Jim began his career in the corporate communications field, producing corporate presentations, meetings, and videos for the automotive, financial services, and pharmaceutical industries (Volvo, Merrill-Lynch, Johnson & Johnson). A three-year stint in the advertising industry helped to round out Jim's understanding of markets, brands, and their related distribution channels. Jim has a reputation for maintaining long-term relationships with clients that evolve over time with changing issues, markets, and technologies. Companies like BMW and Volvo, with whom Jim worked in his first year in business, have remained clients some 20 years later.
Jim became involved in the Training and Development arena in 1990, working for a Philadelphia-based consulting firm and for Buck Blessing Associates before becoming one of the founders of XL Group, Inc., a corporate training, systems support, and incentive/recognition provider.
As a principal with XL Group, Jim performed roles ranging from Account Management and Project Management to Instructional Design, Program Development and Facilitation. He developed or managed development of instructional programs in a wide variety of media including seminars/workshops, self-study programs, interactive multimedia, CBT, online learning, and special events (e.g., sales meetings, training/recognition events). Clients included Bristol-Myers Squibb, BMW of North America, Correct Craft, Ford Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Wyeth-Ayerst International.
In 2001 Jim formed Pro-Active Performance to realize the full value of his core competencies and interests in implementing solutions that deliver not just information but improved capability to people. He has extensive skills and experience in the areas of analysis, design, and development of content/information, and delivery of the resulting knowledge and skills to people within organizations.
Bob has over 35 years of management and consulting experience (to Vice President) in organizations ranging from Fortune 100 to small, highly entrepreneurial businesses in Chicago, Los Angeles, Alaska and Philadelphia. During this period he has had responsibility for a variety of diverse management and support functions, both domestic and worldwide.
As a partner in a Philadelphia-based consulting organization from 1989 through 1991, Bob focused on the roles that leadership and team building play in the success of organizations. His experiences with the quality issues of senior management during this period led to the writing of his book, Breakthrough Quality Improvement for Leaders Who Want Results, a comprehensive text on the establishment of, and training required for, successful total quality activities, published in 1993.
Since 1991, Bob has focused on providing a variety of professional development, training and organizational performance consulting services to automotive manufacturers, including Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Fisker, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mazda, Mini, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
He is also involved with professional development programs designed to improve student achievement and teacher job-satisfaction, and Internet-based professional development and performance support. Bob earned a Master of Science degree in chemistry in 1972.
Sandy Ransom enjoys managing large projects and diverse teams. From migrating major manufacturing computer systems, to revamping an entire curriculum for a college degree program, to re-engineering hospital business practices Sandy is happiest when faced with a challenge. She has many years of experience in instructional design and courseware development and is at her best facilitating learning. Over the last 10 years Sandy has spent most of her time concentrating on the development of automotive programs for both sales and after-sales.
Sandy believes you can lead from anywhere within an organization. By building relationships and producing results she gains respect of her team. Her team readily follows because of what she has accomplished for and with them.
Sandy earned her Master's in Information Technology from Webster University, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics & Computer Science from Winthrop University. Sandy has worked in the manufacturing, education, insurance, health care, and automotive industries.
Russell is a life-long learner with over 40 years' experience as a professional educator and the co-author of two college-level textbooks on individualized instruction. He began his career with the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools where he was a mathematics teacher, guidance counselor, varsity football coach, and high school principal. He has also taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Quantitative Research Methods at the University of Maryland at College Park, and currently is on the faculty of the University of Toyota.
In 1986, Russell left public education to begin his career in organizational development and human performance improvement. Over the past 20 years, he has designed, developed and delivered a wide variety of programs for Fortune 500 Companies, small businesses and executive managers. Russell's reputation has made him a highly sought-after presenter at national business meetings, corporate universities and executive retreats. Russell is best known for his highly interactive seminars that help his participants develop a sustainable competitive advantage in their marketplaces.
Russell has delivered successful automotive training programs for brands including Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Sterling Truck. Russell earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Bucknell University, a Master of Arts in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland, and has completed all coursework for a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology at the University of North Carolina.
Joe Shute has managed a variety of training and communications projects behind-the-scenes and on-the-ground, for both event-based ILT and e-Learning programs. His attention to detail and technology-forward approach help him to efficiently manage schedules, budgets, and client communications. Joe is also responsible for supporting the technology platforms that Pro-Active uses to deliver training content to program participants.
Joe brings a global business perspective to Pro-Active’s clients and projects. A 2012 graduate of Elizabethtown College majoring in International Business, Joe studied abroad in both Japan and China, before completing a 4-month internship with BMW Financial Services in Beijing, China. He then worked as a Funding Specialist with BMW FS in Columbus, OH, supporting BMW dealers to help ensure complete and “clean” funding packages.
During his tenure with Pro-Active, Joe has worked on managing and supporting Sales, Service, Parts, and F&I programs for BMW of North America, BMW Financial Services, Porsche Cars North America, Porsche Cars Canada, and Porsche Financial Services.
Joe is currently earning his Master’s degree in Management through London School of Economics.
Mike has been producing eLearning programs for over 12 years. Having developed courseware for a variety of industries including automotive, healthcare, culinary, data management, telecommunications, and the military, he has a well-rounded skillset. His ability to transform written concepts into engaging interactive courseware makes him an integral part of any learning development team. Previous to learning development, Mike held a position as production manager for over 20 years in a graphic design company as well as in his own firm. Premium automotive eLearning projects include product and process training programs for Audi (CPO), BMW NA (Sales, Service, Parts, Warranty), BMW Financial Services (products, processes, insurance products), and Mazda (Service Processes). Utilizing a variety of programs to meet needs and requirements, Mike adds a specialized knowledge to the success of any given project he takes part in. Concentrating his development in a recently widely used program, Mike has spent the last couple of years becoming an expert in Articulate StoryLine software that has become a preferred tool for eLearning development. In addition to his eLearning and design abilities, Mike also provides voiceover narration services, including voice and audio editing.
Phil is a recognized innovator and leader in the automotive training and communications industry. For more than 25 years, Phil has been designing, presenting, and overseeing large-scale initiatives that launch new vehicles, new brands, and new automotive finance products via advanced media and technologies that improve how audiences learn and perform. His focus on training for the automotive industry includes designing and developing sales, product knowledge, product launch, dealership process, fixed ops, and ride and drive training for Infiniti, Nissan, Honda, Porsche, and Toyota among others. He was lead strategist for all dealership sales, service, and F&I process training for the launch of the Scion brand. He helped design the extremely successful launch of the Lexus brand of automobiles in China. Recently Phil has developed, designed, and facilitated e-Learning, web-based training and webinar training for a variety of OEMs including Acura, BMW Financial Services, Honda Financial Services, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia. He has also facilitated a Customer Satisfaction in-dealership process improvement initiatives involving meetings/seminars with Dealer/Owners, GMs, SMs, and SSMs; and a Sales Managers workshop on Customer Satisfaction, Lead generation, and CRM for this a large dealership group with several brands including Ford, Jaguar, Lincoln. Phil is recognized by the International Society of Performance Improvement as a Certified Performance Technologist— recognition for his instructional design work in performance improvement. He also has published in magazines and newspapers on how people interact with the internet and has recently completed a novel.
Scott Stanley brings a wealth of operations, finance, and major program management capability to Pro-Active clients. Scott transitioned to the consulting side of the business following a successful career working for industry leading global financial organizations in a financial management capacity.
Scott is a subject matter expert in organizational and operational financial analysis, business management and strategic partnership development, primarily for Fortune 100 firms. He has a proven track record of increasing profitability, managing costs and developing and implementing strategic plans and operational budgets. Scott is skilled at leading project teams and cross divisional initiatives by advocating collaboration and teamwork. His strengths include a unique combination of organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills.
Having worked on Wall Street for over 30 years, Scott has proven leadership skills and an ability to drive results in fast paced, deadline driven, multi-task environments. Most recently, Scott spent 13 years as an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, Scott worked at JPMorgan Chase for 8 years. Other financial firms round out his portfolio of work experience.
Scott’s work with Pro-Active has included projects involving Certified Pre-Owned vehicles/processes (Porsche), App-based Product Training (Audi), and web-based Financial Services training (Porsche Financial Services).
Scott holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Gettysburg College and an MBA from Drexel University.
Lisa has over 20 years' experience in the automotive industry. Her entry role in 1990 as a Customer Service Representative for Sterling Motor Cars in Miami, Florida eventually led her to a position with Land Rover North America in 1993. She then played key roles in Corporate Communications, Franchise Development, and Training.
Lisa was a founding member of Land Rover University in 1996 and her roles and responsibilities included logistical management and facilitation for numerous vehicle launch events, over 70 dealer launch training sessions for the US and Canada, brand training, selling and managerial skills training, and three unique dealer competitions to increase brand loyalty and morale called "Land Rover TReK."
Lisa spent her last two years with Land Rover as Manager of the Jaguar Land Rover University Group, which encompassed all aspects of training for both corporate and dealer personnel for both brands.
Since 2004 Lisa has worked with Pro-Active on a part-time basis, providing curriculum development and project management support for Jaguar Land Rover and Porsche projects, including Road to Sales.
Julie's automotive project management involvement spans over ten years. Her projects include curriculum design and refresh, classroom and track events, virtual coaching, webinars and publications.
Julie brings an attention to detail that ensures her projects are successful and exceed the clients expectations. One secret to her success is her ability to envision projects from all viewpoints, thus creating an extraordinary experience. Julie used this strategy to develop the processes for both Porsche Certified Brand Ambassador 5-Day Program and the first Porsche Virtual Coaching program. As a class and event manager she creates an environment for learning, while enjoying a luxury experience.
John D. Pearce is a well-established facilitator, instructional designer, writer, and consultant. He writes and facilitates extensively across many disciplines, including the motorcycle, automotive, and heavy trucking industries, photography, and fire protection services.
In 1996, John was one of the first to teach Internet and e-commerce skills - and he remains on the leading edge of the technology wave. His real specialty is combining his advanced people skills with the latest adult education techniques and technology. This is John's way of connecting with the students and finding ways to ensure they get the maximum possible benefit from the training. His highly interactive style may involve games, group problem solving, hands-on demonstrations, competition, and/or videotaping - whatever it takes to make learning "stick."
Comfortable with everything from small, intimate groups of three or four to large auditoriums with over 600 attendees, John's experience and talents are well suited to virtually any subject in all conceivable venues.
Prior to his current work, John was a Sales Engineer; a Regional Sales Training Manager and District Sales Manager for a major manufacturer; and both retail Sales Consultant and Sales Manager. A degreed Mechanical Engineer, John's other previous professions include Artist, Commercial Photographer, and Instructor of Photography. In his leisure hours John can be found hiking, kayaking, creating blown glass art, restoring antique furniture, collecting folk art, and occasionally increasing his adrenaline flow.
Since 1970, Tom Strahs has been involved in business improvement as a sales and service specialist, manager, facilitator, developer, writer, speaker, and consultant.
Tom was raised in the automotive industry; his father worked at a John Deere, Ford, and Buick dealership and raced boats in Illinois.
Tom's career started in the hotel/resort industry in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, followed by General Manager of the resorts airline and Cessna Sales/Service Center - Lake Geneva Airways. He then entered automotive retail and wholesale vehicle sales in Lake Geneva with LRP as Director of Marketing and Dealer Sales and Service Development, then Vice President. Responsible for in-dealer business planning processes to improve market share by refining their consultative selling skills in parts, service, and sales.
He relocated to New Hampshire and continued in retail and corporate sales as sales consultant, General Manager at Nashua Diesel and then General Manager/Vice President for MSV, for Light, Medium and Heavy Duty trucks and RV's, earning numerous GMC and dealership awards.
Tom joined BMW of North America as a facilitator for sales, service and dealership evaluation programs. He was promoted to National Dealer Development Manager and then National Training Manager responsible for Brand and management training curriculum, dealership evaluations, dealership management sales and service development, and launch programs.
Since leaving BMW, Tom has written and delivered programs for sales, service, management communications, and new product launches. He has facilitated courses and keynote speeches for corporations - Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Marine and others. Tom has conducted in-dealership consulting/coaching initiatives for both Porsche and Volkswagen, and has served as an instructor for the Porsche Certified Brand Ambassador program and the 911 Launch Training program. He has published numerous magazine articles on process improvement.
As a professional communicator, Tom applies current, relevant adult learning theories. As a consultant, Tom has been on numerous brand teams to implement best practices and initiate culture changes. His skills in process improvement increase sales and service, and improve customer and employee satisfaction and retention.
Steve Shap is a highly experienced executive management consultant. He has held executive positions with extensive business development and sales management responsibilities in the automotive, technology, and performance consulting industries.
Steve's retail automotive consulting work has included engagements with luxury brands Acura, BMW, Infiniti, Lincoln, Maserati, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz, and mainstream brands Honda, Ford, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Volkswagen. He has worked with all facets of dealership organizations, and has recruited, trained, and developed dealership personnel. His work has encompassed sales, finance, and fixed operations, as well as process change and improvement, ecommerce technology, and customer relationship management processes and technologies.
Steve also brings a wealth of experience in other retail-focused industries to his automotive consulting and training work. He managed and supported retail computer dealers and value-added resellers for Apple, Inc. for nine years in consumer, government, and business markets. He has also conducted strategic planning workshops and delivered sales and account planning training for Pepsico, Inc. and has held senior level sales and marketing positions with US Order, Inc., Newbridge Networks, Inc., and Xerox Corporation.
Steve holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola College, Baltimore MD, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. He resides in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Jack’s area of expertise is retail automotive sales and service process development, implementation, and improvement. Jack has an over 40 years of automotive experience. His career began as a district sales manager with Ford Motor Company and progressed upward in various regional department manager positions. After 15 years, he was accepted for the position of field sales manager with Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Over a career of 26 years, Jack has managed groups within Toyota’s marketing, sales, and retail development departments as well as managing one of the largest of Toyota’s twelve regional field offices. In his capacity as National Retail Development Manager, Jack was responsible for the launch and sustainment of Toyota’s Signature process development initiative. The launch involved facilitating regional and individual dealer launch and introduction meetings. The dealership meetings entailed purpose and benefits explanations, but also process development, implementation, training techniques, consensus building, team building, project management, change management, customer skills training, goal setting, and diagnostic assessment training. As a consultant and facilitator, Jack has drawn upon the experience he gained working with retail automotive dealers, representing a social networking and online reputation monitoring service and as an in-dealership coach for Porsche Cars North America, as part of Porsche’s Global Certification System. Jack was born and raised in the Boston, MA area and after several career moves, throughout the United States, returned to Massachusetts, where he currently resides. He earned a BS in Marketing from Boston College and has done graduate work at Northeastern University. He has also attended and completed various training sessions and seminars dealing with the various topics germane to process development and implementation.
Mike has focused his more than 32 years employment solely on the automotive sales and service experience. His career began as a Service Manager at the second largest independent leasing company in the state of Maryland. He then moved to two retail dealerships where he spent the next 15 years as Service Manager constantly fine-tuning his ability to solve problems, improve customer loyalty and increase bottom-line profitability.
Mike changed direction in 2000 to become a consultant/ facilitator working with Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi and Harley Davidson, training their service and sales staffs in product features/operations as well as policies and procedures. Mike has written training programs for sales, service and parts as well as parts and service management. His courses have been delivered both on the web and in the classroom.
Mike has drawn on his successful service management past to help shape the solutions that today’s dealership managers need. He has practical experience that trainees can relate to, helping them see that change isn’t just a theory—it’s possible and necessary.
With one leg in sales and marketing and the other planted in communications, Dan is a true multi-tasker. A salesman who can teach. An idea guy who can execute. He's also a bit of an anomaly - a creative writer who brings a deep understanding of brand marketing, sales and the "business of business" to Pro-Active Learning's clients.
Dan brings broad and valuable experience to the team, having found success on many levels and in many positions. He's been National Marketing Director for an industrial machinery manufacturer, Sales Manager for a corporate communications firm and Senior Copywriter for an advertising agency. Dan has produced effective materials in nearly every communications medium and application for companies including BMW North America, Commonwealth Telephone, GE Americom, Land Rover North America, Porsche Cars North America, Thompson's Water Seal, Unilever, Wyeth-Ayerst International, Western Pest Services, Yale Materials Handling and more. But he still feels his best job ever was in college as a dormitory Resident Assistant at Penn State (Marketing, '83). There, he learned skills in interpersonal relationships, diplomacy, conflict management and counseling that still serve him well every day.
Today, Dan provides instructional design, content development, creative writing and training program facilitation services to Pro-Active clients including Porsche, Land Rover, BMW, Volvo, Mazda and MINI.
Evan Smith has worked with Pro-Active through several corporate lifetimes and ventures – including significant work in the auto industry on sales performance, employee engagement and development, and dealer development (work with BMW NA, BMW Financial Services, Audi, Toyota Financial Services, Volvo, and Mazda). In addition to his work in the automotive industry, he’s helped to design and deliver action-learning-based leadership development programs for Merck, Bausch+Lomb and NTT DOCOMO, among work with other global brands.
He trained as an industrial engineer who took deep dives into social sciences and the essence of what makes people "tick" - and has been helping leaders to deliver business growth and other measurable results through successful organizational and individual change for more than 20 years. As a corporate leader, Evan has led the Quality function for a global mid-cap chemical company. He’s also established a corporate Performance Management function for a U. S. regional bank in the early 1990s during a time of restructuring; and helped to introduce and structure revamped business lines for the bank’s investment services arm. Evan started his career with GE in its aerospace business, working on the Information Systems Management Program (ISMP).
His coaching and consulting clients have included major pharmaceutical, medical devices, healthcare, financial services, chemical, automotive, technology, energy, and professional services companies.
In much of his coaching, he’s specialized in helping highly analytical, hard-charging business people to develop greater versatility and options as they grow and develop into larger leadership positions.
He earned his MBA from the Yale School of Organization and Management, and his dual undergraduate Industrial & Management Systems Engineering and Liberal Arts degrees from Pennsylvania State University.
David is a seasoned veteran in leadership development, with a proven ability to build productive management and employee teams. His focus is to use creativity to improve the processes and tools that support effective, efficient team performance.
To Pro-Active, he brings a strong automotive industry background, having led business units for Chrysler across the Globe, including the USA, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. David's expertise is specific to working with Clients to expand areas for growth initiatives and strategic alliances.
David's areas of professional and career proficiency include:Operational ManagementProgram DevelopmentStrategic DirectionNetwork Development & TrainingLeadership Development/Team BuildingDavid's background in people and process improvement includes coaching, facilitating, and consulting. With a history of working with in excess of 100 automotive dealers world-wide, David recognises the value of customer satisfaction, and customer engagement. Focusing on the Client's culture and what makes them unique, has allowed David and his team to refine the areas of development that help Client's enhance their identity and build on their brand.
David earned his BA in Psychology and Business from the University of Maryland. The past decade he has been involved in global employee certification programs where he functioned as a coach and facilitator working with sales and service staff. As a Board member of the Sarasota County Boys & Girls Club David enjoys working with a team towards the betterment of children's lives. He enjoys competitive sports, continued education and professional fulfillment in the form of client interaction and business development. Delivery with integrity and sustainability are key factors in David's approach to business and his personal life.
Heidi is an automotive professional with over 20 years diversified experience with GM and Saturn. Upon graduating with honors from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, she spent 6 years on the financial staff of Chevrolet and the Truck & Bus Group before accepting the challenge to be a part of GM's groundbreaking Saturn Corporation. Her time at Saturn fueled her passion for the customer experience and brand management.
Her broad experience includes leading the Retail Support Center for Service and Parts, managing Saturn's brand and business plans, and extensive direct field contact supporting and counseling retailers in all regions. From supporting innovative brand projects such as the Saturn Homecoming, car-clubs/owner clinics, EV1 owner events, to ensuring compliance with standards & processes, Heidi is a value-centric leader adept at building collaborative relationships aimed at delivering results.
Bev began her career in the automotive sector as a Service Advisor. She has a diverse background, ranging from the public education classroom to the automotive dealership to the manufacturing facility, combining over 20 years experience in education and design and development to provide timely result-oriented solutions. Her certifications include: DiSC, Myers-Briggs, 360 Coaching, Instructional Design and Development and Web-based Training.
Using the adult learning theory, Bev creates an environment in which participants learn and return to the workplace renewed. with a plan to succeed. Her strategy earned her the Lee Hecht Harrison President's Award for Exceptional Global Performance.
Encompassed in her retail and wholesale automotive experience are the design, development and delivery of all facets of training including Wholesale Managers, Sales and AfterSales Management, Sales and AfterSales Professionals, Diversity Marketing and Warranty. A rich history in luxury-brand automotive training has afforded Bev the opportunity to pilot and deliver world-class training that includes: Porsche CSI Best Practices for Managers and Advisors, Porsche Certified Brand Ambassador 5-Day program, Porsche Launches for the 991, 981 and the technical overview for Cayenne Diesel and Porsche Virtual Coaching.
Anne Harlow is a seasoned consultant, instructional designer, and facilitator with experience in developing and delivering training for the automotive industry at both the Headquarters and retail levels. She has produced programs geared toward increasing sales, exceeding customer expectations, improving employee involvement, and develop management/ leadership excellence in Sales, Service and Parts.
Anne has worked with Executives, Human Resources, IT departments, and other management teams to analyze personnel performance and business processes, identify opportunities for improvement, recommend and develop creative solutions, implement training, coaching and communication programs, and measure and monitor change and success. With a multi-faceted background in management, consulting, training, sales, marketing, instructional design and technology, Anne can design, develop, and deliver valuable and thought-provoking information with a flair for each audience’s unique needs. Anne’s instructional design and program delivery experience includes programs for front-line and management employees at GM, Porsche, and Volkswagen retailers. Subject matter has ranged from product knowledge, to customer communications/selling skills, to functional management skills and leadership development. Anne’s credentials include Certified DiSC® Facilitator (Communication and Behavior Styles), Certified Denison Organizational Culture Facilitator (Measuring the impact of culture on the bottom line), and Certified Trainer, IBCT (International Board of Certified Trainers).
Bill Bates is a seasoned automotive professional with experience in engineering, corporate planning, marketing, and sales management, and Certified Pre-Owned. Bill’s career started in the industry as a Product Engineer at the Ford Design Center in Dearborn. After earning an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Bill moved over to the planning side of the business. He managed the business planning process for a major Japanese manufacturer for several years where he developed the launch plan for that manufacturer’s luxury division. Bill spent twenty years with a European luxury manufacturer, moving from business planning to product management to sales operations. From 1996 to 2009, he was responsible for that manufacturer’s pre-owned car business – establishing its pre-owned brand, building dealer engagement, and taking sales from 6,000 units to well over 100,000 units per year. In its 2008 Used Vehicle Sales and Certification Study, J. D. Power ranked the manufacturer’s CPO program as the number one CPO program in the industry. As a content developer, Bill’s extensive portfolio of experience enables him to understand the client’s structures and processes and translate them readily into creative solutions that meet customer needs. As a trained facilitator, Bill believes that the most effective learning takes place when the participants take an active part in the training process. Bill’s knowledge of the retail side of the automotive business enables him to establish credibility with his dealer audience and thus lead them to understand the all-important “what’s in it for me” part of the training equation.
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