Add 4.5 golf courses, a marina for boating and baste with a warm, seasonable climate and you have a perfect recipe for retirement, according to Bob Graham, former vice president, vehicle remarketing at ARI.
Graham, who retired at the end of 2015, said he listed his New Jersey home for sale on July 4, but he and his wife Cheryl will move to Southport, N.C., in October regardless of when the northern home sells.
“Cheryl and I are both golfers and love boating and the ocean,” he said. “We wanted to find a community that offered both. The barrier island community has four and a half golf courses and marina with wet slips and dry stack storage for the boats.”
Few in the remarketing industry can say they spent an entire 42-year career with one company. Graham started with ARI in 1973 ordering new vehicles and validating specifications. He spent a year in the maintenance area and moved to remarketing in 1975, holding several positions until he became remarketing manager in 1984. He was made a director in 2005, and promoted to vice president in 2010.
During his two-year term as president of the IARA, which began in 2009, Graham sought to increase the association’s membership and improve its financial footing. He accomplished this by improving the professionalism and value-added content for IARA Roundtable Discussions and meetings. He then served as the IARA Board of Directors Chairman from 2011-2015.
“We’ve been keeping active and busy with charity work and travel,” Graham said. “My oldest son Rob and daughter-in-law Amy, and our grandson, Lucas who is five, live about two and half hours away from our new home in North Carolina, and that will be a big plus. My middle son Steve is still here in New Jersey while my daughter Kate lives in Florida, so we will be in the middle.”
Since retiring, Graham has not been actively involved in consulting, but has kept up with IARA activities and ongoing changes in the industry.
“When the IARA held its meetings at CAR and their Summer Roundtable,” Graham said. “I went online and looked up the topics and read what was available. Continuing consolidation in the auction industry has been a trend I’ve followed. I have many friends in the auction industry, and many have worked at auctions that have changed ownership.”
Graham said the consolidation in the auction industry should do much to improve services, especially in terms of the auctions ability to provide improved technology to both buyers and sellers.
“There’s an efficiency and cost reduction from being able to provide services throughout a chain versus an independent that must absorb all the costs for one location,” he said.
“Keeping one’s mind open to new things and being willing to accept change is vital to up-and-coming remarketers,” Graham said. He said having the ability to look ahead is a good attribute to have as well.
“If you have the ability to get a feel for what is coming next, you’ll have an advantage over other remarketers,” he said.
Graham said he’s been interviewed numerous times over the decades, but he did think of one story from his time at ARI likely only a few in the industry know about.
While working at ARI in the early 1980s, Graham had to testify in a “clocking” case in New Jersey involving the notorious Louie Milito. During the 1970s, Milito along with Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, joined the New York Gambino crime family. Milito purchased vehicles from ARI and rolled back odometers. He then forged Graham’s name on paperwork to make it appear the vehicles were sold back to ARI and resold to Milito showing the lower miles.
“He was trading on ARIs reputation to make the buyers believe the miles were real,” Graham said. “Remember, there was no CarFax, no AutoVin, and it took time to get titles.”
Milito spent time in prison as a result in conviction of the federal odometer fraud case.