Kristin Schultz –
Dedicated To Your Success:
Dealers Resource Center Vice President of Business Development and Mergers and Acquisitions, Kristin Schultz, is based in West Michigan near Kalamazoo. She grew up in an automotive family and her mother, the late Nancy Prohm, played an instrumental role in her finding her footing working with car dealerships. Recently, Kristin took some time from her busy work schedule to sit down with us to discuss her experience, what she sees in the future and why DRC was such a natural fit for her career.
DRC: Tell me about your experience in the automotive industry.
Kristin Schultz: Well, my mom had a huge impact when I was in college. She encouraged me to get into the automotive industry when I was just 21 years old. She had a relationship with a car dealer and said that there was an opportunity selling aftermarket products and assisting a finance office in the Detroit area. She made me aware that this was a great career path that I should really look seriously into. And that’s how I got into the automotive industry. I’ve worked actively in the automotive industry now for 27 years.
DRC: It sounds like it was almost in your blood.
Kristin Schultz: It is in my blood! My mom met my dad when he was 19. He was a truck driver; she was a credit life agent. She worked for American Way in the ‘70s and went on the road. She met a bunch of dealers, and she was the rep for Credit Life Insurance and Disability Insurance. And she encouraged my dad in the automotive world as well. She was brokering long before she even realized it. She was always trying to help people and she encouraged my dad to start selling cars at a big dealer in Detroit. He ended up on the fast track to becoming a General Manager. My mom would also take me and my sister on trips to NADA, where my sister and I got to have a little more fun that she did. She would play it off as a trip but what she was doing was grooming us into the business.
DRC: Tell us about your experience.
Kristin Schultz: I did F&I for many years. I then decided to move into being a Rep working on the outside calling on retail dealers selling service contracts. I also worked for a very large manufacturer for several years and I ended up being an Area Sales Manager. I got promoted up to leading a team and I was the number one team for their Ancillary and Service contract products for the North Central Region. After my mom passed away, I stepped into her world. I still have people selling contracts, while working with several different providers. I’ve also placed agencies with them selling their contracts and called on dealers when I was an agent myself. It’s important, because I know what a day in the life of an agent looks like.
DRC: What attracted you to DRC?
Kristin Schultz: Lee (Kalamitsiotis, President Emeritus) worked with my mom and he and Deric found me. Well, we found each other on LinkedIn, actually, and I immediately recognized the name! I ended up talking to Lee first and he was in Florida and just wanted to pick my brain on some stuff. He said he could really use someone and when he heard my voice, he said, ‘You sound just like your mother, and you act like her!’ I said, ‘Well, I have done her job.’
DRC attracted me because of the things Lee said and the things he and Deric and Mike believe in. After seeing DRC’s programs, I think they have built something really great. It’s a foundation for success that a lot of agencies don’t have.
They also have some competitive products that attracted me. It’s an opportunity to step into a role where I can live out my mom’s legacy and that’s a gift that I feel should be honored. I want to work with people that knew what she was about.
DRC: What do you see as the focus for 2023?
Kristin Schultz: My focus for this year is to make sure that the programs DRC offers, are available to any agent across the United States. They need to know about the programs wherever DRC is licensed. That’s my primary goal. I’ve already lined up lists upon lists upon lists to get those competitive programs out there with my help and guidance, and maybe even offer some additional training. There’s a lot of young, talented people in the car business that may have done sales or F&I and are super talented who would make excellent agents. So, one of the things I want to focus on is recruiting and helping others become successful. There’s a new generation out there and I want to find those diamonds in the rough.