GNYADA hires former DMV deputy; Dealer group donates masks, shields to Red Cross

The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association has brought on a former top official with the state’s DMV to serve as its director of dealer compliance.

Thomas Higgins, who was the deputy commissioner of compliance for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, spent nine years with the DMV, and will now help GNYADA dealers “navigate the complexities of the industry’s federal, state, and local regulations,” especially as auto retail business starts to come out of the pandemic, the association said.

“Downstate New York’s franchise new car dealers are extremely fortunate to have the expertise of someone with Tom’s extensive background and deep knowledge of the complex regulations and laws under which our industry must operate,” GNYADA president Mark Schienberg said in a news release.

“As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, our members, which are small businesses, collectively support more than 70,000 jobs in local communities, and will help lead the way to economic recovery,” Schienberg said. “Having this crucial new support will help ensure that they can best serve their customers and employees.”

Higgins responsibilities as deputy commissioner included the Division of Field Investigations (which heads up fraud inquiries), the Title Bureau and the Office of Vehicle Safety and Clean Air.

Higgins also helped craft the state DMV’s registration and title system that the retail car business uses.

“GNYADA serves as an invaluable resource for its members, providing support to small business owners trying to operate in what can often be a challenging regulatory environment,” Higgins said in the release.

“Dealers are integral to our local economy and they serve vital roles in their communities,” he said. “I am looking forward to offering my knowledge and experience to help dealers and their employees understand how to ensure full compliance so they can thrive, providing high-quality jobs and maintaining important, long-term relationships with their customers.”

GNYADA dealers donate face masks, shields

In other news from the association, dealers in the downstate New York area have worked via GNYADA to donate 150,000 face masks and 25,000 face shields to the American Red Cross Greater New York Region.

The Red Cross will utilize the masks and shields during blood drives, including when patients who have recovered from COVID-19 donate plasma.

“When our fellow New Yorkers are in need, as they have been throughout this terrible pandemic, franchise new car dealers and their employees step up to the plate and give back to the communities where they live and work,” Schienberg, the GNYADA president, said in a release.

“Like many local businesses, auto dealers in recent months have faced enormous economic challenges, which threaten their livelihoods due to Coronavirus. Nevertheless, our members have been nothing short of remarkable when it comes to the generosity and community-minded spirit they have shown by donating vital personal protective equipment to keep New Yorkers safe.”

Susan Rounds, who is the interim CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region, added: “Communities across the country count on the American Red Cross for help every day, and we are so grateful to be able to count on our partners like the Greater NY Automobile Dealers Association to help us deliver our lifesaving mission safely

“Our work never stops, even during this coronavirus crisis, and this personal protective equipment will help protect our Red Cross team members and the people we serve, as we respond to disasters, collect lifesaving blood products, offer CPR and first aid courses, and support military families and veterans.”

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