Ten Questions with Development Dave
Ten Questions with Development Dave
We sat down with the Vice President of Development for CARSTAR North America, Dave Foster, to learn more about his role, history and ask some tough questions.
- Where did you work before CARSTAR? A mechanical engineer by trade, I spent the first nine years of my career in tool and dye. After this, I worked in various sales roles in the manufacturing and tooling space. Then, I actually worked with one of our vendors, Axalta, supporting National Strategic Accounts before joining CARSTAR three years ago.
- How did you join the CARSTAR team? I found my role with CARSTAR through a NASCAR event actually in Kansas City. The airline actually cancelled my flight, so I was on a flight with the whole CARSTAR team and spent some quality time with them. After that, CARSTAR offered the role of a National Director for Franchise Development and then eventually I moved on to be the Vice President of Development for North America.
- What is it like being the Vice President of Franchise Development? It is humbling, I feel grateful to be representing the premier leader in collision repair and help people take their businesses to the next level. I would not be here with out my incredible development team, who I am just proud to represent.
- What is your favorite thing about your job? People. The people I work with at CARSTAR, the people on my dream team, the people in our network, the people I meet as potential prospects, the people who lead our industry relationships – it really all comes down to them, and it’s my favorite part.
- What is the most challenging part of your role? This rapid changing industry creates new and unique challenges all the time. Staying ahead of the changes is definitely the most difficult part of my role, because it is important we keep prospects aware so they can make the right decisions for their business. Another challenge is exceeding the expectations of Driven Brands, which has morphed into a benefit. Having to prove the rationale for our growth plans is difficult, but it has taught me to leverage the power of analytics, which has made me a more effective leader.
- What is scale and why are you always talking about it? Scale is an approach of growing wide first before you grow deep. Being large creates opportunities like buying power, greater market reach and better brand recognition. Accelerating our growth and scaling our business model to the point where all of our partners can benefit, from insurance to franchise, manages our costs and brings in new benefits.
- What does the develop team do for current franchise partners? Existing franchise partners are important because they already know the CARSTAR resources, operations and service standards. The development team comes in when owners are looking to replicate their success and open another facility. This can feel like a monumental hurdle, so we can help identify strategic opportunities in their area to increase their market share and add new locations. The operations team is also integral here because they educate owners on MSO best practices.
- How would you define the collision repair industry right now? The industry is ever changing, but the people in it are the same. As much as we are seeing a lot of change, new technologies, advancements and requirements – people remain at the center of everything we do, and they still have the same concerns on their future in the industry. We are seeing owners wanting to keep their business, or set their children up to succeed with a mapped out succession plan, but they need that extra support to navigate these new times of what is ahead.
- Where do you think the collision repair is going? We will continue to see more regional consolidation and regional MSOs acquiring repair centers. With that, the national MSOs will continue to buy the regional MSOs as well. I also anticipate seeing a change in the control of first notice of loss with the rise of connectivity in cars. Who is going to manage that and control it is still up for debate. This really puts more stress on car count because owners can continue to lose the ability to manage the changing relationships, which just puts added importance on the need to be a part of something bigger.
- How do you like to spend your free time? I have three daughters with my wife of 21 years, and I love spending time with them – even when they all gang up on me. I also love playing golf and watching soccer. My team is Liverpool but I also support the West Virginia Mountaineers, where my eldest daughter plays goalie.
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