March 21, 2013
CSU Trustee talks about success
On Friday, March 8, inside the Student Center, Bernie Moreno, newly appointed board of trustee member at Cleveland State and President of the Collection Auto Group, spoke to an audience of students and businesses men and women about his own experiences and how someone can be successful in the business world.
Governor John R. Kasich appointed Moreno to the Cleveland State Board of Trustees from June 2011 to May 2018. Prior to being appointed to the University’s Governing Board, Moreno was on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland State University Foundation, Inc.
Moreno opened the lecture with a history lesson about his past and his life-changing experiences that put him on a course to the auto business. Moreno was born in Bogotá, Columbia and moved to the U.S. at age five.
When Moreno was 14 he wrote a letter to the hiring chairman of General Motors about wanting to become chairman of the board of GM when he grows up. Weeks later, the chairman wrote Moreno back and answered his questions in a long letter.
Moreno’s passion for cars eventually drove him to the University of Michigan where he studied cars and business in the heart of Detroit.
After college, Moreno worked for a major Saturn and Mercedes Benz dealership for twelve years, which is now ranked number six in the nation. He spoke about how his work led him on a pathway to Cleveland, Ohio.
“You have these intersections in life and you have to make a good decision, sometimes not knowing where it will take you,” said Moreno.
On May 12, 2005, Moreno bought a struggling Mercedes-Benz dealership in Cleveland and turned it to the largest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Central U.S. Moreno said the previous owner was selling 25 cars every fourmonths and his company turned it to 60 cars every three weeks. Moreno mentioned that his company does not have his name on it.
“We are not a car company, we are a customer service organization,” he said.
While answering questions from audience members, Moreno spoke about the future for automobiles. He said the robotic car has been tested and works, but there are no highway structures to support it and is still many decades from becoming a reality.
He also mentioned hydrogen fuel cell technology that powers cars on water and hydrogen and could be available within in the next ten years.
“Technology is the future and cars are getting smarter,” said Moreno.
Moreno said the key to a successful career is making consistent decisions and to lead by example. He said job applicants who have positive personalities and a college degree have a better chance of being hired than those who do not.
“If your goal is to make money you won’t succeed, you have to have passion,” said Moeno June Taylor, Cleveland State board member and the board’s only woman and minority, was in charge of organizing the event. She said that it is the responsibility of every Cleveland State student to meet and network with someone like Bernie Moreno. She had a specific message to the students to help them succeed in the real world.
“Put in time to access events where you can learn about success from the stories of someone who has experienced it,” Taylor said.
Moreno said he is proud to be a trustee and a board member at Cleveland State and feels that the city of Cleveland is growing with the future of education. He said that companies will come to Cleveland if there is a growing educational work force and stressed the importance of knowledge and engaged learning.
“If it means pain and misery, get the degree,” said Moreno.
Moreno has added 24 luxury car brands since his 2005 Mercedes-Benz purchase and is planning on opening a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Kentucky next year.