Over the past four decades, ARI’s Vice President of Remarketing Bob Graham has been a leader in the efforts to keep remarketing evolving with the times — from the lane to online. And, along the way, he has given back as a mentor to a new generation of consignors and remarketers.
Note you can click any of the images in this story to view a photo gallery from this year's Conference of Automotive Remarketing.
In acknowledgement of his decades’ long service to the industry, Graham was named the 2013 Consignor of the Year by Bobit Business Media at the 2013 Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR), held March 6-7 in Las Vegas.
Graham was chosen via an online ballot by remarketing industry professionals.
Upon accepting his award, Graham said: “I’ve spent my career in the remarketing industry trying to be both a student and a leader, and it’s always gratifying and humbling to be recognized with an award like Consignor of the Year.”
Falling into Remarketing
As with most consignors, Graham’s entry to the field was more a matter of remarketing finding him than him finding remarketing.
After graduating from La Salle College (now La Salle University) in Philadelphia where he studied economics, Graham joined ARI in 1973, starting in the new-vehicle ordering area and progressing to maintenance management.
In 1976, he was approached by Vice President of Remarketing Frank Grochal, who would become Graham’s mentor, about an opening in the Remarketing Department.
“I went to my then boss and asked him, ‘What do you think about moving to remarketing?’ He told me it’s too rough, and I wouldn’t be good for it. So, of course, I said ‘yes’ automatically,” Graham recalled.
Graham doesn’t regret ignoring the advice of his boss all those years ago.
“The thing that makes it interesting to me and why I stayed in remarketing is because remarketing has two cool things: the best people in the industry to interact with and it’s something that’s ever-changing and evolving. I’ve been lucky at ARI to always have the ability to evolve and change without a whole lot of layers or hoops to jump through,” he said.
During his 40 years at ARI, Graham has been instrumental in moving the fleet management company’s remarketing program from what he calls “traditional” remarketing to a dynamic Web-based environment, leading to ARI AutoDirect, ARI BuyDirect, and ARI Virtual Market.
While he said he doesn’t look at his career in terms of seminal moments, when pressed, Graham cited ARI Virtual Market as one of his proudest accomplishments.
“Creating ARI Virtual Market, developing it, and fostering it over the years — it’s the thing that I think has been the most impactful that I’ve done,” he said.
Over the past several years, Graham has been actively involved with the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA), currently serving as chairman after successful stints as vice president and president.
The commitment to the IARA reflects the culture of ARI and Graham’s own commitment to the industry.
“I’ve had a great career in the remarketing industry, made a lot of friends, and risen through the ranks,” he said. “And, the best way of keeping ARI in the forefront is to be out there and continuing to learn, which is what you do when you participate, and since I’ve been around a long time I get to mentor and give back because I have a lot of experience.”