NewsJan 30th, 2024

Meet Steven Adragna, President of Global Auto Staffing

Meet Steven Adragna  Announcement V1 -2

The Start

Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town south of San Francisco is where it all began. With a population of around 8000, Steven Adragna spent his time the way a lot of young boys growing up in a small town, and particularly a dealership family, do. He played football, involved himself in the community, and spent his summers helping out in the service bay, detailing cars. By the summer of his senior year, Steven was selling cars.

“Selling cars and football,” he smiled.

After an injury ended his football career, Steven fully embraced the automotive industry and has never looked back.

The Foundations

Back then, the business was different. “I would be writing out the vehicle cost on these little note cards, and then we would put it in this little drawer.” Steven learned, at a young age, the importance of customer service, and how to truly win the customer over. There was no technology as far as CRM tools and processes were concerned, it was the early 2000s, “but we had an internet sales department back then,” a team of well-educated engineering graduates. According to Steven, there were a few pioneers from the Bay Area who started putting out car discounts on the internet and sharing pricing, but it was not the norm. Being around all these accomplished people, willing to take risks with technology but in the interest of customer centricity; Steven found himself building a robust foundation right at the intersection of technology and human collaboration.

“I see it in candidates. If you’re not constantly figuring out new ways to do things and willing to adapt, you can’t get ahead in the car business.”

Having experienced almost every role at the dealership by 2017 — from car washing and service portering to wholesale DMV processing — Steven had advanced to become both a Finance Manager and Sales Manager. At just 29, he held the position of General Manager at a dealership in the San Francisco Bay area.

Steven’s family had established a recruitment firm at that point but he had never considered himself a recruiter. Although he was deeply involved in recruiting for the dealership and focused on identifying, training, and retaining talent throughout his career, he never expected himself to start a recruitment firm. “I had always been recruiting, as a GM, my focus was on staff and supporting the Dealer.” Retail hours are demanding. Steven had spent so much of his life within dealership walls and as he approached 30, he needed a break. “My family and a lot of my friends are recruiters but I kept telling myself, and everyone else, I am a car guy!”

The Wins

“But then you close your first deal and it feels as good as the moment you sell your first car.”

In 2015, Steven transitioned into a talent acquisition career, servicing automotive retail. Staff and CEO training and development, alongside designing and implementing innovative processes and standards resulted in Steven and his team working with several leading dealer groups both locally and internationally. After 8 years, Steven launched his own recruitment company, Global Auto Staffing (G.A.S.)

The almost three decades in automotive retail have given him access to an in-depth understanding of how retail works, and who and what it takes to thrive in it. The lessons learned working in dealerships laid the foundations for how Steven engages automotive talent. Over the years, Steven’s technique of selling cars, playing the long game, and “building the relationship before you ask,” has informed how he onboards new clients. “Everyone wants to be instantly rewarded, it’s the same in the car business,” but Steven knows that strategic partnership with clients (and customers) is the differentiator that moves volumes.

“The employee experience is as important as the customer experience.”

The freedom to build his firm, based on his knowledge of the industry and, specifically, building and marketing G.A.S as per the needs of automotive retail, has allowed him to focus on his partnerships, team, and marketing strategy: “the most important aspects of building a valuable proposition.”

Steven has always been an advocate for our industry. Born into automotive, raised in automotive retail, and responsible for driving profitability through team cohesion, his purpose is embedded in making car dealerships more profitable through strategic people based decision-making. “There are so many transactions in our industry but at the end of the day, we all have the same mission: selling cars.”

The Future

“My job is to support the industry in any way I can, through highlighting the importance of investing in talent.”

Internal and external marketing activities have a role to play in our industry. When we consider competitive positioning in terms of other dealerships, we need to consider how we position ourselves to attract and retain the best talent. Identifying potential is possibly as important as celebrating high performers and how we make strategic decisions around talent acquisition and retention will be the differentiator in the years to come.

We welcome Steven Adragna to the DMM Expert Panel. We look forward to his contributions which will be focused on designing, implementing, and measuring the most formidable marketing and employer branding strategies, as they pertain to talent, in automotive retail.

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