August 28, 2020 - 5:56 pm
Automotive News, an international publication that covers all things related to the automotive business, selected Chad Leavitt of Findlay Automotive as one of its 40 under 40. According to Statista.com reports, more than 2 million Americans work in the automotive retail industry, so being singled out is quite an honor.
Growing up, most kids say they want to be rock stars, astronauts or sports figures. Leavitt, Findlay’s chief accounting officer, wanted to be in the car business. Not as a racecar driver or a designer; Leavitt’s interest was in the buying and selling of cars.
At the age of 13, Leavitt was going to dealerships with his parents’ friends to negotiate the prices of cars on their behalf. It was an odd thing to be sure, but he was good at it.
Leavitt recalls when he was in junior high school going to a dealership with one of his teachers. The internet was still new, but Kelley Blue Book had a website. At that point, many dealers didn’t even know it existed.
“I remember the sales guy wondering how I knew the cost on this car,” Leavitt said. “I had printed it off the website and was like ‘Look, it’s right here.’”
Once he got to high school, Leavitt actually started having adults with dealer licenses buy cars on his behalf at auctions.
“One day in high school, I asked to go to the bathroom during class and I called my guy at the auction from my cellphone to bid on a Jeep for a friend of mine,” he said.
The day after he graduated high school, he started selling cars at a dealership part time while going to college.
In 2006, he started working at Findlay’s Las Vegas Auto Leasing. It was a subprime auto finance company that helped get cars for people who had been turned down elsewhere. It was where Leavitt learned the complex banking and finance side of the automotive business.
While he was there, he graduated from UNLV with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He completed his MBA at Florida International University in April 2013.
In the summer of 2013, Leavitt made the decision to go back to a traditional dealership. He became the used-car manager at Findlay Acura.
“I loved the job but the hours are hard on families,” he said. “I am fortunate to have a very understanding wife who took on a lot since we had four young children at the time.”
In 2015, Leavitt completed a challenging training course in general dealership management at the National Auto Dealers Academy. With so much education and automotive experience in his background, Findlay Automotive’s CFO Tyler Corder promoted Leavitt as his chief accounting officer.
“Chad has been a key contributor to Findlay Automotive Group’s success for the past 14 years,” Corder said. “He is an innovative leader in the auto business but he is also a community leader. His involvement with local charities and civic organizations fits perfectly with Findlay’s community focus.”