At a time when essential supplies were hard to come by, Mark Schienberg, CEO of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), purchased nearly a million face masks and shields and distributed them to people in need. Schienberg is now being recognized as a pandemic hero by Crain’s New York Business and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. Today, Schienberg joins CBT News to discuss the honor and how dealers across the country have stepped up to help their communities throughout the pandemic.
Schienberg begins the conversation by looking back on the events that transpired to lead him to be honored as a pandemic hero. In the early part of the pandemic, New York experienced devastation in the form of fatal illness and business closures. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that everyone in the state should be equipped with face coverings, especially all first responders.
Once there was a realization that face coverings were needed, there quickly became a shortage of masks and face shields available for people who really need them. Schienberg and the GNYADA were quick to reach out to a reputable firm that quickly delivered one million face masks.
Schienberg said the next challenge became figuring out how to distribute the masks. Schienberg and his organization faced opposition when trying to deliver the masks directly to hospitals, as the State of New York wanted to control the resources that were being brought in to first responders. Schienberg and the GNYADA immediately pivoted to work with county executives, the mayor’s office, and the local Red Cross to deliver the masks to other New York citizens who desperately needed the resources.
“One thing about the auto industry is that it’s a very resourceful industry,” said Schienberg. “We have a great network that’s out there that really comes together to share information. The real power of the auto industry is the dealer network and the associations involved, and they really did step up all over the country on the issue.”
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