For 20 Years at KAR, This Drummer Keeps the Beat on Economic & Market Forces

By Joe Overby

“I think I was born to play the drums,” Tom Kontos says in a mid-October phone interview.

Long before the KAR Global chief economist was crunching numbers and dispensing auction market analysis, he was taking his mom’s silverware and tapping on tables as a child.

Or, to the chagrin of his teachers, turning a rhythm in his head into a bongo beat on his desk at school.

Kontos said he eventually made “a more productive use” of his inclination to drum, taking lessons beginning at around 10 years old at a local drum shop in the Washington, D.C., area and starting to play gigs with a local Greek music band before he could even drive.

These days, the rhythm Kontos keeps is that of the auto industry, particularly the wholesale auction side of it, and the melodies of macro-economic factors at work.

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