Here are this year’s Dealer Education Award honorees


Northwood University presents annual dealer education awards to five national auto dealers at the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) convention in Dallas, Texas.

This year’s winners are:

• Jamar Brinkley, Dealer Principal, Renaissance Cars, Roanoke Rapids, NC

• Rik Fregia, Vice President, Courtesy Automotive Group, Danville, IL

• Chris Saraceno, Vice President and Partner, Kelly Automotive Group, Melbourne, Florida

• Brandon Tomes, Owner and General Manager, Tomes Auto Group, McKinney, TX

• Kevin Vanatta, owner of Newberry Motors, Inc., Newberry, Michigan

Since 1972, Northwood has recognized owner and dealer principals in the automotive marketing field for their notable individual contributions to public and private education within and outside the industry.

“This is our 51st year of recognizing outstanding dealer and community leaders who have made a significant contribution to our industry and to the development of the next generation of automotive leaders,” said Kent McDonald, president of Northwood. increase. “We are especially proud of this year’s winners and look forward to celebrating them later this month.”

Awards will be presented at a special breakfast on Saturday, January 28th at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Attendees include Northwood University students, alumni, and automotive guests.

See below for biographies of the award winners.

Jammer Brinkley Founder and Managing Partner of Renaissance Equity Group, LLC and President of The Renaissance Companies. Taking everything he’d learned through his extensive career in two major automotive groups, he founded Renaissance his Cars in 2016 with a strong desire to become a real presence in the automotive industry. He started his career with one of the country’s leading auto retailers. He excelled early on through his leadership, salesmanship and focus on customer satisfaction.

Mentors helped him gain experience and confidence as a general manager, and dealers thrived under his leadership. We believe mentorship is important because it can be someone you can turn to and ask for advice.

Brinkley’s success allowed him to buy his own dealership after running Renaissance Cars for several years. Putting his trust in a higher power, Brinkley purchased the existing store and rebranded it as Renaissance Nissan. As a testament to his ability, he was recently recognized as one of his 40 Under 40 by Automotive News.

Rick Frezier Vice President of Courtesy Automotive Group in Danville, Illinois. Fresia started his automotive career at a Ford dealership owned by his father. When Ray Fregia Sr. retired and sold the shop, Rik Fregia teamed up with his younger brother Ray.

Fresia, who supports local organizations, has served on the board of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and Deer Crossing. He also chairs the New Hope His Baptist Church Scholarship Committee, which helps local high school seniors earn college degrees.

Fregia’s commitment to the community has earned her a Pride in Crystal Lake Award, a McHenry County Best Under 40 Businessman Outstanding Achiever Award, Automotive News’ 40 Under 40, and a Presidential Award of Excellence.

Chris Saraceno Business executive, real estate investor, speaker and leader. He is the founder of the online He community He is DealerElite.com and co-founder of the training company Team Builders Inc. He is a former advisory board member of Autotrader, DealerRater, Hire the Winners, and Cemboo Film Distribution.

Saraceno began his career in the automotive industry in 1984 and joined The Kelly Automotive Group in 1989. In 2009 he became a partner of the organization.

Chris is a featured speaker at numerous conferences and has published hundreds of articles both online and in business magazines.one of his works Theory of 5was created to help individuals of all walks of life identify the five theories that drive happiness and prosperity. Theory of 5 It is based on choosing mentors in the five most important areas: spirituality, marriage, parenting, business and finance, and health. Director Elgie Bright incorporates this theory into her educational curriculum.

Brandon Tomez Brandon Tomes is President and Director of Subaru and Vice President of Bob Tomes Ford and Brandon Tomes Volkswagen of McKinney, Texas.

After graduating from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, he joined the family business full-time in September 2007. ‘ General Management Executive Program.

He has received numerous professional accolades over the years. Most recently, he was a finalist for his 2020 Subaru Retailer of the Year. His team has achieved Subaru’s premier retailer award, the Love Promise Customer Commitment Award, for his 10th consecutive year, and has also won Ford’s premier award, the President’s Award, in 2020.

His family’s philanthropic contributions are substantial, and he has a proven track record of commitment to giving back to the community through the Rotary Club of McKinney’s Academic Excellence Program and the Texas Chamber Music Ensemble Program. Additionally, many of his McKinney students are motivated by the various incentives Tomes offers to local schools for high-performing students.

Kevin Vanatta As one of six boys whose father died when he was 13, Vanatta’s childhood and teenage years were influenced by his grandfather, who owned and operated an auto repair shop and gas station. Shaped by these experiences, Vanatta naturally wanted to establish a career in the automotive retail industry.

In 1992, he had the opportunity to buy out his employer, a General Motors and DaimlerChrysler dealership chief in Newbury, Michigan. Since then, he has built a life there, fed his family, grown his business, and served his community.

Vanatta’s commitment to the Newbury community includes serving as president of the Newbury Area Chamber of Commerce, the Ambassadors Club, and the Kiwanis Club. He is also a member of the Catholic Church of St. Gregory’s Church and a member of the parish financial council. He is also active as a member of the Tahquamenon Education Foundation. This organization provides financial assistance for college expenses to high school graduates who maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher throughout their high school career.



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