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Meet The Team

Adam Marburger, President and CEO

Adam Marburger, the President and CEO of Ascent Dealer Services, has over two decades of retail experience to the Automotive Industry. The majority of this time was spent in the F&I office as a director of a high-volume Nissan store near St. Louis, MO. In May of 2017, Adam shattered his dealer group performance record by delivering 98 retail transactions at $2861 PVR, resulting in $280,378 in gross profit. 

Adam’s incredible track record landed him in the 2018 Automotive News class of 40 under 40 with some of the nation’s top retail performers. His passion for coaching resulted in him retiring from retail and founding Ascent Dealer Services to help car/rv dealers level up in F&I all over the country. 

Adam is on a bold mission to create wealth for his dealer partners by sharing his blueprint. He believes that it takes a combination of best-in class F&I products, the proper dealer participation program, and professional coaching and mentoring to become wildly successful in your F&I department.

When Adam is not working you can find him spending time with his three beautiful daughters, and on the mat, as an avid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and competitor. 

Paul Brown,  Vice President

Paul Brown, the Vice President of Ascent Dealer Services, is an Air Force veteran, who began his career as a Chicago police officer, working in narcotics and tactical response units. After the police force, Paul joined the automotive industry as a salesperson at one of the largest auto dealers in the Chicago area.

Over the course of two decades, Paul has dedicated his career to changing the way dealerships conduct F&I. He served as Finance Director at one of the largest dealer groups in the St Louis area where he helped grow their F&I PVR by over $400.

He was then the General Manager for two dealer groups in St. Louis, with a focus in F&I. In 5 years, he grew their vehicle sales by 40% and with his newfound F&I techniques, raised finance PVR by nearly $800.

Adam and Paul have rapidly become one of the most sought-after agencies in the automotive space. They employ a unique and highly effective approach to helping dealers build long term wealth through intense sales and F&I coaching.

Sylvia Lyons, bio to come.

Mike Crea, Account Executive. With combined experience in retail (franchise) and managing the Greater Chicago Area for a floor plan lender (primarily for independent/non-franchise dealers), it has given me a unique look and appreciation of that side of the auto industry. Coming from a large franchise/dealer group, I couldn’t help but think running an independent dealer would be a walk in the park. I was proven wrong. They face many of the same issues a franchise dealer deals with, and often with a much smaller staff. When working with my dealers and their F&I departments, my primary goal is to keep them informed of their liabilities/exposure while implementing ways to increase profits long and short term in an ethical manner. As someone with Auction Access, I spend a lot of time in “The Lanes”. So, in addition to just guidance, I can go hand pick a client’s inventory as well.

Andrea Hawkins, Account Executive, has experience in sales and retail in the automotive industry. One of her first jobs was working in one of the largest Ford stores in North Carolina. She has since then moved on to helping dealers maximize their profit in the F&I and prides herself on serving the automotive industry. Her biggest priority is serving her accounts and providing new opportunities for the dealer. When she is not working you can find her training in the gym and competing as a professional bodybuilder.

Matt Gruenke, Account Executive, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin -Whitewater. He majored in Public & Non-Verbal Communication, Sales Psychology, with a Minor in Business Marketing. He played College Football for all 4 years for the Warhawks. After college Matt moved to Los Angeles and then traveled/camped for a year in areas such as Yosemite CA, Canyonlands UT, Big Sur CA, and Glenwood Springs CO.

Matt spent 8 years in the Mortgage and Real Estate Industry. The knowledge and experience he learned from Mortgage Origination and his time in Real Estate, made a nice easy transition into the Automotive Industry.

Matt has over a decade of experience in the Automotive and Powersports Industry. He specializes in Sales Training, Account Management, and New Account Acquisition. Matt has been with SMART Payment Plan since 2010.

When Matt is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Staci, and two kids Aspen 7 and Axel 4. In the Summertime, Matt and his family enjoy taking their RV for a getaway camping trip. During the winter, Matt snowmobiles in Northern WI.

“I have had some amazing mentors along the way, now it is my turn to pay it forward. Working on Self-Improvement and trying to grow a little bit each day has been a vital key to success! Live in the Moment and always be grateful!” – Matt Gruenke

Vitaly Kheifets, Account Executive, began his career in the automotive industry almost two decades ago at a high-volume Honda dealership. After moving into the luxury market at an Infiniti dealer, he was promoted to Finance Manager. During his F&I career he had the opportunity to be trained by several large and well-known training agencies. This led him to the realization that a cookie cutter approach does not make real impact on production. Through this experience, he learned that the key to real results is tailoring the dealer’s practices to the customer base and staff. One of Vitaly’s most notable achievements in his career was raising PVRs from $600-$1100 per copy.
Through his custom-tailored approach, he rose his stores to their record breaking profitably.
When not at work Vitaly is spending time with his amazing wife of 11 years and his two incredible children. Contact Vitaly with any finance and automotive questions. He would love to put together a finance plan to help maximize your profits while keeping your clients happy.

Cindy Zieba, Account Executive, is a passionate professional whose specialty is growth in profit centers. With nearly a decade of experience helping Automotive Dealers maximize F&I profits, Cindy is a student of the trade with continued study in building curriculums and training, brings enthusiasm and knowledge to the utilization of new technologies in process management. Cindy is bilingual, enjoys traveling, parenting her two dogs Revis and Lincoln and loves rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Jimmy Marshall, Account Executive, spent nearly a lifetime in and around franchised auto dealers, as both a little kid running around the family Ford dealership and his grandpa’s Lincoln/Mercury location, to his nearly 20 professional years at Marshall Ford. In that time, he watched the industry evolve, and had to learn to evolve with it.

Jimmy learned the importance of a client focused sales strategy and when he took a more hands on managerial role in 2017, Marshall Ford quickly saw increased revenues in sales, service, and finance, and became a perennial leader in CSI benchmarks through Ford.

When the family decided to accept an offer to sell in May of 2021, Jimmy thought he would find a new career path – but after months of internal discussion, he knew that the retail business was truly in his blood. Having known the team at Ascent for years, there was no better step to take than to help other dealers maximize any and all opportunities building long term wealth for their families and themselves.