EFG Companies, Northwood University Announce F&I Innovator of the Year Competition Judges

Judges Bring 100+ Years of Experience to Inaugural F&I Competition


The panel of eight judges for the EFG Companies Innovator of the Year Award bring over 100 years of experience in automotive F&I.

DALLAS--()--EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, together with Northwood University, today announced the judging panel in the first annual F&I Innovator of the Year Award competition. Combined, the 8-member panel brings over 100 years of F&I experience at automotive dealerships across the country and encompasses all of the major automotive brands.

The judges will select a winning F&I product idea from one of six teams currently competing in the F&I Innovator of the Year competition, which will conclude Friday, November 13. The winning team and product will be announced on Thursday, December 10.

2015 Inaugural Competition Judges

Judge     Title     Auto Group/Company
Lisa Copeland   Manager Partner/General Manager   FIAT of Austin, a Nyle Maxwell Family Dealership
Alvin Heggs   Dealer Principal   Superstition Springs Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram
Kurt Hornung   Vice President of F&I Operations   AutoNation, Inc.
Tiger Lester   Regional Finance and Insurance Director   Group 1 Automotive
Patricia Lindseth   Western Region Financial Services Manager   Penske Automotive Group
Anthony Patterson   Vice President of Operations   Patterson Auto Group
Fernando Somoza   Executive Manager   Central Houston Cadillac, Central Houston Nissan, & Baytown Nissan
John Stephens   Senior Vice President   Dealer Services, EFG Companies

“Each judge selected for this panel has a reputation associated with innovation and raising the bar within the automotive industry,” said John Pappanastos, President and CEO, EFG Companies. “Collectively, their vision, years of experience, and expertise give them the unique ability to determine what F&I product has the most potential to benefit consumers, individual dealerships, and the industry as a whole.”

About the competition

The F&I Innovator of the Year competition is designed to foster breakthrough ideas in the F&I space. It includes six competing teams from Northwood University that have been tasked with developing a business case for a new F&I product. The students must research, rationalize and demonstrate market viability of their new product, and its potential to facilitate F&I product sales in franchise dealerships.

At the conclusion of the competition, EFG Companies will award the winning team $25,000. The company will also develop the winning F&I product for the retail automotive marketplace, and return a percentage of the product’s revenues to Northwood University.

Bookmark the F&I Innovator of the Year YouTube Channel to see the teams’ weekly videos: http://bit.ly/1E5zix0

Follow @EFG_NWInnovator on Twitter for the latest competition news.

About EFG Companies

EFG Companies combines almost 40 years of experience serving as an industry innovator of consumer and vehicle protection programs with the company’s commitment to raising the industry bar in providing superior client engagement. With their field and administrative teams AFIP and ASE certified, EFG’s professionals provide world-class product development and administration, go-to-market strategies, training and auditing support across a multitude of channels. www.efgcompanies.com

About Northwood University

Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at its full-service, residential campus located in mid-Michigan. Adult Degree Programs are available in six states with many course delivery options including online. The DeVos Graduate School offers accelerated, evening and weekend programming in Michigan and Texas. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise provides system-wide expertise in family enterprise, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and new business development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China (Changchun and Wuxi), Malaysia and Sri Lanka.


EFG Companies
Marcia Barnett, 214-868-8861



EFG Companies
Marcia Barnett, 214-868-8861