What I Wish I Had Known In My Early Career

Up Close Interview with David Rice, Senior Vice President of Product & Engineering

David Rice is a Senior Vice President of Product & Engineering at Cox Automotive and works in Austin, TX. We chatted with David about his story, his passion for cultivating early-career talent, and his advice to software developers.

Q: Hi David! Tell us about your Cox career story, and tell us what you do.

A: I was part of vAuto when it was acquired by Autotrader in 2010; at the time, I was a senior software engineer. After joining Cox, I became a product engineering leader and at some point or another, I’ve have worked on almost every retail software product.

Before vAuto, I worked for a start-up called Digital Motorworks. I got really good at fixing problems, and that was where I first got to see the effect of systems thinking: seeing how complex systems get put together. And you can put that same thinking into understanding how an organization should flow and interconnect, and how to fix its problems. For the past 10 years, I’ve been applying that same thought process: ‘how do I get the system working, and what are its breakages?’

Q: It sounds like you’ve had the opportunity to impact many projects and witness a lot of change. What have you learned from those experiences that you would share with early-career professionals?

A: All the change has led me to understand is that it’s okay not to perfectly understand everything. You know, coming from a software engineering background, I always want stuff to be binary/black and white. And the reality is, sometimes the complexity is just too high. You’re not always going to understand, and you only sometimes have the time to break things down into the smallest parts to fully understand. Accept that some level of inability to understand is okay and learn when to make decisions with incomplete knowledge.

Q: You’ve given presentations to students at the University of Texas about the things you wish you had known at the start of your career. Tell us about the backstory of those presentations.

A: When I was in college, a friend’s dad gave me a call while I was working in a non-computer science-related job. He gave me a summer job in Computer Science (CS) and fundamentally, what he said to me was: ‘I want you to come in because I think you’re going to cause trouble with the team. You don’t know what you can’t do, so you’re going to go down paths that the team has dismissed. They are moving too slow and taking too long.’ So, I got to experience that as a young professional, and it challenged me because I wanted to go in and prove myself.

I’ve seen that pattern with people who are fresh out of school. They bring new learnings and they come from places of new perspectives. At vAuto, I wanted to bring in students because I thought they provided a sense of exuberance and energy. Knowing that, I decided to go to the University of Texas to talk to some of these students and see if we could bring them on board.

Q: What was the main thing you wanted students to take away from your presentation?

A: I was told that I’d be doing an “info-session,” where I would essentially come in and talk to the students about what my company does. And I thought, ‘I don’t want to do that – that’s so boring!’ So instead, I wanted to take a perspective of “what I wish I knew.”

When you start in tech, the thing you’re most interested in is writing code and creating cool things. But the reality is, there are a whole bunch of facets of the field that you don’t figure out until later. You don’t necessarily know the right questions to ask to get you to the answers. So that’s what I wanted to talk to them about. We got great feedback from the students and my team. I’ve done the presentation about four times now. And I’ve been able to push for a lot of early-career hires at Cox. Want to know David’s top questions to ask? Check out our helpful guide.

Q: What other advice would you give to early-career developers?

A: The key is a diversity of skills. Make sure you’ve looked at different data constructs, programs, and programming languages. Having diversity of skills means that you can learn. You need to be able to demonstrate that. If you show me that you can learn skills and talk intelligently about them, that’s what I look for in hires.

One of my favorite interview questions is “how do you use software to solve problems around you that aren’t work-related?” A common behavior I’ve seen with great software developers is that they do stuff with the software even outside of their jobs. They solve real problems with it. For example, one of my early-career hires, Stacy, was active in collecting anime merchandise and she wrote a program to store her entire collection in a database. Those kinds of behaviors, that kind of passion…you can’t teach that, so I hone in on those kinds of questions in the interview process.

Q: If you could go back in time to the early stages of your career, what would you tell yourself?

A: Three things. First, I would tell myself not to get so stuck on closing doors to certain things. When I was in my early career, I was determined that I wouldn’t be in management. There was a lot of binary thought in that way. So, I would tell myself to get over myself a bit, and that it’s okay to look at other options.

Secondly, I’d ask myself: whom do I want to work with? These are people that you’re going to spend a lot of time with. Are these people that you can learn with and hang out with? Make sure they are.  You spend more waking time at work than with your family.

Special thanks to David for sharing his story and insights. To learn more about vAuto, visit the company’s website. To learn more about a technology career at Cox, visit our technology page.

Career Advice from Kelley Joyner, Marketing Director at Cox Automotive

Kelley Joyner’s first role model is her mother. But there are another two dozen or so women she draws inspiration from: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

For Joyner, a former competitive soccer player who is now Director of Marketing Traffic Acquisition at Cox Automotive, the team members embody teamwork, support and goal setting in a society where their accomplishments remain undervalued.

“They work well together as a team,” Joyner says. “But off the field, those women fight for personal values like integrity, equality, respect, and collaboration.”

Those are values she carries through in her work at Cox Automotive.

Joyner previously worked in performance marketing, specifically paid search for several agencies. After running the marketing initiative and the paid search campaigns for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book at a third-party firm, she knew that Cox Automotive was where she wanted to be next.

“I kept a close eye on the job opportunities at Cox Automotive, and I have been here for three years,” she says. “It was one of the best career decisions I ever made.”

As Director of Marketing Traffic Acquisition, Joyner oversees the team handling performance marketing for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book’s consumer campaigns. That means planning, tracking and adjusting campaigns to achieve car dealers’ online traffic and lead goals. She finds the immediate, measurable impact of her work immensely satisfying.

“I love that for every penny my team spends in marketing, we know exactly what we get in return for it,” she says.

Joyner says her leadership style is rooted in building relationships. She makes personal connections and gives everyone on her team a voice in how to achieve their shared goals. Kelley believes her experience, knowledge and demonstrated proficiency is what makes her stand out in the workplace.

“In order to get people to listen, you need to prove that you’re an expert in your field,” she says. “But you have to build the relationship so that they trust your opinion.”

Read more of Kelley’s advice for your career by visiting coxenterprises.com.

Constance Smith

Cox Automotive author recognizes women pioneers in automotive from the 1940s and ’50s

Constance Smith is an author, women’s rights advocate, inventor and Dealer Support Specialist at Dealertrack.

Constance Smith is an author, women’s rights advocate, inventor and Dealer Support Specialist at Dealertrack.  And she’s on a mission.  She wants to ensure that the groundbreaking contributions of female designers working in American car companies during the 1940s and 1950s is not lost to history.

In her recently-published book, Damsels in Design: Women Pioneers in the Automotive Industry, 1939-1959, Smith chronicles the overlooked or even mis-attributed legacy of 20 women. These women are responsible for safety and design advancements still used in cars today, including both the first substantial child safety seat and the safety latches and belts used to secure the seat inside the car.  Another young lady penned the first Head Up Display for General Motors. Others dictated styling inside and out.

ABOUT CONSTANCE SMITH

Smith was one of only two women studying in the graduate Industrial Design Department at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in the 1970s. After graduation, with models of an experimental safety vehicle and the first heated/cooled compartment for cars in her portfolio, General Motors recruited her to join their Advanced Concepts Studio. At the GM Tech Center, she worked on early liquid crystal displays, the technology at the heart of computer monitors, designed instrument panels and helped solve the engineering challenge of installing airbags. After leaving General Motors, she taught at the University of Bridgeport and Pratt. Mid-career, she received a NEA Award in Design Arts and conducted ergonomics research developing electronic components to assist the arthritically limited driver. Her passion for inventing remains. Smith was later placed at a Chevrolet franchise for training by GM in her quest to buy a Cadillac franchise before a downturn in the economy.

She was always struck by the lack of mentorship available to females in the automotive industry, and the institutional attitudes and discrimination that continued to hold women back.

Even while studying at Pratt Institute, she’d taken note of how women were treated differently, proposing a thesis on “Women in Industrial Design,” of which her male department did not approve.

“I wanted to give women the credit for what they’ve done – add them to our history books.” Smith explained.

Click here to read more about Constance Smith and visit jobs.coxenterprises.com to learn more about #LifeAtCox.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!

Derek Rich is a content developer for the Cox Automotive product design and usability group with an amazing superhero side gig.

By day, Derek Rich is a content developer for the Cox Automotive product design and usability group. But then he quietly slips out the door, makes a superhero transformation and emerges as Superman to visit sick kids in local children’s hospitals with the Cosplay Volunteers of Atlanta organization.

This superhero side gig keeps him busy, with visits to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta campuses, including Scottish Rite and Egleston, and an occasional road trip to Palmetto Children’s Hospital in South Carolina.

“I’m just a geek,” Derek laughed. “I’ve been into comics my whole life. Superman is my favorite character to dress as, but I do have Captain America and Iron Fist costumes, too.”

But it’s the kids’ reactions that keep the Man of Steel coming back.

Click here to read more about superhero Derek Rich and visit jobs.coxenterprises.com to learn more about #LifeAtCox.

Photo of Jackie, smiling on a blue couch with a laptop.

A mixed bag of tech challenges? Jackie is up for the task.

Throughout the month of March, we will be exploring the people and projects who drive Cox technology forward in our Behind the Code technology series. Read below to learn how Cox is creating tomorrow’s tech solutions, today.

Leapfrogging through many projects while staying true to herself
Some say that career ladders at Cox are really more like career jungle-gyms, and Senior Technology Service Manager Jackie Callender has certainly found that to be the case. The path of this information technology service management (ITSM) leader has not been linear – rather, it has spanned many focus areas and business units, shaping her into a flexible leader.

“I started working with technology straight out of college, with a degree in Japanese language and literature, mind you; I had other plans,” Jackie laughed. “And for good reason, I have stuck with technology because of the joy, the challenge, and the satisfaction that it has brought to my life.”

Jackie has the unique career experience of working in technology for three Cox divisions – Cox Enterprises, Cox Media Group, and Cox Automotive – within just five years.

She began at Cox Enterprises’ Customer Support Center, providing management to Help Desk support teams. Next, she transferred to Cox Media Group, where she worked with leadership to help define and enforce ITSM processes and serve as a liaison to the Customer Support Center. She also worked to update processes related to change management, major incident management, problem management, and release and deployment management.

In late 2018, Jackie pursued a position on the automotive side of Cox.

“A position opened at Cox Automotive that would allow me to continue growing in ITSM and focus on change management,” Jackie said. “I had to pursue that opportunity.”

Behind the code and making an impact
Jackie is approaching her six-year anniversary with Cox, and she said that she loves her job as much as she did when she first began.


Collage of Jackie photos

“Fast-forward to today and here I am, a change manager at Cox Automotive, supporting all Cox Auto business units, literally learning something new about our company, our industry, our products, or our support every single day. It keeps me on my toes!”

“Every tech project is meaningful to the business,” Jackie said. “Each one has a weight that it carries, and we should all be proud of each project we successfully complete.”

Not just a team – a family
Jackie and her work family are proof that tech gurus make plenty of time for fun and socializing.

“Technology is not a department full of introverts like many think,” she said. “We are people who are focused on our work, yes, and so at times we seem quiet; but we love fun, we love chatter, we love cracking jokes on each other, and hearing about our families’ latest accomplishments.”

Throughout her tech journey, Jackie has witnessed firsthand how the people at Cox make work culture truly special.

“My work families have all been amazing people that enjoy working hard and having fun while we do it, while also embracing each other’s differences and quirks – like letting me bust a move on the floor without any warning, or sing randomly while I run a Change Advisory Board meeting,” she said. “Every team I have worked with has had great people that I have enjoyed seeing every day.”

Interested in learning more about the people who make innovation happen at Cox? Check out the rest of our Behind the Code series here, and follow along on social using #BehindTheCode. Ready to explore a career here? Search for a new role today.

A ‘Clutch’ technology for drivers

Let’s say that you enjoy driving a small sedan for your workday commute, but you’re going furniture shopping this weekend and need more cargo space to bring your new stuff home. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to switch your car as needed? Vehicle subscription services – which are quickly gaining popularity with both car enthusiasts and everyday drivers – allow you to do just that.

Clutch Technologies, a part of Cox Automotive, is a platform that powers this kind of service. It’s the framework behind car subscriptions, providing the intelligence and tools needed to make them happen. Dealer groups, mobility services, and auto manufacturers like Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz use the platform to make subscriptions available to customers.

For example, Clutch provides data on subscribers’ needs and behaviors, using artificial intelligence to help dealers identify the right car for each driver. It offers data on market supply and demand to help sellers determine the right time to remove vehicles from their fleets. And Clutch provides tools to ensure seamless experiences, such as finance and insurance integrations, and logistical workflow tools to aid with delivery.

As Cox Automotive transforms the way the world buys, sells, owns and uses cars, Clutch Technologies is poised to accelerate the future of the auto industry.

Read more about Cox Automotive’s acquisition of Clutch below, or visit our website to get a glimpse of the people and businesses Behind the Code.

Cox Automotive Establishes Mobility Solutions Group, Accelerates Effort with Acquisition of Clutch Technologies

Aug 2018

Cox Automotive Mobility Solutions Group to Focus on Fleet Solutions and Consumer Mobility

ATLANTA — Cox Automotive is bringing together its investments and solutions supporting the future of mobility with the formation of a new business division: Mobility Solutions Group. For years, Cox Automotive has been investing in technology and services that position the organization to deliver advanced fleet management solutions and support evolving consumer mobility. The new business division, which is focused in part on mobility as a service, will house these solutions and investments, as well as newly acquired Clutch Technologies, a technology platform powering subscription access for the automotive industry.

“Cox Automotive is continually evolving – delivering digital retailing solutions for the immediate term while developing and investing in solutions that will fuel new models for consumer mobility and enable fleet management solutions well into the future,” said Sandy Schwartz, president, Cox Automotive. “The future of mobility as a service is a massive business opportunity, with some estimates at well in excess of $1 trillion by 2030. Our goal is to grow our presence in that part of the business and help all our partners and clients successfully navigate the many new opportunities.”

Cox Automotive is bullish on the future of automotive subscriptions. In 2014, the company created Flexdrive, a vehicle subscription technology and services company. A joint venture with Holman Enterprises since 2017, Flexdrive enables dealers and fleet owners to offer on-demand vehicle subscriptions to consumers via mobile devices. With Clutch, a consumer-focused subscription technology platform that is now part of the Cox Automotive family of brands, the company’s reach and expertise expands further. Clutch Technologies was invented and incubated as part of Cox Enterprises’ Innovation Fund. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Automotive.

Cox Automotive Mobility Solutions Group will be led by President Joe George, who previously served as the interim president of the Media Solutions Group, made up of brands Autotrader, Dealer.com and Kelley Blue Book. David Liniado, vice president of new growth and development, Jenny Bedard, head of finance, and Vince Zappa, president of Clutch Technologies, will report to George and help build a team to further develop Cox Automotive’s mobility capabilities.

“Cox Automotive has played a large role in introducing vehicle subscriptions to the marketplace,” said George. “And, we’re already pros at reconditioning, managing vehicles as assets, perfecting the consumer experience and developing elegant software solutions to make complex operations more efficient and profitable. We’re looking forward to helping clients disrupt the traditional car buying and ownership models in ways that are advantageous for their businesses.”

In addition to investing in automotive subscriptions businesses, Cox Automotive is delivering fleet services through relationships with car-sharing and ride-hailing companies such as BMW’s ReachNow, Getaround and Lyft. Cox Automotive has invested in new mobility and autonomous players including Ridecell, a ride-sharing and car-sharing technology platform, and Ouster, a maker of LIDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles. Cox Automotive has also invested in Getaround, a consumer car-sharing platform that empowers users to instantly rent and drive great cars shared by people in their city.

As consumers increasingly turn to shared fleets to meet their mobility needs, it will be essential for fleet owners and operators to ensure the maximum in-use time for their vehicles. From servicing vehicles quickly to reducing cleaning time between riders or drivers, the processes will need to be executed efficiently. Today’s technology and processes don’t account for the shifting paradigm in consumer mobility, and Cox Automotive is uniquely positioned to deliver the physical and digital solutions to fill that gap.

For example: Manheim, with its 78 physical locations that span 6,500 acres across the U.S., has already invested $27 million in its reconditioning operation since 2015. The vehicle remarketing company reconditioned 2.9 million vehicles last year alone at Manheim facilities. One-stop recon capabilities benefit fleet owners who need vehicles quickly cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
Additionally, RMS Automotive has helped sell more than 1.4 million vehicles globally through digital Private Stores for OEMs, captives and other large vehicle portfolio owners. In fleet management, vehicle portfolio management is the disciplined approach to managing a portfolio throughout its lifecycle and is critical to profitability. As part of that, RMS Automotive helps fleet owners with remarketing and knowing exactly when to sell units and for what price in order to increase portfolio returns and residual values. RMS Automotive’s AI-powered Optimization product suite provides fleet owners the vehicle-specific insights that drive data-driven decisions and improve overall portfolio performance.

Clear signs of how the automotive industry is being transformed by technology can be seen in the 2018 Cox Automotive Evolution of Mobility study, which will be published later this month. Mobility services are beginning to be more widely embraced by consumers as an alternative to traditional vehicle ownership with ride-hailing usage nearly doubling and car sharing and vehicle subscription services gaining traction.

Research shows that consumer attitudes about the necessity of vehicle ownership are gradually changing, with 39 percent of respondents saying access to mobility is necessary, but owning a vehicle is not, a 5 percent increase since 2015. For urban consumers, 57 percent indicate access to mobility is more important than vehicle ownership, a 13 percent increase since 2015. This means increasingly more consumers are prioritizing technology solutions that provide easy mobility over traditional vehicle ownership.
By bringing together its investments and technologies into a new business division, Cox Automotive can more quickly capitalize on the shift from vehicle ownership to usage.

What the Clutch acquisition means
Subscription access is now available in 26 states across the U.S. through Clutch’s growing roster of partners including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche as well as approximately 30 dealer groups. Clutch was one of the first to offer the ease and accessibility of vehicle subscriptions in 2014.

“Cox Automotive’s formation of the Mobility Solutions Group will accelerate our plans to activate subscription access across the entire automotive industry by integrating the Clutch technology platform into Cox Automotive’s core business,” said Zappa. “The combined power of our technologies will fuel great advancements for our clients and consumers alike.”

How the Clutch platform works
The Clutch platform provides the intelligence, capabilities and tools required to deliver vehicle subscriptions, including:

  • A white-label solution that extends the customer relationship outside of the showroom and into consumers’ driveways.
  • Management of vehicles using Clutch’s patent-pending technology which uses artificial intelligence to assign the right vehicle to every subscriber while maintaining a low ratio of vehicles to paying subscribers, thus keeping costs in check.
  • Powerful data on subscribers’ needs and behaviors. The Clutch platform learns, remembers and anticipates what is important to every subscriber in order to build deep, trusted relationships.
  • Subscription workflow tools to facilitate easy operational integration and delivery.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling and owning cars easier for everyone. The global company’s 34,000-plus team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with revenues exceeding $20 billion. coxautoinc.com

About Clutch
Clutch’s mission is to enable vehicle subscription across the automotive industry. Clutch’s fully integrated platform handles all of the consumer interaction along with the management and workflow tools required to deliver a branded vehicle subscription service. Today, Clutch’s technology is powering flexible subscription services for dealers and OEM’s in 26 states across the country. Learn more about Clutch at driveclutch.com.

daisy hibbard photo

The phone call that changed her life

During the fall of 2018, Daisy Hibbard, Scrum Master for Dealertrack, a Cox Automotive brand, received a phone call that dramatically changed her life. Never backing down from a challenge, Daisy fought for her health and her family and came out on top!

Two years ago, Daisy was the Manager of Internal Events and Community Relations for NextGear Capital, a Cox Automotive brand. However, little did she know that her position would be impacted after Cox Automotive announced a workforce reduction. She was devastated but determined to get back in the working world as soon as she could. Daisy was pleased with the way she was treated when she was laid off and was hopeful to return to Cox. Within 90 days, after earning her Professional Scrum Master certification she was hired as a Scrum Master for Dealertrack. Ironically, her new job was in the same building where she had started her career several years ago.



During a Monday morning team meeting, Daisy received an important phone call that would forever change her life—she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. Immediately after her doctor called, she contacted her husband of 13 years, Brett, to share the news. Any person would have fallen apart upon receiving this news, but not Daisy. She kept her head high and willingly went back into the meeting staying calm and collected. Daisy explained, “I just kept repeating in my head, ‘No need to panic. I have the most curable kind of cancer. It’s going to be ok.’”

There are not many people in the world that can receive such traumatic information and keep level-headed in a meeting. Luckily, Daisy was able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the duration of her chemotherapy. She had a loving and supportive team at Cox who were her cheerleaders from the beginning, which helped her keep pushing through.

“I don’t think I could have done all this without the love and support from my coworkers. It made this whole process a lot easier and less painful.”


daisy hibbard photos

Not a worry in sight about stacks of bills and money, Daisy was able to focus on relaxing and doing the things she enjoys. She attributes this freedom to the Cox employee healthcare benefits.

“I will forever be grateful for Cox’s amazing healthcare benefits. Instead of having to stress about a mountain of hospital bills, my husband and I were able to stay on track with our goals of creating a garden and planting fruit trees. I don’t think I could have made it through chemotherapy without Cox’s short-term disability benefit.”

The process and several rounds of chemo is physically and emotionally draining, but Daisy didn’t let anything prevent her from doing the things she loves. After her final round of chemo, she and her husband planted six fruit trees and built five gardens. They also began composting and planting several flowers to attract honey bees. According to Daisy, she says; “my neighbors probably think cancer turned me into a ‘hippie,’ but cancer made me realize what’s most important in life: the small things.”

Thank you, Daisy, for sharing your story! If you want to read more articles like this one, view our open jobs or experience a day in the life at Cox? Venture over to our Careers page to learn more about our jobs in Tech.

photos of Matt Spurlock

Be on the Lookout for Your Next Job…Even When You Don’t Feel Ready

In a fast-paced organization, balancing multiple programs can a be a challenge. However behind every solution are some incredibly cool folks in product, engineering and operations making it happen. Our technology teams in Austin are no different and they make the product portfolio of vAuto possible!

Checking in from Austin is Product Marketing Manager Matt Spurlock who shares what it’s like to work alongside the product engineering teams there. Learn how he not only helps spotlight the products from our technology teams, but also how he works with those teams across vAuto to help them better understand the problem they’re solving and who they’re solving it for.

By: Matt Spurlock

As I sit here catching up on the veritable mountain of work this evening, I almost find it difficult to prioritize. Each activity is another exciting step in a slew of new product marketing projects and initiatives which all promise to lead vAuto and her brands to new heights. That said, it’s so exciting and interesting, I hardly mind the mountain!

It was one year ago when I submitted my application to a new position opening on the Product Marketing team. At the time, I had already been with Cox Automotive for 6 years as a Product Manager at vAuto but was looking to grow skills and broaden my career. All of a sudden, a friend came out of nowhere to let me know his team was looking to expand. After a long interview process, I was offered the job and with nervous excitement I accepted. It is difficult to express how happy I have been with my decision to make the leap into what was very unchartered territory. It was, and continues to be a steep learning curve, but through the process we’ve begun to make great pioneering strides in Product Marketing for vAuto and Cox Automotive.

In the Austin office I have pretty open access to our mobile and desktop developer teams, product, and operations. As a matter of fact, I have even had the privilege of training some of them on both the products themselves and the dealer market we work in!

To describe my role in better detail, it helps to understand the other main roles in the office, what we do and how we work together.



My job in product marketing is to support them all from both ends of the cycle.

On the front end, Product Marketing gets to help Product and Engineering better understand the market. Competitive analysis, Win/Loss Research, focus groups and survey feedback can all help feed the folks designing, building and prioritizing the next big thing with good solid facts instead of just using their gut.

As a product reaches the launch phase, I get to help tell the story to our marketing partners creating collateral and to those speaking directly to the dealers. I also gather information about how the product is received by our clients and feed that back into Product and Engineering. Thus, starting the whole cycle over again!

My experience and the relationships I have here allow me to both receive and provide valuable context across a broad spectrum. Having so many of these relationships in house is one of the things that makes working at the Austin office so special! Also making it special is the foundation and backing of Cox Automotive while maintaining the agile, startup spirit. What’s more is how many leaders we have that have been here since we actually were a startup! It’s truly a neat place to be. There’s been a great deal of growth, both from myself and vAuto over these seven years. With the camaraderie and support we give one another; I know I can look forward to the next seven and beyond!

Want to read more articles like this one, view job opportunities that speak to your passions and experience a day in the life at Cox? Venture over to our Technology Careers page to learn more.

Photos of Sabrina Johnson

How Cox Automotive allows me the luxury of simplicity

Meet Sabrina Johnson, Software Engineer Manager at Cox Automotive — a woman who has a knack for the arts and an appreciation of people. See how her small town upbringing has given her a simpler perspective on life, and how Cox allows her to incorporate this into her management style.

By Sabrina Johnson

I’ve never been too much of a city girl.

Braselton, Georgia has been my home for 13 years. It’s quiet. Serene. Wine country. It is definitely more my speed. This quaint town is about 45 miles outside of the bustling city of Atlanta. My commute to work is long, but I love where I live.

Autotrader, a Cox Automotive company, hired me in 2008 and I eventually assumed the position as a Senior User Interface Engineer. I led the Search Evolution Project, which was huge at the time.

The functionality of the project was to add filters to our Autotrader search results page and helping redesign the search funnel. It was a fast-paced environment that required a lot of time and focus.

Now I am a multi-discipline manager, a single mom, and an artist.

As a multi-discipline manager, my passion lies in making people feel valued. To me that is the most important duty as a manager to remind people that they matter to me. It was a time when the team was working on a ton of projects and team morale was low. The monotony of the work wasn’t fun for them and I wanted to give them a break and show my appreciation. That’s why I orchestrated a floor-wide Autotrader Olympics. We kicked it off with pizza and participated in events like, “office chair curling” and the “long jump.” We had a blast.



When contractors are converted to employees, I throw each of them their own dessert party because it’s a big deal to be a part of the Autotrader family! Every new employee should know they’re special. We want to let them know they are a part of the family now. Because that’s what this is, it’s family.

As a single mom, my life has a lot of moving parts to it. Yet, Cox Automotive lets life happen. On mornings where I need to avoid traffic by working from home, it’s no problem. If I need to go to a school function for my two kids, no questions asked. I know that my job supports me in the important things and I make sure to offer the same flexibility to my direct reports.

As an artist, I express myself through painting. Working at Cox, I can continue my love for the arts. Recently, I entered a plein air painting competition in Duluth. It was an entire weekend of painting and then the art was displayed and judged at the end of it all. My children and I also just traveled to Europe, where I got new inspiration for my paintings.

My adventure was not a burden to the company, it was encouraged.



When I think of my small town in Braselton, I think of home. I get to take a step back to enjoy what matters in life, without the noise. Without the hustle and bustle.

When I think of Cox Automotive, I think of family. Cox Automotive allows this same luxury, to value the important things in life without the noise and without the hustle and bustle. There is something special about a large company with a small feel and there’s something even more special about the people within it.

Special thanks to Sabrina for sharing her story! If you would like to build a career in technology with a promising balance of work-life and family, learn moreabout current opportunities with Cox Automotive.

Women at Cox photo

How to Maintain Work-Life Balance

For Monique Cobbins there’s a quote by Vince Lombardi that best represents her life, “Winners are willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else.” Since joining Cox Automotive, Monique has experienced incredible balance in giving her best time and attention to her career and family.

By: Monique Cobbins, Inside Regional Sales Manager

My story begins on a car lot in Independence, Missouri working as a Used Car Sales Consultant. My weekdays and weekends were incredibly busy, and I didn’t notice that I had a missed message on LinkedIn from a Cox Automotive recruiter. Once I responded to the recruiter, I received a call immediately and was thrilled to know that he felt I was a good fit for the position and even offered me to interview for a Dual Sales role. On March 2017, I accepted my new role as a Business Development Consultant.

Balancing Family

Prior to joining Cox, I had never heard of the company, and it was important for me to join a company that valued time with family. I’m a single mom to three boys: my 14-year old son Simeon and my 11-year old twin boys Kaeden and Kennedy. Finding time to spend with my boys on the weekends was hard at my prior job and I knew with my boys playing competitive basketball, I wanted to be their biggest cheerleader. I’m grateful that my career here at Cox has allowed me to build memories, and experience life to the fullest!


Monique photos

Balancing Work

Within my first year at Cox Automotive as a Business Development Consultant, I was 2x award winner for “UpSell Member of the Month” and was presented with an opportunity to become a Regional Manager for VinSolutions. As an Inside Regional Sales Manager, my job is to generate revenue within the New England/Northeast territory by offering VinSolutions products to local automotive dealers. I work very closely with my partner Emily Gallagher who travels into the dealership to present a demonstration of our products. Once the best product package has been consolidated, I present the proposal and begin the negotiation. Once accepted we push the information to the product implementation team for installation at the local dealer’s place of business.

Best Moments

Working for Cox Automotive has been life-changing. I work for a company that cares about my quality of life and that’s priceless! As a Cox Automotive team member, I feel secure and confident in my career here. I also get to work with others who share the same work ethic, and passion for the automotive industry that makes for a perfect fit!

The one thing Cox Automotive does better than any company is not making you feel like an ordinary employee! From the onboarding process, I knew that I was joining an organization that cared about career growth and success! At Cox Automotive I believe you will be rewarded for outstanding work ethic versus a “pat on the back” like most large companies.

Thank you, Monique, for sharing your story! If you want to read more articles like this one, view our open jobs or experience a day in the life at Cox? Venture over to our sales page to learn more about life at Cox.

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