These Simple Road Changes Can Save Lives

By Alex Perdikis

The year 2015 was a landmark year, but not in a good way.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 38,300 people were killed in on U.S. roads in 2015. Another 4.4 million were injured. That’s the largest one-year percentage increase in 50 years.

The reasons for the upsurge in traffic deaths include a better economy, lowered gas prices and lowered unemployment – all increasing the numbers of people on the roadways. Let’s look at what’s being done to stem the rising tide of deaths and injuries.

Improving Roads and Highways

In the 1990s, Sweden came up with a concept that proved to be a lifesaver: Roads with two wide lanes were redesigned and revamped into roads with three narrow lanes. The middle lane became a dedicated passing lane with allowed passing alternating between each side. Dedicated passing lanes made it easier for drivers to both pass and be aware of what other drivers were doing. In the first 10 years, an estimated 145 lives were saved.

The U.S. Transportation Research Board took note and recommended redesigning highways to the 2+1 road model, particularly on two-lane rural highways. An added plus is that the highways are already built. Increasing safety is simply a matter of reducing lane widths and adding a dedicated passing only lane. Lives saved!

Crosswalks and Intersections

When a pedestrian and car collide, the pedestrian always loses. Pedestrians usually have the right of way but does that matter when a two-ton machine hits a human body? Not really. Fortunately for pedestrians and drivers, crosswalk and intersection redesigns are becoming more common to make driving and walking safer.

Particularly useful in large cities, diagonal crosswalks are being developed to reduce pedestrian risk. In a diagonal crosswalk, traffic on all sides stops. Pedestrians walk from any direction, including diagonally, and safely arrive on the other side.

Another simple way to increase pedestrian safety is lengthening traffic light “walk” time. Additional time to cross the street gives elderly and disabled pedestrians the time they need. Longer waits may leave some drivers irritated, but isn’t saving lives worth a few extra seconds?

Slowing It Down

You don’t want to hear it, but lowering your driving speed is safer. Lowered speeds, particularly where pedestrians and traffic are both present, result in fewer injuries and fatalities. It may take a couple of extra minutes to get to work in the morning, but at least you’ll get there.

Safer Cars

Automakers are working hard to build safer vehicles. Many new cars have collision alarms, alert monitoring and backup cameras to name just a few innovative safety options. Many of these optional features will become standard in the near future, much as seatbelts and airbags did in the past.

The pursuit of safety doesn’t stop there, of course. Novel ideas such as Terreform’s “Soft Car” and Google’s self-driving vehicles incorporate safety, economy and energy efficiency. Clearly, technology is taking us toward a future where safety truly does come first.

5 New Car Safety Features That Can Save Your Life

By Alex Perdikis

Driving is so much a part of everyday life you probably don’t give it a second thought. But, every time you hop in your car, you risk your life and those of your passengers. And, if your family includes young or senior drivers, you have even more to worry about. The good news is that there are exciting new car safety innovations that make that trip to the store safer for everyone. Here are five safety features either already available or coming soon to new car near you.

Forward Collision Warning

Consumer Reports puts forward collision warning systems at the top of its list of must-have safety features. Why? Because forward collision warnings save countless lives.

The systems not only help drivers avoid accidents, but they lessen the impact when accidents do occur. Basic systems send audible or steering wheel vibration alerts to drivers, letting them know they’re closing in too fast on the vehicle in front of them.

A higher end option, forward collision warning with auto-braking systems, do more than alert. If you fail to react after the audible alert, the system auto-brakes to avoid a crash.

Features like forward collision warning systems are typically optional and somewhat pricey. However, Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor, says that “Among all the active-safety features out there — blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, lane departure prevention — this is the one that matters most.”

Backup Cameras

By May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require car manufacturers to make backup cameras standard. Many automakers are already on the bandwagon, however. And, that’s a very good thing. The Center for Effective Government reports that annually 50 children under the age of 15 are injured or killed because of back-over collisions with vehicles. Backup cameras, also known as rearview cameras, provide an instant view of what is directly behind the car. If you’re purchasing a new car before cameras become standardized and you have children, they’re worth the extra money.

Lane Monitoring

Lane monitoring and departure warning systems are a great feature if you do a lot of highway driving. Depending on the car make and model, systems range from basic with flashing lights, vibrations or alarm sounds when your car drifts, to more advanced systems that automatically correct steering or apply the brakes.

Blind Spot Detection

You now have a weapon against the infamous blind spot – the cause of countless accidents, injuries and deaths. A simple but effective tool, the blind spot safety alarm appears in your side view mirror as a flashing light whenever a vehicle, motorcycle, pedestrian or bicyclist is in your blind spot. Typically bundled with rear-cross traffic alerts, blind spot detection systems provide an additional layer of safety.

Alertness Monitoring

Those long road trips, late night drives and slow-moving bumper-to-bumper traffic have one thing in common – they make it easy for you to fall asleep at the wheel. Alertness monitoring detects erratic driving, such as drifting or sudden deceleration, and emits a loud acoustical warning that will wake you up in no time.

Other exciting safety features available now or coming soon include adaptive cruise control and park assist. Many will become standard over time. For now, weigh your driving situation and choose the options that best fit your needs and budget.

How to Ensure That Your Teen Stays Safe On the Road

By Alex Perdikis

Driving is a rite of passage for millions of teens. When they get their license, it feels like the first step toward adult freedom, but for their parents, it can be a source of endless worry.

There’s a good reason to be concerned. Statistics show that teens are much more likely than other age groups to be involved in road accidents. But what can parents do to make sure that their children are as proficient as possible when they finally get behind the wheel?

Set the Right Example From the Start

Studies show that teens actually do listen to their parents when they dispense driving advice. In fact, at least one study found that parental encouragement is even more influential than advice from police officers in getting teens to follow safe driving practices.

This means that parents have a special role to play in transmitting knowledge about how to drive safely from generation to generation. Always drive safely yourself and never, ever, consider drinking and driving. There’s plenty of reasons not to, but one of the most powerful is that teens are much more likely to drink and drive themselves if one or more of their parents does the same.

As your children grow, keep telling them the right way to drive. Start educating them well before they can apply for their license. That way, they will have a store of knowledge ready to use when they get their first car.

Set Clear, Realistic Rules

Teens expect their parents to set rules about when they can drive, who can be in the car and where they can go, so don’t be afraid to lay down the law. Set a curfew for nights out and try to make sure there is a maximum of two people in the car at any one time.

However, it’s really important to be crystal clear about these rules. Don’t just state them once and assume that your child has internalized them. Researchers have found that when parents placed limits on using cell phones while driving, 13 percent of teen drivers report that these limits didn’t exist.

They weren’t lying. They just hadn’t taken this crucial information in and acted upon it. Make sure your child knows exactly where they stand.

Be Wary of Phoning Your Child to Call Them Back Home

When kids miss a curfew, parents start to worry. There’s nothing wrong with that, but think twice before you phone them to demand that they return. Cell phone use is one of the major factors in road accidents involving teens and if you call them late at night the dangers are multiplied.

Your child will probably know they are late and could be rushing home. They might not have much experience driving in the dark either, so don’t put them under pressure or distract them. It’s actually safer to enforce a zero cell phone calls policy than to pressure kids to take your calls.

Make Sure Your Child’s Car is Safe

Many parents are happy to pass on an old vehicle or to buy a second-hand model for their child to drive. While this is totally understandable from an economic perspective, it can pose additional safety risks that you need to be aware of.

A shockingly high proportion of accidents involving teens also involve cars that are over 10 years old. Older cars are more likely to have hidden defects that inexperienced drivers won’t necessarily be able to cope with. They are also prone to completely fail, placing everyone in them at risk.

If you want your child to be completely, safe, head to an auto dealership and find an affordable model with a good safety rating.

Trust Your Child, But Stay Vigilant

In the end, your child is their own person. The way they drive is mainly down to their character and ability. However, as a parent, you can shape both of these things as your child develops.

After they start to drive, reinforce your ground rules and stay vigilant. You can tell if any dents have appeared on the car, and when traveling with your child, you can assess their ability. Some young people are passed as fit drivers but struggle on real roads. If this applies to your child, be firm and make them take remedial lessons.

But if your child can drive and shows that they have taken your advice on board, try to relax. Talk to them about how their driving is going and make a point of riding with them regularly. Don’t overprotect or pressurize them. If you’ve done the groundwork, they will be as safe as anyone on the roads.

How We’re Getting Closer to a Single Blood Test to Detect Cancer

By Alex Perdikis

Cancer is constantly in the news. Every week, headlines announce promising new treatments and tests, along with sobering statistics on cancer’s ravaging effects.

Any advancement in technology and testing that can help patients is another step in the right direction. There are many tests available for genetic cancers, pre-cancerous conditions, cancer that is already full blown, and cancer that is in remission.

But what if there was one single blood test that could look for any cancer, even the smallest amount, located anywhere in the body?

For patients already undergoing so many invasive procedures, this would be a phenomenal advancement in care and and huge measure for proactive treatment. The amazing news it that this is not just an idea, it is already happening.

The problematic issue with cancer and early detection is that all it takes for cancer to start growing is a few cancerous cells. Once they grow and spread enough to provoke symptoms and positive test results, treatment becomes that much more difficult. Early detection is a big key to successful treatment options.

What a Drop of Blood Can Show

SRI Biosciences has developed a test called Fiber-optic Array Scanning Technology (FASTcell) that can rapidly detect a tiny amount of cancerous cells with one blood sample. It is important that testing not even take weeks to provide results, because weeks may be too long when it comes to beginning a treatment regimen.

“What distinguishes FASTcell from other sensors that look for cancer cells is the ability to scan very rapidly,” states the senior director of the Center for Cancer and Metabolism in SRI Biosciences, Lidia Sumbucetti. “We can scan 26 million cells in a minute. That allows us to survey all of the blood cells in the sample. This gives us a high sensitivity to find cancer even when there’s only one or two cells present. We can find one single cell in a whole blood sample. We compare it to trying to find a single star in a whole constellation of stars.”

In addition to extremely fast test results, this test also can determine the genetic makeup of the cancer cells, which leads to treatment that is specifically targeted to the particular cancer. Instead of time spent on treatments that may or may not work, specific treatment can be started from the beginning. This eliminates the difficult, time-consuming trial and error that has hampered treatment attempts in the past.

From Revolutionary to Routine

“It is revolutionary,” says Victor Vesculescu, co-director of cancer biology and professor of oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University Cancer Center. “I think in the next five years, it will become part of an annual physical.” Johns Hopkins University has studied the “liquid biopsies” of hundreds of cancer patients.

Illumina announced in early January 2016 that they are forming a new company called GRAIL. This company will focus on blood based cancer testing and is receiving over than $100 million dollars in funding.

Keep your eyes open for more news on this incredibly exciting and promising research as it continues forward.

Is This Kind of Driving More Dangerous Than DUI?

By Alex Perdikis

For many years, drunk driving was viewed as the paramount cause of unnecessary car crashes. There were advocacy groups such as SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) dedicated to preventing drunk driving, laws being made, and random police check sites.

That was then. Drunk driving is still a major problem, but there’s a new threat among us now: distracted driving. Today’s widespread use of mobile technology means that there is much more distracted driving happening than ever before. What’s more, it is believed that distracted drivers are actually as dangerous — or even more dangerous — than drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. Some studies say that texting while driving is eight times more dangerous than drinking and driving.

What “Distracted Driving” Means

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Changing the radio station, glancing down at something that fell onto the floor, letting your mind wander: any of these constitute distracted driving.

Using a phone and driving involves every aspect of distraction: using your hands, glancing away, and an unfocused mind. Texting and driving is the most dangerous activity of all, and the statistics are alarming. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), approximately 660,000 American drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices at any given daylight moment.

From Brushing Teeth to Texting

Erie Insurance did a survey in 2015 which showed that drivers do many dangerous things behind the wheel including brushing their teeth and changing clothes. Moreover, Erie’s survey found that one-third of drivers admit to texting while driving. This is of course only the number of drivers who admitted to texting.

In 2009, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said that five seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are off the road while texting, which when traveling at 55 miles per hour is enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Five seconds may seem to be a very short amount of time, but combined with the speed of a car, it clearly covers a very large distance.

Advocates on the Forefront

There are a growing number of advocacy groups dedicated to focusing on distracted driving and how to keep the statistics from growing. Stop The Texts, Stop The Wrecks, a partnership of the NHTSA and the Ad Council, aims to “show drivers that no matter how safely they think they can engage in distracted driving, the behavior is always dangerous for every driver, all the time.”

The Distracted Driving Foundation wants mobile phone carriers and car manufacturers to put technology in phones and automobiles that block using a phone when drivers are moving. They believe that “for many, the temptation to read a text message or answer a call when it comes in is irresistible.” Texts should be blocked until the car is stopped and phone calls should be directed to a voice prompt informing the caller that the person is driving and to leave a message.

End Distracted Driving (EndDD) is a group that is sending people out into the workforce and to schools to give presentations and real life stories, much like MADD and SADD did in the past.

It is the hope of these groups that, as the dangers of distracted driving and its deadly consequences become better known, the number of distracted drivers will significantly decrease in the years to come.

Leukemia, Lymphoma and Other Blood Cancers: Reasons to Hope

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every three minutes in the United States and someone dies of a blood cancer related disease every 10 minutes. Blood cancer diagnoses account for approximately 9.4 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the country. Leukemia is the most common cancer in young adults, adolescents and children. From 2007 to 2011, leukemia represented 26.9 percent of total cancer diagnoses in the younger than 20 age group. With statistics like these, it’s easy to become discouraged. There is, however, reason for hope. Here’s why.

Promising New Treatments

Research and advanced medical treatments have improved the lives of countless victims, both improving the quality of their lives and increasing survival rates. In fact, new treatments have improved the five-year survival rate  for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia under 15 years of age from 57 percent in 1975 to 92 percent in 2010. Similarly, adults  with leukemia have a five-year survival rate that’s more than quadrupled since 1960.

Medical research is key to treating blood cancers and developing drugs and therapies to combat them. LLS is the world’s leading nonprofit group dedicated to fighting blood cancers. LLS supports research to find a cure, ensures treatment access for patients and supports patients and their families.

The LLS Story

In 1944, Robbie Robert Roesler de Villiers, the son of a prominent family in New York, died of leukemia at the age of 16. His heartbroken parents, Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers, started a leukemia fundraising and educational organization called the Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation in 1949. In the 1940s and into the 1950s, when the first chemotherapy drugs began to appear, leukemia was 100 percent fatal. The de Villiers believed that leukemia and related blood cancers were curable. The organization steadily grew. The Foundation was renamed The Leukemia Society of America in the 1960s and later became the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Throughout the years, scientific advisors and researchers affiliated with LLS have led groundbreaking research and developed new treatments in a quest to cure blood cancers.

In 1946, William Dameshek, M.D., participated in studies of nitrogen mustard, now considered the first anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, as a blood cancer treatment. George H. Hitchings, Ph.D., developed two of the first and most widely used drugs to combat leukemia in the 1940s and, in 1988, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Other pioneering LLS affiliates include James Holland, M.D., E. Donnall Thomas, M.D. and Geoffrey M. Cooper, Ph.D. 

Thirty years ago, patients like young Eli in Indianapolis, who has been cancer-free since October 2013, and Matt Lampson, a professional soccer player diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma , would probably not have survived. Today, thanks to organizations like LLS and the thousands of volunteers who support research and engage in fundraising, blood cancer patients live longer and better lives.

Distracted Driving Kills

According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2013 and more than 1,000 were in their teens or twenties. What’s more, 424,000 people were injured due to distracted driving. Alex Perdikis of Koons Automotive believes that raising awareness is key to reducing the number of traffic deaths and injuries from distracted driving. Perdikis says, “It only takes a second to make a dangerous  and potentially life changing mistake.”

A Second That Lasts a Lifetime

During last April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Maryland State Police conducted an experiment to illustrate what happens in this “technological epidemic.” They constructed a track using cones and asked student drivers to drive the track while using their cell phones. Not one driver going 25 miles per hour was able to stay within the cones while using a phone. Interestingly, when the officers performed under the same test, the results were the same. No officer stayed within the cones while using a cellphone, even at a relatively slow speed of 25 miles per hour. Imagine what happens at faster speeds.

According to government statistics, a driver’s eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds while texting. If a car is traveling 55 miles per hour, five seconds is enough time to drive the entire length of a football field.

Maryland law has severe penalties for those who text or talk on the phone and cause serious injuries. Offenders face up to $5,000 in fines and three years in prison. Police officers also conducts aggressive enforcement campaigns during Distracted Driving Awareness Month as well as other times throughout the year.

It’s Not Just Cell Phones

Much of the confusion about distracted driving comes from misconception that distracted driving is only about cellphone use. In fact, distracted driving has been a problem since cars were invented. Eating and drinking in the car, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio and personal grooming are all activities that distract and could potentially cause an accident. Even driving related activities, such as using a navigation system, distract drivers. Anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road is a potential danger.

Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

Distractions are everywhere, but with extra preparation and planning, you can reduce the urge to use your phone or engage in other activities that take your eyes and mind off the road. Follow these useful tips.

  • Store loose objects, such as cups, snacks and phones in a zipped container out of arm’s reach.
  • Check your navigation system and decide on your route before you head out.
  • Get behind the wheel fully dressed and completely groomed – don’t shave, put on makeup or finish getting dressed while you drive.
  • Ask your passengers to help you keep your eyes on the road and reduce distractions.
  • Make sure pets and children are safely secured before hitting the road. If they need attention, pull safely to the side of the road, stop and take care of the problem.
  • On long drives, stop to eat and take a break.
  • If you’re an adult, be a shining example of what it means to drive without distractions. Young people aren’t the only guilty parties when it comes to distracted driving.

Here’s Chevy Chase

When Alex Perdikis says his hometown is Chevy Chase, Maryland, people unfamiliar with the area chuckle. For most Americans, Chevy Chase brings to mind the famous  comedian, actor and writer who has appeared in numerous films and television shows. Alex enjoys the joke. He is, after all, a fan himself.

Beginnings

Cornelius Crane Chase, dubbed “Chevy” by his grandmother, was born in 1943 and raised in New York. Born into an affluent family, divorces and remarriages provided an unstable home environment in which Chevy struggled. He discovered his knack for slapstick comedy and hilarious pratfalls while in college. Musically gifted with perfect pitch, he played drums in a college band with future Steely Dan founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Chevy’s real calling was comedy, however. In 1967 he co-founded an underground comedy group called Channel One. He also wrote for Mad Magazine. In the early 1970s, he landed a writing job for the “Smother Brothers” comedy show. Moving to comedy full time in 1973, he became a National Lampoon Radio Hour regular. In 1975 he was cast as one of the original members of “Saturday Night Live.”

Hollywood Beckons

Chevy Chase left “Saturday Night Live” after one season. His first major film role was in 1978’s “Foul Play,” with Goldie Hawn. Chase was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance. Hawn and Chase reunited  in the film “Seems Like Old Times” two years later.

An electrical accident during the filming of the 1980 film “Modern Problems” left physical and emotional scars. Chase battled depression and drug addiction. The 1983 year was a turning point, however, when Chase was cast in arguably his most iconic role, Clark Griswold, in the first “National Lampoon’s Vacation” film. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, the film starred Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, John Candy, Anthony Michael Hall, Christie Brinkley, Randy Quaid and Dana Barron. The film was a huge hit with both critics and audiences, earning more than $60 million in the United States alone. The film was the first in a series and critics consider it the best.

Chase has appeared in numerous other films, including “Fletch,”” Spies Like Us,” “The Three Amigos,” and “Funny Farm.” He has also narrated documentaries and voiced animated characters. He hosted the Academy Awards twice. At the peak of his career, he earned approximately $7 million per film.

Coming Back

The 1990s were not as kind to Chase. He starred in three films, “Nothing but Trouble,” “Memoirs of an Invisible Man” and “Cops & Robbersons,” none of which were successful. It was television that would revitalize his career, however. In 2006, Chase appeared as a murder suspect in an episode of “Law & Order,” had a recurring role in “Chuck” and voiced a character on “Family Guy.” He starred in the sitcom “Community” from 2009 to 2012.

Ford Keeps Its Tech Edge With Second Generation

Ford is causing a lot of buzz with its second generation of Edge, slated to be launched as the 2015 model. This car will utilize modern automobile technology to its fullest, setting the bar and offering a hopeful glimpse of the future of driving.

Exceeding some of the other technologically advanced cars on the market, the Edge will feature the newest engineering achievements in what is called “Driver Assist Technology.” Bells and whistles such as a Collision Warning System, Active Parking Assistance, Adaptive Power Steering and a 180-degree rear view camera are designed to promote safety and ease in the vehicle’s day-to-day use. Many of these features are controlled from a fancy 10-inch touch screen monitor or via hands-free voice activation.

The Active Parking Assistance is one of the more remarkable features, utilizing a whopping 12 ultrasonic sensors to aid the driver in multiple scenarios. For example, in perpendicular parking, the car will not only scan for suitable parking spots, it will also steer the car into position. Incredibly, all the driver has to do is accelerate, brake and shift.

The car uses similar methods to deal with parallel parking, much to the joy of those who struggle with this often-botched maneuver. All a driver has to do is drive slowly, and the car will alert the driver to stop when a suitable parking spot is found. When it’s time to go, park-out assist will help a driver squeeze out of a parallel park, signaling when the car gets too close to another vehicle.

Other new safety features include inflatable seat belts, glove box mounted air bags and a hands free liftgate. There is also the optional Lane Keeping System that uses front-mounted cameras to scan the road. These cameras alert the driver by vibrating the steering wheel if the car starts to drift out of lane.

The BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert uses two hidden rear-mounted sensors to warn the driver about vehicles in blind spots. Adaptive Cruise Control can automatically slow the car down if it detects that traffic ahead is reducing speed. The vehicle’s suspension has been redesigned to cut down on noise and movement from road bumps.

The new Edge also receives a serious external makeover. The car is being built on Ford’s solid and reliable 2013 CD4 Platform. Mimicking the design of the wildly popular Fusion, the grill and headlights have been updated and the entire body has aerodynamic smoothness, looking more like a big, roomy luxury car than a boxy sport wagon. There’s a sleek BMW-style air-curtain on the front bumper, and the wheel wells look like soft clouds above the tires.

Hitting dealerships early next year, the Ford Edge will come in four styles, SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium, and three engine configurations: a 2.0 liter V4, a 2.7 L V6 and a 3.5 L V6.

How Coaching and Managing Go Hand in Hand

When everything is on the line, it’s the coach’s job to lead a team to victory. All of the hard work and effort over the past couple of weeks, months, or even years all comes together to create a group of committed individuals ready to work hard and take home a win.

Life at a car dealership is similar. Instead of a coach, management takes up the torch, working with employees to create a successful team. For Alex Perdikis, managing partner at Koons of Silver Springs, coaching his team has resulted in big wins and public recognition. According to Perdikis, preparation is a key ingredient for any winning dealership.

Perdikis was no stranger to sports and hard work. He worked hard as a linebacker for the University of Richmond before succumbing to a spinal injury that kept him off the field. Despite being absent from the game for his senior year, he still walked away with lots of knowledge that propelled him to success in the future.

In the same way that athletes spend time practicing and improving their skills, employees at a dealership work together to improve their processes and offer customers the best experience possible. For Perdikis, being prepared means showing up to morning meetings with a game plan, discussing the best possible leads of the day and giving direction to everyone in attendance.

In reality, Perdikis took over a losing team. When he became managing partner in 2011, the dealership had only been acquired the year before and it was struggling. Sales were low and the profit margins were small. Today, the dealership sells almost twice as many cars as it did back in 2011.

Recently, Alex Perdikis Koons of Silver Springs was named Automotive News “40 Under 40.” Every year 40 individuals are honored for their achievements at various dealerships across the United States. He was honored because of the turnaround he headed up at the Koons’ Ford-Mazda dealership.

Since the transformation of the dealership, Perdikis has been seen as a leader in more ways than one. Aside from the dealership success he has engineered, he has also worked hard to become a business leader in the community. In April, he joined other Ford dealerships in recognizing the month as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In June, he finished up his work as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year fundraiser, bringing in $146,000 to help with research and treatments.

It isn’t just about coaching a group of individuals on how to handle car sales. Instead, Perdikis is working to become a coach that leads by example, balancing out his time between his family, work and the community around him. There is more to any coach than just winning. There is a bigger picture that needs to be considered. Whether helping to get the kids ready for school in the morning or enjoying a game of golf in the afternoon, Perdikis strives for excellence.