President of Elite Auto Network (EAN), Christine Keith, has expanded their enterprise to new heights since joining her husband, Todd Keith, CEO, ten years ago. EAN contracts with private, local, and government agencies to provide vehicle procurement, vehicle relocation, service maintenance, fleet management, and transportation services. In recent follow-up interview with the L.A. Sentinel, the Keith’s discuss some updates since they last spoke in 2018.
Giving an overview of EAN, Christine shares, “We’re basically like a one stop shop company.” Todd relays, “I started the business in college, and I’ve always had a passion for cars, for different types of cars and trucks. That led me to make a business, we’re here 34 years later.”
After Christine was onboarded in 2012, she developed the Commercial Division to support fleet needs. Between then and now, EAN has secured an auto purchasing contract with SoCal Gas.
In 2021, SoCal Gas spent over $972 million on a total of 570 diverse business enterprises. For the last 29 years they have procured over 42% of goods and services from women, minorities, service-disabled veterans, the LGBTQ community, and small disadvantaged businesses.
SoCal Gas extended their reach and increased spending with African American vendors by 49%. Spending $3.9 billion over the last five years with diverse companies as a part of their Sustainability Strategy.
“We have worked with several of the utility companies in Southern California and have offered them fleet solutions and fleet procurement for their companies. We also do a lot of networking with the National Minority Supplier Development Council,” she said.
Christine explains that SoCal’s Supplier Diversity Department approached EAN with sponsorships to their technical programs and other resources to help educate their team on how to participate in contracts. “Just building that relationship and networking with their department really helped get us invited to participate in the opportunity when fleets came up.”
The Supplier Diversity Department shares educational and networking resources to show their commitment to create long lasting equity amongst black businesses. Elite Auto Network has benefited from the partnership through education, exposure to connect with other entities, build relationships, and secure business and supplier contracts. SoCal Gas has exceeded the California Public Commission’s (CPUC) goal of 21.5% with their contributions as they lead in spending records.
Todd credits Joe Chow and Von Williams for influencing their education in the business as EAN continues to grow.
“We also want to thank SoCal Gas for paying and supporting us, supporting Christine through a UCLA program, for business management. They’ve given us business, they’re a great company.”
In the next five-to-10 years, the Keith family hopes to brand Elite Auto Network as a major household name and collaborate in the entertainment industry with transportation services.
Todd says, “[We want to be] at least invested or partnered with an outfitted company by then [as well]. We also want to work with this new electric product and be involved in some of the designs for some of their commercial vehicles in the future.”
Christine believes patience and persistence in planning and execution make for a successful business. Also, setting intentional time for family and prioritizing time managements helps the Keith’s with work-life balance.
“Being married and working together is a miracle that we can do it so successfully,” Todd shares. “In the automobile business there’s very few of us [people of color] in this business, what I’d like to do is educate people on what we do. There’s more opportunity in the automobile business. All dreams become possible.”
To learn more about Elite Auto Network, visit their website online at Home – ELITE Auto Network.