The Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta (MDA) is pleased to announce the selection of Gerald Wood as its new president.

“Gerald has extensive experience in the auto industry in Alberta and nationally. He fully comprehends a new car dealer’s challenges with respect to operations, market trends, manufacturer relationships and government regulations,” says MDA chair Chad Zender. “(The selection committee) also felt that he understands how to speak with dealers directly and is already known and respected by many dealers in this province.”

After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in 1988, Wood accepted a position with Ford Credit in Halifax. For the next ten years, he progressed through various roles and locations with the company before moving over to Ford Motor Company where the bulk of his time was spent in the field, working firsthand with the dealer body. “I love their entrepreneurial spirit and the constant drive to achieve,” says Wood. In 2004, Wood was named Ford’s general manager, western region where he remained until he retired in 2019. “In 31 years, I don’t think I had a boring day,” says Wood of his long and varied automotive career.

Wood embraced the freedom retirement offered and pursued his love of travel and golf. He had envisioned enjoying winters in warmer climates; however, the COVID-19 pandemic dashed those plans. Wood stayed in touch with past colleagues and soon came to realize how much he missed the people and the industry itself. “I would hang up the phone and wonder what it would be like if I was still in the game,” Wood recalls. He decided that if the opportunity for “the perfect job” arose, he would seize it. For Wood, the MDA president position checked all the boxes. “The role with MDA would allow me to connect with dealers on a daily basis—this time across all brands.  It would also put me in a position of being able to help them build their respective businesses in a market that I and my family have made home,” Wood says.

Wood is returning to the industry at a time when it, like so many others, has been severely impacted by the retraction of the economy in the wake of COVID-19. “The pandemic has forced many dealerships to accelerate changes to the buying process (whether its sales or service), and the customer’s expectations are only going to increase. The government will have plenty to do to ensure the economy recovers to its former levels and we, as an industry, need to be ready when the customer is there,” says Wood. “I hope that all members can benefit from my experience and guidance as we move forward together.”

Wood will assume the role of MDA president effective November 23, taking over the reins from Denis Ducharme who is retiring after serving the association for 12 years as president.