The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) announced that dealer Steve Gates of Richmond, Kentucky, will serve as its 2021 chairman. Gates – who is the owner of Gates Auto Family, which operates dealerships in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana – accepted the chairman’s gavel as part of AIADA’s 51st Virtual Annual Meeting.
“Becoming chairman of AIADA is by far the biggest honor I’ve ever received,” said Gates, who represents the third generation of dealers in the Gates Auto Family. “I can promise you that day in and day out I will do everything I can for this industry and AIADA. I’m excited and ready to go.”
The Gates Auto Family operates Audi, Ford/Lincoln, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota dealerships with more than 500 employees. Gates is an active member of the auto retail industry; he has served on AIADA’s board of directors since 2014 and in 2018 testified on behalf of its members on the disastrous impact of proposed 232 tariffs on vehicles during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. His industry leadership also includes representing dealers on Toyota’s National Dealer Council for six terms, Toyota’s National Product Advisory Council, and the state of Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle Commission. Gates is also a former Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association board member.
Gates is taking over as chairman following an unprecedented year for America’s international dealer community as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as new leadership in Washington, D.C. He plans to use his time as chairman to get dealers more involved in AIADA through its Dealer Visit Program – which is especially important as a new Congress and Administration set the agenda in Washington.
“My plan is to attend every meeting I can, including regional and mid-level meetings to get more people involved in AIADA. We have so many dynamic young dealers on our board of directors, and I want to see that represented in AIADA’s overall member involvement,” said Gates.
Gates is joined in leadership on the AIADA board of directors by Jason Courter, Immediate Past Chairman (Bellevue, Washington); John Connelly, Chairman-Elect (Columbus, Ohio); Mike Darrow, Vice-Chairman (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin); and Mike DeSilva, Secretary/Treasurer (Emerson, New Jersey).
In lieu of AIADA’s 51st Annual Meeting and Luncheon, the association held a virtual Annual Meeting, featuring keynote remarks by Bob Carter, Toyota Motor North America’s Executive Vice President of Sales and the posthumous presentation of the David F. Mungenast Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary Indiana dealer and AIADA board member Bob Rohrman.
For more about AIADA and its 9,500 dealers who employ over 564,000 Americans, visit www.AIADA.org.