2017 Bravo! Entrepreneur — Loveland

Dawkins steers growth at Co’s auto dealers 2017 Bravo! Entrepreneur — Loveland

Christina Dawkins takes legacy seriously.

The second generation of her family to helm Co’s Auto Group which oversees Co’s BMW and MINI of Loveland, she’s been involved in almost every part of the business. Christina’s father, Co Van Herwaarden, started the BMW dealership in 1974. Based in Greeley, it soon outgrew its space and relocated to Fort Collins. Eleven years ago, the dealership moved to its location in Centerra. In 2010, the company grew again, this time adding the MINI dealership.

“I’ve been involved in the car industry since I was a kid,” said Dawkins. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in architecture and design, she did pursue that career path. But when her dad asked her to join the dealership in 1994, she shifted gears and decided to give it a spin, getting her start on the selling floor. Working her way up the ladder, Dawkins soon became a sales manager. When Van Herwaarden retired in 2004, she stepped into the chief executive position and has been steering Co’s Automotive Group ever since.

What’s her favorite part of the job?

“That’s easy. Every day is a little bit different,” Dawkins said. “It’s never the same and I enjoy the challenge that comes with that. Number two is the people. I’m always meeting new people and am very involved with our customers.” Number three, she said, is seeing the accomplishments that she and all the employees achieve as a team.

Being a woman in a man’s world can be its own challenge. Nearly 90 percent of the time, Dawkins finds she’s the only woman sitting in a roomful of men. Not being one to just go along for the ride, she earned the respect of her team.

“You have to do that, whether you’re a man or a woman,” she said. “It doesn’t make that much of a difference, being the only woman, other than I often look at things a little bit differently than they do — more outside of the box. I look at it as being in the people business, not just the car business. I think we take a softer approach, and that helps us to approach things differently than other dealerships do. We come up with new ideas that open a lot of doors for us.”

Getting through the Great Recession intact is an accomplishment that makes Dawkins especially proud. She credits the entire team for the leadership and commitment to keep Co’s Auto Group as strong as possible during a time when many other dealerships closed up shop. Co’s didn’t lose any momentum, and came back stronger on the other side.

Down the road, Dawkins and her team are looking at expanding the BMW store over the next four years. Building up the technology to keep the dealership at the top of its game for the coming decade tops the list. “And that’s the only project we have going right now, because that’s a really big project,” she laughed.

It seems being in the driving seat comes naturally to Christina Dawkins.

Click here to read about all 2017 Bravo! Entrepreneur honorees.

Christina Dawkins takes legacy seriously.

The second generation of her family to helm Co’s Auto Group which oversees Co’s BMW and MINI of Loveland, she’s been involved in almost every part of the business. Christina’s father, Co Van Herwaarden, started the BMW dealership in 1974. Based in Greeley, it soon outgrew its space and relocated to Fort Collins. Eleven years ago, the dealership moved to its location in Centerra. In 2010, the company grew again, this time adding the MINI dealership.

“I’ve been involved in the car industry since I was a kid,” said Dawkins. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in architecture and design, she did pursue that career path. But when her dad asked her to join the dealership in 1994, she shifted gears and decided to give it a spin, getting her start on the selling floor. Working her way up the ladder, Dawkins soon became a sales manager. When Van Herwaarden retired in 2004, she stepped into the chief executive position and has been steering Co’s Automotive Group ever since.

What’s her favorite part of the job?

“That’s easy. Every day is a little bit different,” Dawkins said. “It’s never the same and I enjoy the challenge that comes with that. Number two is the people. I’m always meeting new people…