In 1983, concerned about the growing problems faced by African-American dealers, GM established a Black Dealer Advisory Council (BDAC) which included both dealers and representatives of its various components. Greg Baranco, (a Pontiac dealer in Atlanta, GA) was selected president while Greg Williams (a Buick dealer in Omaha, NE) was voted in as Vice President. Other dealers who played key roles were Jim Bradley, Al Johnson, Bob Nelson, Jr. and Bob Ross. In 1988, the decision was made to be all inclusive and a General Motors council was re-organized as the Minority Dealer Advisory Council. Tony March, a Buick dealer in Hartford, CT was elected as president and he held that position for a total of 13 years.
The dealers, however, eventually recognized the importance of having their own, independent organization. In August of 1987, a number of African-American GM dealers (Greg Baranco, Jim Bradley, Chuck Harrell, Al Johnson, Tony March, Bill Scott, Greg Williams among others) came to Chicago, IL to establish its own association; the Black GM Dealer Association (BGMDA). The Association was incorporated in September 1987. Greg Baranco was selected as they president and the organization focused primarily on African-American dealer issues.
Again, however, like the decision made within the MDAC in 1988, the dealers recognized the importance of being representative of all ethnic minority dealers and the BGMDA was so restructured and re-titled the General Motors Minority Dealers Association (GMMDA). Tony March was elected its first president of the GMMDA. As part of the reorganizations process, the GMMDA was re-incorporated in the State of Michigan, effective March 20, 1991. The "incorporators" who took a lead role in making this happen were Richard Davis (a GM dealer in Battle Creek, MI), Chuck Harrell (a GM dealer in Flat Rock, MI) and John H. Powell (a GM dealer in Jackson, MI).
The GMMDA has maintained strong leadership throughout the years. The GMMDA presidents have been known as some of the most successful and profitable dealer operators in the entire GM dealer network. The GMMDA is built on the solid foundation of its past and current leadership through their tenacity, resilience and staunch advocacy efforts to overcome the challenges of the auto industry by focusing on creating a viable and profitable minority dealer body. The following individuals have held the position of GMMDA President:
Gregory Baranco - President (1987 – 1990)
Anthony March - President (1990 – 1992)
Charles Harrell - President (1992 – 1994)
Edwin D. Biagas, Sr. - President (1994 – 1996) *Deceased
Richard Davis - President (1996 – 1998)
Fred Poe - President (1998 – 2000)
William Perkins - President (2000 – 2002)
Gregory Jackson - President (2002 – 2005)
Desmond Roberts - President (2005 – 2007)
Henry Ware - President (2007 – 2010)
Andrew Ferguson - President (2010-2013)
As the administrative responsibilities of GMMDA grew, it was recognized there was a need for a full time Executive Director who could not only coordinate all GMMDA functions, but also interact with GM's Minority Dealer Operations department and other industry entities. The following individuals have held that position:
Virgil Anderson (1988 - 1990)
Willie Carter (1991 - 1995)
Teresa McKissick (1996 - 1997)
Marjorie Staten (1998 - present)
Today, the GMMDA is known as the "premier minority dealer association in the industry" and has gained national recognition as a leading dealer advocacy organization. The GMMDA primary mission remains the same today as it was stated in 1988: "To promote, encourage and protect the viability of all existing General Motors minority dealers and to encourage through cooperative effort with General Motors Corporation, the installation of new minority dealers in viable opportunities."
For additional information on the GMMDA, the history of the pioneering African-American men and women who pursued a career as franchised new car dealers or the history of other minority dealer associations, log on to www.aacardealers.com