GM’s "Geek squad" sponsors April Luncheon and presents Connected Customer Specialists

By Paul Borden - April 25th , 2013

SAMA’s April 25 luncheon definitely had the feel of a visit to a nightclub, which was appropriate since the meeting was held at a South Beach venue oozing all sorts of chic ambiance with its subdued lighting even at high noon.

GM was the sponsor and brought a contingent that included Kim Carpenter, who manages the East Coast Region PR for GM, and Brad Wolf and Lynnett Diaz, Connected Customer specialists for GM. Brad is in the Atlanta area, Lynnett in South Florida.

Carpenter announced changes in the PR team for our area. Lesley Hettinger is replacing Araba Dowdell and will continue to be our primary contact point for GM. She will continue to be based in Atlanta.

And Stephanie Camargo of the Axis Agency is back working with GM.

The program was a bit of a switch from our usual format.

Instead of previewing a new model car, Brad Wolf’s presentation covered what GM is doing to educate new car buyers how to handle all the new technology available in vehicles today.

Thus, the Connected Customer Specialists. Or, as Wolf called them, GM’s “Geek squad.”

“What we’re going is building up relationships,” Wolf said.

It’s kind of like the same concept you find in local Apple stores with their “genius bar.” The idea is for GM to build the same kind of loyalty and repeat business one finds at Apple stores, which can be jam packed with customers at just about any time, even noon on a Wednesday!

After lunch, Wolf gave a demonstration of his, well, demonstration showing members technological features and how they work on a new Chevy Spark.

Vice President Bill Adam conducted the business session in the absence of President Jaime Florez, who had an urgent deadline to meet.

Paul Borden gave an update on the status of Topless in Miami, our annual convertible competition scheduled for June 6 at the Key Biscayne Ritz-Carlton. To date, we have a field of 14 cars from 11 different manufacturers for the third annual event.

We have at least one sponsor for the event with Haartz Corp., the No. 1 manufacturer of convertible tops, underwriting the cost of the box lunch. Haartz will have representatives and exhibits there, and Paul urged members to interview them during that day for possible story leads.

Bill Adam reiterated that the sixth annual Rides-N-Smiles will be the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving or Nov. 23. Somehow, Bill continues to make this bigger and bigger every year, and this year is no exception.

In addition to vehicles members will drive to give rides to the kids and Wounded Warriors, Cadillac will have a factory CTS-V race car with driver Andy Pilgrim behind the wheel for fast laps in the two-seater!

“This is very, very exciting and we are very appreciative to Cadillac for doing this,” Bill said. “It’s going to add immeasurably to our day.”

Treasurer Marcello Serrato reported that SAMA membership now has grown to 128 strong.

And finally, Founder and former President Ron Beasley brought a special guest, Carlos Garcia, to speak on what is going on with toll roads in Miami-Dade County. Carlos represents a grassroots group, Roll Back Tolls, which is fighting the proposed doubling of the tolls by the Miami-Dade Express Authority.

He asked for support of his fight via his group’s online petition at the website,

We want to thank GM again for sponsoring the monthly luncheon and look forward to continue working with the company on future luncheons and other events.

Be sure to check your email for notifications for the May luncheon.




Photos & Videos by Pepe Delfino - Click on photos to enlarge