Headed in the Right Direction

As NMEDA’s New CEO,David Hubbard Plans to Drive the Organization Forward

David Hubbard didn’t stumble into the mobility industry. It was his desire for a change of pace that hooked him. It all started in 2001, when Hubbard was called by Toyota to help with setting up a mobility program.

Eight years later, Hubbard has been chosen to lead the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). He currently serves as the organization’s CEO/executive director and has been on the job since September 1, 2008.

Hubbard recalls attending an Abilities Expo show before actually participating in one, and his interest was immediately piqued.
“I was a little nervous the first time we were participating in the show, because I had never worked with people with disabilities or anything like that,” he recalls. “But the experience was just overwhelming. It was so much fun, and the people were just so grateful that you were there.”

Before succeeding Dana Roeling, who served as executive director from 2002 until February 2008, Hubbard worked as a marketing consultant, primarily for corporate and manufacturing clients including Toyota, IMS and Bruno. Though his title is different now, his former and current responsibilities are the same in the sense that they involve developing programs, marketing and administering ideas that will generate awareness and interest.

Hubbard spent his first few days on the job reviewing NMEDA’s programs and trying to get a grasp on all the committees and the dealers. Hubbard says that he is impressed by the amount of effort that the dealers put into the association.
Putting together a marketing plan that will keep people informed and working on membership for all of the different constituents will help to keep up the momentum, he believes. Hubbard would like to see NMEDA establish certification processes, so he is working on training ideas.
“The biggest priority is to generate some awareness for NMEDA as a leader in the mobility industry,” Hubbard says. “That includes advocacy groups, consumers and, of course, dealers and associate members.”

Hubbard plans to move NMEDA forward via a marketing plan that will spread the word about NMEDA and its benefits. The marketing plan will involve putting materials together that will promote NMEDA by explaining what the organization is, what mobility is and most importantly what NMEDA can do to help. Hubbard also wants to appropriately deal with companies that sell vehicles they can’t service.
“That’s selling your goods in areas where you can’t provide warranty and product service,” he explains. “With the Internet, that’s very easy to do, and that’s something that needs to be looked at.”

However, Hubbard doesn’t believe using the Internet to sell is taboo.
“Sales on the Internet are going to happen, but it’s how you follow up on your sales that is important: Are you responsible? That’s the key. If you go on the Internet and you sell a complicated mobility product to somebody that’s 1,000 miles away and don’t provide product support or warranty support, that’s wrong.”

At this year’s NMEDA conference, there will be a plethora of new seminars and conference elements, including how lenders can support selling new and used vehicles.
“There are a lot of things here and in the workshops that will benefit our dealers,” he says.
The conference will not only feature workshops that are fundamental to NMEDA’s being an educator and bringer of new information to its constituents, Hubbard says, but will also showcase new products and technology. Overall, the conference brings the different constituent groups — manufacturers, associates and dealers — together so they can collaborate and communicate with one another, Hubbard says.

During his first 90 days in office, Hubbard made it his business to personally meet dealers or at least call them. And he hopes to meet more dealers as well as see old friends at this year’s event.
“Meeting them face to face I think is going to be real important and a lot of fun,” he says.
For more information on the NMEDA conference, visit www.nmeda.org.

This article originally appeared in the Drive!/NMEDA supplement: February 2009 issue of Mobility Management.

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