August 7, 1919 – February 10, 2010.
Matriarch of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Nellie Jackson served as Executive Director. Her passion for automobiles and business acumen were a driving force behind Barrett-Jackson's evolution into the world's leading collector car auction company. Along with her husband, Russ, and Tom Barrett, Nellie co-founded Barrett-Jackson and held an executive position with the company since the doors opened in 1971.
Born in the automotive town of Pontiac, Mich., Nellie's first office job was in the cost accounting department at Fisher Body, a division of General Motors. Her affinity with classic autos began when she and Russ purchased a 1934 V-12 Cadillac Opera Coupe from a junkyard they passed while on vacation. The car moved with them from Pontiac to Scottsdale, where they became very active in the Classic Car Club of America. Nellie served as treasurer and was later elected as the first female Regional Director of the club.
Nellie and Russ met Tom Barrett in September of 1960. They became family friends and in 1971 held the inaugural auction, which later became known as the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.
During the mid-1960s, Nellie's everyday car was a 1937 Cadillac V-16 limousine, the first of many collector cars she owned and drove daily. She received the prestigious Meguiar's Treasure of the Collector Car Hobby Award at the Hollywood Kodak Theatre in June 2004.
As Chairman and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, Craig Jackson has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most respected car collector and restoration experts. Since his first day with Barrett-Jackson, Craig has developed the expertise that has helped propel Barrett-Jackson’s evolution into the world’s leading collector car auction and automotive lifestyle event.
During his tenure, Jackson has taken the original Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale to three unforgettable and popular destinations in Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Reno-Tahoe. He is responsible for managing all aspects of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company’s multi-media empire that serves the collector car industry.
Born and raised into the automotive lifestyle, Jackson has grown to be an integral part of the car collecting industry for over 44 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jackson has shared his family’s passion and devotion to the automobile market. After his father Russ, and business partner Tom Barrett, founded the company in 1971, which included an automotive repair shop, Jackson climbed the corporate ladder. The result has been numerous Best of Show and First Place trophies, as well as an extensive education on classic car restoration.
Jackson assumed the leadership position in 1995, after the untimely death of his brother, Brian. Since then, he has constantly worked to grow the company. Not only has he helped Barrett-Jackson garner a reputation as being one of the best collector car auctions events in the world, he has also molded the Barrett-Jackson auction week into an entertainment lifestyle event filled with hundreds of exotic and unique automobiles from across the globe.
Through his impeccable attention to detail and with a reputation as a rare visionary in the car collector market, Jackson has been able to provide first-class information about the automotive business. Jackson not only serves as an advisor to many notable collectors and celebrities, most of whom attend Barrett-Jackson’s events each year, but has also garnered international attention.
Through Jackson’s role as CEO, Barrett-Jackson events have been covered by notable media outlets, such as Forbes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, Motor Trend and Autoweek. He has also appeared as an automotive expert and correspondent on Bloomberg Television, CNN and SPEED.
Jackson’s strong commitment to philanthropy has resulted in raising approximately $65 million since Barrett-Jackson’s first car auction, with nearly $7 million generated in 2011 alone. He has received numerous awards for his contributions, which include the Innovation Techanthropic Award, presented to him by The Arizona Technology Council and NPower and the prestigious Men of Character Award by the Phoenix Theatre in October of 2007. Jackson’s generosity has also earned the company numerous accolades including the Sterling Award for Small Business from the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, which honors excellence, innovation and local stewardship within the business community. In 2009, Craig launched the Barrett-Jackson Cancer Research Fund in Memory of Russ and Brian Jackson.
Jackson has been named twice to Motor Trend’s Top 50 Power List in the automotive industry. He has also captured the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Business Services category in the Arizona/Orange County region. This award is presented annually to business leaders whose integrity, hard work and perseverance create and sustain successful, growing enterprises.
In September 2007 Jackson sold a significant minority share of the company to Portland-based private equity firm, Endeavour Capital. The partnership allows Barrett-Jackson to pursue even greater business opportunities and with new capital for continued growth.
Craig Jackson’s dedication to the success and traditions of his family-owned company illustrates true loyalty to family values, hobbyists and the collector car enthusiasts around the globe that have made Barrett-Jackson a world-class automotive lifestyle event.
Steve Davis is President at Barrett-Jackson and serves as the driving force behind the company's tremendous success in attracting the industry's most desirable collector car inventory and retaining the industry's largest and most loyal customer base. Steve's responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day management of the business, with particular emphasis on the Consignment Department and managing all operations related to auction sales. In this role, Steve regularly interacts with the company's customers (both consignors/sellers and bidders/buyers) to ensure that the Barrett-Jackson experience is always first-rate. Steve first came to know Barrett-Jackson as a customer himself in the late 1970s. As the owner of Valley Oak Auto in California, Steve has long been one of the top purchasers and sellers of noteworthy collector cars in the country. He has been a member of the senior management team at Barrett-Jackson since 1996.
Steve is a lifelong collector car enthusiast and has served in roles including a founding director and General Manager for the Visalia Motorsports Festival in California, which was one of the largest and most unique motorsports festivals in the world. He remains an influential member of the collector car industry, serving over the years as a special advisor to Carroll Shelby for the Carroll Shelby Foundations and Shelby American, Inc. His many personal accolades include being the recipient of the California State Senate Recognition Award for promoting the appreciation of classic automobiles through the Valley Oak Auto Collector Car Auction and Exposition, and recipient of the Legislative Excellence Award from the National Specialty Car Dealer Association for his successful work in originating and promoting the 1997 grassroots petition drive to exempt 1973 and older autos from stringent new smog restrictions in California. This effort became known as SB 42, and if it had not passed, the collector car business as we know it could have been eliminated in California. More recently, Steve received the prestigious Lee Iacocca Award in 2011, an award presented to people who exhibit "Dedication to Excellence in Perpetuating an American Automotive Tradition." In 2012, the Armed Forces Foundation presented Steve with a Humanitarian of the Year Award in recognition of his commitment to raising funds to support charitable causes benefitting members of America's armed forces and their families.
A well-known collector car industry expert, Steve is frequently quoted in leading publications including the New York Times, USA Today, Autoweek and Motor Trend. He also frequently appears in programming on SPEED Channel and is a regular contributor to a multitude of automotive publications with emphasis on market trends and the overall status of the collector car hobby.
Steve graduated from College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, attended California State University in Fresno, completed additional coursework in Management, and is a graduate of the T.C.P.O.A. Law Enforcement Academy.
Gary Bennett is the Vice President of Consignment at Barrett-Jackson; however he also oversees the Bidders Department, Guest Services Department, as well as the Insurance divisions within the company.
Gary has been a participant as both buyer and seller in all Barrett-Jackson auctions since his introduction to Russ and Nellie Jackson at their inaugural event in 1971. Gary joined the company in 2002, and he puts his many years of collector car expertise to work in the day-to-day operations of the company, as well as assisting on the sponsorship sides in connection with Ford and General Motors.
Involved in the automotive industry throughout his professional career, Gary has worked in many different aspects of the industry - including the restoration, aftermarket, and design fields. He started out as a founding general partner for BSW International, which became one of the largest architectural firms in the United States, with nationwide clients such as Walmart, Texaco, Office Depot, and Applebee's.
In 1989, Gary sold his interest in BSW International and began pursuing his automotive passion on a full-time basis. He started Bennett Investor Auto Auctions, which specialized in classic and special-interest cars, and also established Auto Connection - a highline automobile dealership with annual sales in excess of $10M per annum.
Broadening his automotive horizon, Gary began a venture with Lister - a European company - and became the President of Lister North America, a Jaguar/Corvette aftermarket tuner company which specialized in performance upgrades for those two marks. Simultaneously, he was the President of Lister Restoration, a premier restoration company which specialized in muscle cars, European sports cars and Shelby Cobras, which served distinguished clients such as Roger Penske, Prince Abdul Azziz of Saudi Arabia and Nubo Sawama of Japan. In addition, Gary also acted as the President of Coach Connection - an upscale motor coach accessory company.
Among his many design accomplishments, Gary designed and was awarded two separate patents for the conversion of Chrysler and Ford minivans to be utilized as motorcycle carriers. He subsequently sold the patents for the benefit of manufacturing rear-ramp handicap-accessible vans. Aside from his love of automobiles, Gary also established a passion for motorcycling, and designed and built custom V-8 motorcycles which utilized the engine as the stress-bearing member in place of an actual frame.
Throughout his long and varied automotive career, Gary became an avid race car driver, and has won many awards racing vintage NASCAR, Trans-Am and open wheel race cars at racetracks throughout the United States.
Gary is quoted often in noteworthy publications such as the New York Times, and has had various automotive-related accomplishments which have been featured in Motor Trend, Autoweek and Corvette Fever, as well as countless other print and online publications.
As General Manager at Barrett-Jackson, Nickolas (Nick) Cardinale helps oversee all aspects of the World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction™. He joined the team in 2013.
From staffing to sponsorship, site management to sales, Nick draws from his superb professional sports and entertainment experience and his personal passion for collector cars to help execute the shared vision of Barrett-Jackson’s executive team.
Prior to joining Barrett-Jackson, Nick was the General Manager for Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc., the most recognized sports and entertainment franchise in the world. During his ten year tenure with the Globetrotters, his direction and leadership helped the franchise record its ten most financially successful years, with nine of those years accruing double digit annual percentage growth. In addition, the Globetrotters reached top quartile Q-ratings under Nick’s leadership. These successes were particularly remarkable given Nick was named GM at just 25 years old – the youngest General Manager in the company’s historic 88-year history.
Nick gained additional special event and entertainment experience as the Director of Sports Operations for the Grand Canyon State Games, which earned the distinction of being the largest amateur sporting event in the nation during his tenure. Nick was an integral part of creating the Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, the first ever competition of its kind in the country.
Nick’s awards and accolades extend beyond his professional realm. While growing up in Monterey, California, he was a standout three-sport athlete, winning both League and Section titles along with MVP and All Conference awards. He earned the Extended Service Award at the Church of the Good Shepherd and Volunteer of the Year at the Grand Canyon State Games.
Nick earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MBA from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business with an emphasis in International Business.
Matt Ohre has been General Counsel since joining Barrett-Jackson in February 2014. In this role, he is responsible for managing all of the company’s legal affairs, including responsibility for compliance issues, litigation, regulatory matters, and overseeing outside counsel relationships. Matt also works closely with other members of the senior management team on establishing and implementing company policies and procedures as they apply to employees, customers, and external business partners.
Prior to joining Barrett-Jackson, Matt was an attorney with Barrett-Jackson’s primary outside law firm, Squire Sanders (US) LLP, for over nine years. While at Squire Sanders, and along with working on numerous legal and business issues on behalf of Barrett-Jackson, Matt’s practice focused largely on complex and high stakes commercial and business litigation matters throughout the United States, including areas involving breach of contract, employment and labor issues, and business torts such as fraud, securities, interference with business advantage, trademark infringement, product liability, noncompete and nonsolicit agreements, banking, and breach of fiduciary duty. Matt also has significant experience with negotiating and drafting various business and legal documents and agreements. While at Squire Sanders, he was a member of the firm’s hiring committee.
Prior to joining Squire Sanders, Matt served as a law clerk to Judge John C. Gemmill of the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Matt has been recognized in Thomson Reuters’ list of Southwest Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, a distinction honoring the top 2.5 percent of lawyers age 40 or less, or in the practice 10 years or less. In 2012, he was also named one of Arizona’s “Top Attorneys” for business litigation.
Active in the community, Matt currently serves on the Board of the Lincoln Downtown YMCA. Matt is a frequent speaker and author on various legal and business topics, including issues involving litigation management and support, client billing and fees, and discovery and trial preparation. In 2009, Matt authored an article in THE BANKING LAW JOURNAL titled “The Nigerian Check Scam: An Oldie Revisited,” 126 Bank. L.J. 223 (March 2009). Matt is also a former senior associate editor of the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION’S The Labor Lawyer.
Matt received his JD from Syracuse University College of Law where he graduated Cum Laude and was the Executive Editor of the Syracuse Law Review. Matt also graduated Magna Cum Laude from the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University with a B.S. degree in Finance.