ORLANDO, FL— Tom Caruso, ADESA president and chief executive officer, was inducted into the National Auto Auction Association (NAAA) Hall of Fame during its 64th annual conference this month in Orlando, Fla. The NAAA represents more than 300 auction members in North America.

(Left) Jay Cadigan, NAAA Chairman of the Board; Tom Caruso, NAAA Hall of Fame recipient and ADESA CEO and President; and Charlotte Pyle, NAAA President.

(Left) Jay Cadigan, NAAA Chairman of the Board; Tom Caruso, NAAA Hall of Fame recipient and ADESA CEO and President; and Charlotte Pyle, NAAA President. 

Membership in the Hall of Fame, established in 1968, recognizes individuals whose long-term service to the auto auction industry and NAAA has contributed improvements to remarketing as a whole, has worked with the trade organization to benefit its members and has consistently followed the high standards of the association’s Code of Ethics. Caruso is an industry veteran with more than three decades of experience.

“I’ve know Tom for 28 years and it’s both a privilege and an honor to induct him into the Hall of Fame,” said award presenter Jay Cadigan, market vice president for Manheim auctions and NAAA chairman of the board. “He has dedicated his career to our industry and has always been very active in giving back his time and talent in service to the association.”

He added that their long-standing friendship despite working for the two major remarketing rivals is a testament to Caruso’s business ethics. “He is a real proponent of competitors coming together to work for the common good of the industry. Tom strongly believes you don’t get anywhere in business by bashing your competition,” Cadigan noted.

Caruso’s leadership roles at NAAA include serving as Eastern Zone president and then a term as association president in 2006. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of the National Vehicle Leasing Association and the Massachusetts Indpendent Automobile Dealers Association. That organization conferred its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, on Caruso in 2006. Earlier this year he was inducted into the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s “Ring of Honor,” the top award the group can bestow on a non-dealer.

Born in Belmont, Mass., a little town near Boston, cars and sports, particularly baseball, was Caruso’s passion from an early age. Among his many jobs, such as a paper route, he worked at a car wash and then became a driver for a wholesaler. By 17 he was selling cars. Two years later he did a variety of jobs for American Auto Auction, a small operation in Walpole, Mass. Meanwhile, he earned a business degree from Bentley College in Walthan, Mass.

Then in 1980 Caruso truly began his professional career at Concord Auto Auction, where he had become the general manager when ADESA acquired the Massachusetts business in 1992. Rising through the corporation’s ranks, he became Northeast regional vice president in 1998, executive vice president of Eastern operations in 2007, and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2008. Just a year later he was named to his current role as president and CEO just a year later. He oversees ADESA’s operations throughout the U.S. and Canada.