MT. ARLINGTON, NJ - Take a moment to talk to Jeff Bescher, senior vice president of commercial sales and operations at ADESA and treasurer for the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA), and you’ll learn relationships are what make him tick.
Perhaps this faith in personal connections comes from his history of sales and management roles and the strength they bring to conducting good business. Or, maybe it’s because his roles as a husband, father, and coach have led to a very happy home life. Likely, it’s both that put relationships at the core of Bescher’s professional and personal lives, and his position as treasurer on the board of the IARA.
Investing in Relationships
In his role at ADESA, Bescher manages a team of 12 executive sales directors and a commercial operations team that are located throughout the country.
“As part of the KAR Auction Services family of companies, our customers take advantage of an even greater selection of products and services — from salvage with Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAAI); floor planning with Automotive Finance Corp. (AFC); repos and titles with PAR; audits and condition reports with AutoVIN; paintless dent repair with Dent Demon — the list goes on and on,” Bescher said.
His team is responsible for meeting and exceeding the needs of the company’s institutional and commercial clients. At the same time, he makes sure ADESA’s goals align with its auctions and dealer customer needs. In other words, Bescher’s role requires him to understand the needs of his employees, customers, and company, and he must rely on those relationships to be successful in his position.
Prior to his promotion to senior vice president in February 2010, Bescher was vice president of sales for three years at ADESA, and director of sales for the company’s national accounts from 1995-2005. His other positions within the industry include management roles with EMKAY, GE Capital Auto Leasing, and Manheim Automotive Financial Services.
Treasuring Family & Community
Bescher’s personal life is all about relationships, too. He’s been married to his wife Shari for 26 years, and they have three children: Bryan, Meghan, and Kirsten. His lifelong passion for sports — especially those that foster teamwork — continues as he plays basketball, racquetball, tennis, and golf. He shares this passion with his community, particularly through his dedication to youth sports.
Over the years, Bescher has coached more than 45 basketball, soccer, softball, and baseball teams in both community and travel youth sports leagues.
“I’ve found coaching to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done,” Bescher said. At one time, he was the President of the Carol Stream Youth Soccer Organization, and was one of eight citizens asked to serve on the inaugural Carol Stream Park District youth sports advisory board. In fact, both Bescher and his wife have been nominated for “Citizen of the Year” for service to their local community. “It was nice to be recognized by our town,” he said.
Bescher enjoys staying active when not serving his family, his community, or his company.
“I have to do something to burn all those calories I take in during business meals with customers,” he joked. “But seriously, spending time with colleagues, friends and family is the most important part of my life. At the end of the day, it’s really all about those relationships.”
Counting on the IARA
Bescher’s belief in the power of personal relationships is also evident in his participation in the IARA. He first joined in 2005 when he was working for EMKAY, and was then asked to continue his work with the IARA when he returned to ADESA in 2007.
“ADESA has been a supporter of the IARA since its inception,” he said. “We continue to value the opportunity to participate in a forum that discusses those issues that are important to a broad spectrum of remarketers.”
From both a personal and professional standpoint, the relationships created within the framework of the IARA are Bescher’s primary reason for supporting the organization.
“It is those relationships that allow you to discuss current issues with a wide variety of people who hold a range of viewpoints and represent very different businesses,” he said. “The IARA offers participants the opportunity to put forth ideas that could shape and improve the remarketing cycle for the entire industry. The establishment of minimum guidelines or standards for all consignors can make our industry more transparent and more efficient.”
Bescher said another benefit of the IARA is its conferences and the content they cover.
“The IARA meetings and the panel discussions are excellent,” he said. “The IARA is dedicated to educating its members, sharing ideas, and representing a cross section of businesses within the remarketing industry. I consider it an honor to support such an organization.”
Projections for the Industry
Bescher’s active participation in the IARA has lent him a solid perspective of the remarketing industry and its future, both over the short and long term. His view is realistic, but makes room for a healthy measure of optimism.
“We all know that demand remains high for used vehicles, especially late model vehicles,” he said. “And supplies are tight, so wholesale prices are also high. However, this is simply supply and demand: Low-vehicle volumes at auction, combined with a competitive bidding environment, are going to push up prices.”
Bescher argues that the lack of used vehicles is actually good news for new-vehicle sales. He noted that recent trends show that prices for both compact cars and crossover vehicles are both up. “It seems like consumers are looking for fuel efficiency and utility. Since gas prices will definitely be something to watch, consumers may see more value in hybrids as well,” he said.
Beyond the near future, Bescher remains hopeful for the remarketing industry.
“The supply of wholesale used vehicles is expected to continue to be low through 2012,” he said. “But indications are encouraging with recent increases in both new-vehicle sales and lease originations. I am optimistic that ADESA and our industry will rebound in 2013 and see the benefits long term.”