’s inception, Antich also chairs the press and public relations committee, and is a member of the education, certification, and public relations committees.
He is also involved in developing a series of videos used in promoting conferences, encouraging memberships, and highlighting key IARA initiatives. To mark the IARA’s 10th anniversary, Antich is helping create a documentary-style video recounting the organization’s history, from inception to present.
His “proudest” role within the IARA, however, has been chairing the inaugural certification task force. This effort produced the Certified Automotive Remarketer (CAR) program. “It was very fulfilling watching this program evolve from a ‘gleam in our eyes’ to what is now a respected industry certification program,” Antich said.
“Thousands of hours” were dedicated by the task force to produce the professional certification program, Antich recalled. His task force members included Matt Marks, IARA executive director; Jill Tarallo, CAR, then with Manheim; Ricky Beggs, CAR, Black Book; Scott Kolb, then with the SKi Group, now United Road; and Dave Sutton, CAR, then with VW Credit, now CARFAX.
With the help of a professional certification guide and input from subject-expert industry leaders, the task force developed an exacting curriculum and created a blue ribbon committee to vet the program’s required proficiency and knowledge levels, Antich explained.
IARA’s Value to the Industry
Antich described IARA’s “real worth” as a recognized and credible industry voice to establish how business is conducted in the wholesale market.
“An important aspect of the IARA is its name — the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance. The word ‘Alliance’ was specifically chosen instead of ‘Association.’ This is an important differentiator that illustrates and defines the ‘DNA’ of the IARA,” he said. “We are an industry Alliance that brings together consignors, auctions, and industry suppliers to provide them a voice in the industry to establish industry standards and help influence the outcome of important issues facing the industry.”
The IARA’s group consensus carries great weight in industry matters, Antich noted. The organization’s input has been significant in shaping the development of industry standards, such as the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) vehicle condition, arbitration, and vehicle certification standards.
Facing the challenge of a membership whose time constraints grow more demanding every year — a dilemma common to many professional associations — Antich believes the IARA’s “unique” roundtable meeting format provides an advantage. The biannual meeting setting features U-shaped tables and a member-facilitator, allowing “all members, and non-members, for that matter, an equal voice in discussing the pressing issues facing all remarketers,” Antich explained. Furthermore, he said, the IARA’s strong core group of members “has created a very active committee structure, giving everyone the ability to shape our Alliance for the betterment of the industry and its members.”
He believes the IARA will be the “organization of choice” for remarketing professionals and sees for the group “only the promise of a bright future. I truly believe the IARA has ‘come of age.’ ”
Antich’s unofficial moniker as the fleet industry historian, “hit home when Automotive Fleet magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary last January, and we developed a special commemorative anniversary issue chronicling the past half-century of fleet management,” he recalled. “What was scary was that the majority of the history, at least the past 25 years, I was able to recount from memory.”