CEO of FIXED OPS DIGITAL The Start "I grew up in Southwest Minnesota. No one lives there because, well, it's way too cold." Owen grew up in a small town, "just 14,000 people," he shares. He went to college in his hometown. "My focus in college was actually financial planning; I thought I was going to be either a financial planner or a stockbroker, you know, something in the financial sector. " Owen, however, also really enjoyed marketing. Having a conversation with Owen Moon about the automotive industry is like getting into a fast car and just accelerating. A fast-talking, quick-thinking, honest CEO, Owen is very open about who he is, the challenges he has faced, and how he plans on launching over any obstacles that come his way. "As I got out of college, and I started to look at opportunities, I realized that being in financial planning, you know, selling money, felt a little limiting." Owen Moon: I needed to let my creative side go, and I got lucky enough to end up with an advertising agency that was fully focused on automotive. Being a small-town kid who had never owned a new car, it was just great. Owen's first brand-new car came shortly after starting his automotive career. It was a white Chevy Tahoe, "I loved that truck. I absolutely loved that truck," Owen smiled. "I was fortunate enough to be in the dealerships, sitting with the owners and general managers, working with high-level executives every day. I became a sponge and was absorbing everything around me, learning the industry from the inside out." The Foundation “This is my 23rd year in the business, working with Dealerships.” Owen Moon: I was purely focused on helping my clients when I got introduced to my Business Partners. We had a discussion about how we could take some of the strategies that we've seen work on the sales side and move them to the service side of the business. FIXED OPS DIGITAL was born. Owen Moon: Most of the service marketing that you'd see out there was email or direct mail campaigns, and a lot of it was retention-based marketing where dealerships target people in their DMS, their past customers. What wasn't being addressed was the online service customer. These customers are done with their warranty and are searching for great value and great service. We realized that there was an opportunity for us to move in that direction. The Wins "I had to learn how to be a CEO." Owen Moon: I feel like I'm growing every day. When it started out, it was just four of us, and we all were kind of splitting up duties. Then, as we grew, we started to add personnel, and we began creating departments. My role has drastically changed in a lot of ways. "Today, I'm more focused on partnerships and working with the OEMs to help move us forward as a company." “It wasn't always easy.” Owen Moon: Our industry experienced a lot of challenges during the recession. I had a full-service agency back then, and we were doing a lot of TV, Radio, and Print Ads. I had a major Group out in Hawaii and was traveling a lot, working with really big marketing budgets. I was meeting with all the publishers and media stations, and then that all came to an end. All of a sudden, I found myself working with smaller franchise and independent dealerships throughout South Dakota. "I love the dealers out here. They are so great, real car guys but just a whole different game." Owen Moon: Being a CEO is a different challenge. People need to evolve, you need to take chances, and you need to avoid being comfortable. As you're growing in your career, you're gonna have to do a lot of different things. Not all of them will be what you want to do, but they are necessary, and they need to get done. I have a lot of conversations with different industry friends, and I'm still learning from everyone I meet. I like having conversations about our industry. I like speaking with high-level executives from other groups, OEMs, and vendors. What also keeps me grounded is that I have a lot of people on my team who are talented and have a lot of experience, but still come to me for advice. They want to do a good job. They want to represent our company well. I still feel like I operate on both sides of the business. I am paving the trail for myself within this role but also in the trenches with my team. I am giving them advice, something I never had. I had to make mistakes on my own. Trust me, I made a lot of mistakes, and there have also been those times when I thrived and made the right decisions. I learned from every one of those experiences, good and bad. The Future As we progress into 2023, we're focused on continuing with our partnerships from an OEM level. We will continue to create integrated partnerships, looking at what we can do to help our dealerships with all of their fixed operations profit centers. "We want to connect." This past year we were able to implement some interesting features and benefits with our software to help customers easily find services during inclement weather. We want to ensure that we are able to bring connectivity through other areas of our partners' business. We want to engage within the industry and vendor spaces. Owen is gifted, but beyond that, he understands our industry. He has put the work in, gained real experience, and integrated fully into the dealer environment. We look forward to Owen’s 2023, his contributions and watching his story develop further.