Georgian College hosts Dealer Huddle event

April 26, 2023

The event brought together industry professionals and students for a day of connecting and learning

Tier Six held its Dealer Huddle East VI event on March 8 at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. The VIP Automotive event is part of a series devoted to the future of Canadian automotive, particularly the trends, marketing, and workforce of the next generation. Attendees were both students and industry members.

The theme for the day was The Connected Dealership, and a dynamic list of speakers graced the stage from dealerships, automotive data and marketing agencies and tech giants such as Google, Meta and TikTok. They all shared ways that automotive dealers could better prepare for tomorrow today. “ACES is the notion of autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and services. We used to talk about them as if those were four separate things. And it turns out they’re all the same thing. All four are going to surface together through the lens of the electric vehicle,” says Mathew Growden of Google. “The biggest change is the shift to the software developer cloud. Once it’s software, basically a smartphone on wheels, it’s an entirely different world.”

Many spoke about ways to improve your customers’ journey. “I can be sitting in Hong Kong and purchase a house online in Canada without talking to anyone. Why can’t dealers make it frictionless when purchasing a car?” shared Omar Khan from BLVD Agency. “Wouldn’t you rather buy from a brand that gets you and mimics what you’re already experiencing with Amazon?”

Another recurring theme was the importance of video and using social channels to exceed business goals. “There are auto buyers on TikTok. 82 per cent of users are drivers of a vehicle. That is 14.5 million,” says Jeremy Reisler, Head of Automotive for TikTok in Canada. “18 per cent of our audience is looking to buy in 2023; of that, 30 per cent are looking to buy right now.”

While there was a plethora of speakers, there was ample time for students to network with industry insiders. There were also a few past graduates of Georgian College in attendance, who came to share advice and to recruit future graduates. Nathan Vardy is one such example. “I started as an intern at PBS. Now I am employed as a Software Training and Transitions Trainer,” shares Vardy. Several sponsors, such as the AutoIQ Dealership Group, were also actively recruiting.

The event was held on International Women’s Day. Many speakers pointed out the need for more women in the industry. Women made up at least a quarter of the participants in the room, and if that is any indicator, the future’s looking brighter. “The representation today is fantastic. I’m very proud that I have a female in every department in both stores,” says Christy Fines, General Manager at 400 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Ltd and Georgian College graduate. “I am a mom of a daughter, so it’s important that the doors are open for her. I mentor other females and try to ensure they are successful.”

For those in Western Canada, Dealer Huddle West II took place on, March 15, 2023, at The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). For more information, please go to

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