WHO WE ARE

Our EXPERTS

There’s a reason Next-Level team members are called “change agents.”

It is because we create lasting change in both behaviors and operational performance. With Next-Level Automotive Group you get more than experience; you get proven expertise in Fixed Operations. Our leaders each have a long track record of building high performing teams and delivering measurable performance improvement results.

Dean Estep

Servant Leader

With more than 40 years of experience, Dean Estep consulted with and was an integral part of Chrysler Corporation’s Fixed Operations Training and development. He has conducted over five hundred seminars and workshops for not only Chrysler, but Ford Motor Company, Harley Davidson and AutoNation. As Director of Fixed Operations Training and Development at AutoNation, the world’s largest auto retailer, he managed a staff of up to 20 trainers and helped drive over 2 billion dollars in Fixed Operations sales annually.

Heather Scovill

Instructional Design Leader & Program Strategist

Heather is the brains and creativity behind Next-Level’s innovative learning methods. She has a strong background in instructional design & scientific research. Heather has a passion for learning new things and teaching others what she’s learned in a fun and interesting way.

Lora Creps

Learning Hub Coordinator & Executive Assistant

Lora is the organization and structure behind Next-Level’s success.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology along with over 10 years of experience as an executive assistant with other management office experience.

Diana Tulics

Virtual Event & Social Media Leader

Diana’s infectious laugh and leading-edge creativity has made her the perfect fit as Next-Level’s virtual events coordinator and social media leader. She enjoys her role at Next-Level combining her love for people with her interest in the automotive realm.

Marc Wollard

Leadership Development Specialist & Consultant

Marc joined the Next Level Automotive Group team in 2020 as a content creator and has expanded into one-on-one coaching and virtual class facilitation.

He studied agriculture in college and went on to accept an apprenticeship at a horse ranch in Arizona where he worked with the owner and veterinarian to maintain and grow the herd of pure-bred Arabian horses.

Tom Kane

Consultant

Tom’s wealth of knowledge and expertise has brought a lot of value to Next-Level. He is very passionate about being the best at whatever he does, whether it’s family, relationships, work or coaching. He loves teaching, developing and growing talented people beyond their expectations and dreams. 

Katy Wolda

Consultant

Katy Wolda is a seasoned educator and trainer with expertise and experience in a wide range of fields including, but not limited to, talent development, adult learning, business development and teaching special education. Apart from being a strategic and operational planner and change agent, Katy is also a proven leader with excellent communication techniques. 

Jim Simpson

Team-building Strategist

Jim has 47 years in the retail automobile business. Starting out as a part-time file clerk, he rose through the ranks to the position of Vice President and General Manager of two of the largest & best Chrysler dealerships. During this time he became an expert in administering and using the DiSC family of behavioral assessments. Jim employs these tools when coaching individuals and teams to work effectively together so they achieve extraordinary results.

OUR EXPERTS

IN ACTION

HELP ME GROW

MY AUTO BUSINESS

Dean Estep

Dean Estep (his friends call him Deano) entered his professional speaking and people development career in 1986 after he attended a very dull Chrysler Service Management seminar where the instructor read out of a book to the class.  He struck up a conversation with the instructor only to find out that the man hated his job and felt he was making no difference.  This inspired Dean to seek an opportunity to fulfill his desire to drive change and help people.  He called Chrysler to share his desire and was told he needed a bachelor’s degree to work for them. However, Dean only had an Associate’s Degree of Science in Automotive technology. He told the executive that he didn’t recognize the word “can’t” as Zig Ziglar told him to cut the word “can’t and “quit” out of his dictionary, which he did. Dean called the head of training nearly every week to follow up, only to be told it was impossible. In June of 1986 he made yet another call, only to find out that Chrysler was sub-contracting their Fixed Operations Training to a firm in Detroit, and that the Chrysler executive had hand carried his resume to the owner of the outside consulting/training firm.

 In July 1986, Dean did what couldn’t be done and facilitated his first Service Management seminar for Chrysler Corp. That relationship would continue 14 years and included Service Management and Service Advisor training nationally, National Field Coach for “America’s Team”, New Dealer Conferences, Dealer Sons and Daughters Conferences, Customer One and Advanced Customer One. 

In 2006 Dean was recruited by AutoNation as Senior Director of Fixed Operations Training and Development and drove that division until 2012. In 2013, Dean joined two industry leaders and formed Next Level Automotive Group Inc. 

In 2016, Dean felt the need to grow personally as a leader, so he joined “The John Maxwell Team” initially as a team member, then mentor and today is an Executive Director on the John Maxwell Team.  John Maxwell is the #1 leadership expert in the world according to INC Magazine and has authored over 90 books on the subject. Dean shares that this has transformed his thinking, methodology and training.

This, along with Certification in Wiley DISC and Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Disc Model, places Dean as the #1 leadership expert in the dealership Fixed Operations space. What started as a passion for personal growth has turned into a tool to impact many others in their personal and professional growth. 

Dean has trained thousands of people and today, Next Level has impacted over 750 dealerships and is currently impacting over 325 dealerships in the United States and Canada. 

As Dean puts it, “We’re not done yet. I wake up every morning wanting to help others see ‘more, more and more before.’ I am more passionate about Next Level’s mission and my mission now, more than ever before in my professional career.” 

Heather Scovill

Heather is the brains and creativity behind Next-Level’s innovative learning methods. She has a strong background in instructional design & scientific research. Heather has a passion for learning new things and teaching others what she’s learned in a fun and interesting way. Additionally, she is a customer service expert with 10 years of experience in the industry. Heather has the unique ability to anticipate the client’s needs before they even know what they need! When she discovered Next-Level and heard of their people-focused approach to customer service and sales training, she jumped at the opportunity to combine her love for making learning fun and serving others.  In 2016, Heather cofounded the E-Learning branch of Next-Level Automotive Group. She continues to drive the research, development, and design of Next-Level’s learning experience. Her goal is to help people enjoy learning and get better at what they do.

Heather is based in Seattle, Washington. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the beautiful mountains and beaches of the Pacific Northwest as well as investing time in her community.

Experience

  • Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University
  • Articulate Storyline E-Learning Certification
  • Customer Service expert with 10 years in the industry
  • Cofounded the E-Learning branch of Next-Level
  • 6 years of graphic design experience
  • Converted Next-Level’s live training to virtual training during the pandemic. This program has exceeded all expectations and will be continued post-pandemic.

Lora Creps

Lora is the organization and structure behind Next-Level’s success.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology along with over 10 years of experience as an executive assistant with other management office experience.  She has a passion for organization and helping others succeed.  At Next Level, Lora enjoys coordinating and assisting clients with their training on Next-Level’s e-learning platform, the Learning Hub.  She understands that every person learns differently, and tailors her approach to each individual’s needs.  Her goal is to help others succeed with their training and become more successful than ever before.

Lora is a native of Ohio, but has lived in Greenville, South Carolina for 34 years.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, grandchildren, baking, hiking and serving in her church ministering to single moms. 

Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology
  • Over 10 years experience as an executive assistant with other management office experience
  • Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
  • A love for organization
  • Helping others succeed
  • Problem solving

Diana Tulics

Diana’s infectious laugh and leading-edge creativity has made her the perfect fit as Next-Level’s virtual events coordinator and social media leader. 

At Next-Level, she enjoys combining her love for people with her interest in the automotive industry. Diana has been surrounded by the automotive world her entire life. Her father has a strong passion for working with cars, and he owned his own auto shop in Romania. She was frequently helping her dad in his shop, taking cars apart, and putting them back together again. The intricacy of the different processes to get a car running again fascinated Diana, and that fascination has stayed with her into her adult life.

Diana loves problem solving any obstacles that arise and transforming them into resolutions. Her passion for travel, video documenting, and connecting with people has extended into her role at Next-Level. Her extensive background in customer service experience, social media management, and video editing has been the perfect combination to tailor Diana into Next-Level’s virtual event and social media manager.

Although Diana is a mountain girl at heart, she currently lives in Florida. When she’s not working, Diana enjoys being outdoors and exploring nature as much as possible. She loves walking on trails and picking fresh figs in Florida or forest berries if she’s in the mountains. She also enjoys biking along the beach, swimming in the ocean, and traveling to hike as many mountains as possible around the world. 

Experience

 
  • Customer Success Manager
  • 6 years of customer service experience 
  • Social media management experience
  • Professional video editing 
  • 2 years of experience working in Chinese herbal apothecary, making custom medicinal prescriptions for patients 

Marc Wollard 

Marc joined the Next Level Automotive Group team in 2020 as a content creator and has expanded into one-on-one coaching and virtual class facilitation.

He studied agriculture in college and went on to accept an apprenticeship at a horse ranch in Arizona where he worked with the owner and veterinarian to maintain and grow the herd of pure-bred Arabian horses.  

Marc decided to go back to college to study business and returned to Michigan to pursue that path. While adding to his business knowledge, he began working in a car dealership in the parts department.  Previously, in high school he had taken a summer job working as a porter in another dealership, so he was already familiar with the basic workings of the different departments.

The initial parts delivery position progressed into parts counter sales and then transitioned into a service advisor role, followed by Quality control position, dispatcher, assistant service manager and eventually Service Manager at a large metro Detroit dealership.  Marc and his service team took a dealership with very poor CSI and marginal profitability and made it the number one CSI dealership that was also growing revenue at over 10% YOY every year.

That team had numerous innovations in the 1990’s to make the shop productive and customer focused.  Some of those early innovations were: Lateral support super-groups, Electronic Repair Order dispatching, dedicated oil change staff, UCD recon and accessories install department separate from the service shop, paintless dent repair and glass chip repair all on-site.  They were also one of the first dealerships to implement an off-site follow-up and customer satisfaction tracking system that utilized computer tracking technology.

All of these successes eventually led to a position working for Chrysler Corporation training other dealers and field staff in the concepts of customer service through their Five Star and Dealer Development programs.

After that initiative ended, Marc moved back into retail for a while as the Service and Parts Director at a growing store until he was recruited by a company that was implementing Express Service nationwide. He participated in numerous dealership launches with Chrysler and was eventually asked to take over managing the national project for Nissan. The huge success and longevity of that project was due in large part to the processes and the team dynamic that was developed.

During the Nissan initiative, Marc traveled Nationwide to provide his team and clients with the needed support both proactively and as requested.  

After completing the Nissan project, Marc decided to move away from full time travel in order to spend more time at home with family.  He currently is writing content for Next Level Automotive Group based on their concepts and illustrated with his experiences helping implement in over 2,300 dealerships across multiple manufacturer brands.

In his free time, Marc enjoys home improvement projects, making and refurbishing furniture, photography and spending time with his family. 

Tom Kane

Tom’s wealth of knowledge and expertise has brought a lot of value to Next-Level. He is very passionate about being the best at whatever he does, whether it’s family, relationships, work or coaching. He loves teaching, developing and growing talented people beyond their expectations and dreams. Tom graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Physical Education, but his expertise comes from a depth of experience that he’s gained over the years. During his career, Tom has been Director of Fixed Operations, General Manager and National Director of Productivity for Autonation, as well as the Parts & Service Director for Universal Nissan, Hyundai & Genesis.  

His favorite quote is from Zig Zigler:

“If I can only get enough people what they want in life, I will get everything I want out of life.”

He has been married 44 years to his best friend, has three married children and four precious grandchildren.

When Tom isn’t working or spending time with family, he enjoys playing golf, coaching basketball, playing the guitar daily, working on his model train layouts and working in his Man Cave Workshop.

Katy Wolda

Katy Wolda is a seasoned educator and trainer with expertise and experience in a wide range of fields including, but not limited to, talent development, adult learning, business development and teaching special education. Apart from being a strategic and operational planner and change agent, Katy is also a proven leader with excellent communication techniques. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in Human Development with a minor in Special Education from the University of Nebraska.  Besides being a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) and a Certified DISC Assessment, she has also undertaken many post-secondary education courses in training, sales, and communication.

Katy has over 29 years of industry experience where she has served in different roles in the education and automotive industries. She worked as a special education teacher for 7 years before venturing into the automotive industry, where for 22 years she has served in different managerial, leadership and training positions in various companies. A bulk of her work in the automotive industry was at AutoNation where she held different positions in management and training with the most recent one being serving as the director of talent development.  Currently, she is developing her own consulting business, Where is Wolda, where she will offer training delivery & facilitation, coaching, mentoring and change management aimed at helping people to maximize their performance. Katy will be joining Next-Level as a consultant.

Katy takes pride in her ability to embrace and drive change and the flexibility to quickly understand the needs and goals of a business.  She is passionate about helping others, hence she is ever poised to leverage her expertise to help people achieve their goals. Her hobbies include competitive sports, anything outdoors and traveling.

Jim Simpson

Jim has 47 years in the retail automobile business. Starting out as a part-time file clerk, he rose through the ranks to the position of Vice President and General Manager of two of the largest & best Chrysler dealerships. During this time he became an expert in administering and using the DiSC family of behavioral assessments. Jim employs these tools when coaching individuals and teams to work effectively together so they achieve extraordinary results. Since 1995, Jim has been involved with over 50 organizations as a leadership and business coach. He has spent extensive time with the very best management and leadership gurus, including John Maxwell. He has worked with Dean Estep for many years, both as a client and as a member of the NextLevel team

Jim is based in Detroit Michigan and is President and founder of J Simpson and Associates, LLC. In addition to his work with Next-Level, he coaches small and medium size companies, manages a homebased nutrition company, continues his DISC work and is a founding partner in a protective coatings company.

Jim spends his free time on the water as well as being active in boating and social organizations

Experience

  • 47 Years in the retail automobile business 
  • Managed the turnaround of a Recreational Vehicle dealership 
  • Led a smalltown dealership to number 2 in the nation in sales 
  • A member of Vistage International, a high level think tank and management training organization and was a chair monitoring groups of his own for 4 years 
  • Has a reputation as a nononsense problem solver 
  • Gets his most satisfaction in helping startup companies and helping business owners learn how to lead successfully and create efficient business systems
  • Is an expert in creating highperformance compensation plans