DALLAS — This week, Northwood University and EFG Companies announced a national partnership to host thought leadership forums, develop specialized continuing education programs, conduct joint industry research, and cross-publish content.

Under this new agreement, Northwood University has granted EFG Companies a seat on its National Automotive Marketing Advisory Board to represent the Finance & Insurance sector of the automotive industry.

“During this time of increased compliance oversight and economic recovery, it is imperative that we provide the auto retail industry with individuals equipped with leadership capabilities, and who can analyze current market trends to evolve their business for future success,” said Keith Pretty, president and CEO of Northwood University. “Our partnership with EFG Companies adds to Northwood University’s ability to prepare our students for a career in this critical U.S. industry.”

This partnership will allow both organizations to leverage the experience and knowledge of Northwood University’s dealer alumni, and EFG’s national dealer network for the benefit of the university’s student base. As the industry continues to rapidly evolve, this essential think tank will help drive innovation and cultivate adept leaders to challenge the retail auto industry to new levels of growth and profitability, officials said.

“Since 2008, the industry has gone through rapid, and, at times, painful change,” said John Pappanastos, president and CEO of EFG Companies. “The Great Recession forced dealers to significantly improve their operations, adopt new technologies and become much more analytical. There is no question that dealers today face an entirely different level of complexity than previous generations.

“Our partnership with Northwood will help our future industry leaders tackle growing issues like the evolving sales processes, the optimal management of digital assets, the increasing role of consumer protection products in the dealership profit model, and heightened regulation,” he added.

Both the EFG leadership team and the Northwood University faculty will provide input and guidance to ensure that Northwood students experience the continued benefit of retail automotive curriculum. In addition, EFG will provide internship and employment opportunities within its franchise dealer base as students seek to apply their classroom experience to the real world.