DALLAS, Texas – EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, together with Northwood University, today announced the judging panel in the 2016 F&I Innovator of the Year competition. Representing all automotive brands spanning across the country, the 8-member blue-ribbon judging panel brings extensive experience and expertise in understanding consumer drivers in the F&I space to the competition. For more information on the competition, visit http://bit.ly/Inn0v8te

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 11. The winning team and product will be announced on Thursday, December 8 at Northwood University.

2016 Competition Judges

Judge Title Auto Group/Company
Alvin Heggs Dealer Principal Superstition Springs Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram
Kurt Hornung Vice President of F&I Operations AutoNation, Inc.
John Kane Co-Founder Empire Dealer Services
Tiger Lester Regional Finance and Insurance Director Group 1 Automotive
Anthony Patterson Vice President of Operations Patterson Auto Group
Claudia Sands Director of Financial Services Penske Automotive Group
Fernando Somoza Executive Manager Central Houston Cadillac, Central Houston Nissan, & Baytown Nissan
John Stephens Senior Vice President Dealer Services, EFG Companies

“The judges selected for this panel have developed reputations as change agents within the automotive industry on both regional and national levels,” said John Pappanastos, President and CEO, EFG Companies. “Their ability to raise the bar in innovation, backed by their years of experience, gives them the unique ability to determine what F&I product has the most potential to benefit consumers, 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.

Visit http://bit.ly/Inn0v8te to learn more about the F&I Innovator of the Year Contest, watch this year’s Innovator video submissions, and follow @EFG_NWInnovator on Twitter for the latest competition news.