FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association
Cascade Auto Group’s Michelle Primm
Honored as Woman of Note by Crain’s Cleveland Business
Cleveland, OH (July 18, 2011)— Michelle Primm, managing partner of the Cascade Auto Group, has been chosen as an honoree in Crain’s Cleveland Business’ Women of Note for 2011. The award is given by Crain’s to honor female business leaders who bring passion, dedication, and strength to Northeast Ohio’s professional landscape.
“I’m obviously very excited to be honored with this award,” says Primm. “I am proud to represent not only the Cascade Auto Group, but the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, and all women who work in the retail automotive industry in Northeast Ohio.”
Primm, whose father Don formed Cascade Auto Group in 1969, literally grew up in the business, starting out in the early 70s when she was really too young to be formally working.
“My first job at the dealership was to file repair orders,” Primm recalls. “Later, when I got my driver’s license, my first full time summer job was to drive the parts truck.”
After finishing high school, Primm worked at the dealership full time in the office while going to college.
“I did everything from accounts payable and accounts receivable to warranty work and titles as well as going to college,” Primm says. “I learned a lot about accounting and business in a real world environment.”
Primm eventually worked her way up to office manager, taking a break from college to run the office full time.
“But I realized that I wanted a lot more, so I went back to college,” Primm says.
Primm went on to get degrees in Finance and Economics from Kent State University, and left the business briefly before heading back to Cascade to head up the dealer group’s F & I Department. Then in 1994, she was named general manager and then managing partner of Cascade Auto Group.
Cascade Auto Group is one of Northeast Ohio’s premier auto dealers, selling Porsche, Audi, Mazda and Subaru brands. It is one of the oldest Porsche Audi dealerships in the United States, and is still family-owned and operated.
“Today, I am a partner in the business along with my brothers Pat and Mike and my father Don,” says Primm.
Since becoming managing partner, Primm has served the auto industry in Northeast Ohio and nationally in a number of positions outside her family’s business, including a position on the State of Ohio’s Dealer Licensing Board, where she went on to become vice president and eventually president of the board. In 2005, Primm was nominated to represent Northeast Ohio and the GCADA in Time Magazine’s National Dealer of the Year Award.
In February of 2008, Primm was elected to the board of the National Automobile Dealers Association, serving as an at-large director representing all women dealers east of the Mississippi.
“It was an honor just to be nominated for the board because I initially served with Annette Sykora, the first woman chairperson of the NADA,” says Primm. “But it was also a challenge because we were facing a lot of turmoil in the industry when I first started to serve.
“I can’t recall how many times we were called to Washington to lobby for auto dealers or auto manufacturer bailouts, and all the other issues that arose out of the auto industry bankruptcies.”
And while the industry now appears to be back on track, there are still challenges ahead, Primm concedes.
“We’ve come through it, but we’re not totally out of the woods yet,” she says. “We’re not recovering with leaps and bounds, but scratching and crawling our way back. My biggest wish is that we could have a common sense comprehensive energy policy for our nation.”
Still, the industry is a lot healthier today than it was in 2008, and Primm’s contributions play an important part in that turnaround.
“We’re proud to have one of our member dealers selected as a Woman of Note for 2011 by Crain’s Cleveland Business,” said Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the GCADA. “Michelle’s dedication, professionalism and leadership are certainly worth recognizing. Our congratulations to Michelle, her family and the Cascade Auto Group.”
About the GCADA
The Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers' Association (GCADA) has served the retail-automobile industry and community with integrity and distinction since 1903. Today, located in Brecksville, Ohio, GCADA represents 240 franchised motor vehicle dealers, which includes new-car, truck, motorcycle and RV dealers in a 21-county region of northern Ohio along the Lake Erie shore and beyond. More information on the GCADA can be found at www.gcada.org.
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