NEW ORLEANS – A Kentucky car dealer who sold cars to faculty members as a college business student and took an early interest in helping others is the 2017 Time Dealer of the Year sponsored by Ally.
Carl Swope, 59, was selected from a group of 49 nominees from across the country, and recognized at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Assn. here.
“I’m blown away,” he tells a general assembly audience after the envelope was opened and the winner announced.
Dealer of the Year finalists include Tyler Corder of the Findlay Auto Group in Henderson, NV; Bryan Gault, owner of a Chevy and Buick store in Wind Gap, PA; and Keith Kocourek, who owns a series of stores in Wausau, WI.
A second-generation automobile dealer, Swope followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle who opened their first dealerships in 1952. He has worked in all phases of the family business, and sold cars to friends and faculty while studying at Indiana University.
Today, he oversees six dealerships representing nine brands in Elizabethtown and Radcliff, KY.
Since the early days of his career, Swope has supported a wide range of civic activities, from helping families at nearby Fort Knox to raising money to restore the historic downtown district.
He helped establish a local affiliate for Habitat for Humanity and the statewide Kentucky Habitat. In 1997, he helped organize a Jimmy Carter Work Project called Hammering in the Hills where the former president, his wife and volunteers built more than 50 homes in just one week.
Swope’s associates have followed his lead. They renovate offices and classrooms for local nonprofit organizations and schools through a United Way-sponsored effort called Project United. They also fill backpacks with nutritious food for children in need and prepare care packages for deployed soldiers.
In its sixth year as exclusive sponsor, Ally donate $1,000 to the charity of choice for each of the dealer nominees, $10,000 to the nonprofit Swope selects and $5,000 each to the three finalists’ selected nonprofit organization.
All nominees are featured on AllyDealerHeroes.com.
“Ally continues to be inspired by dealers around the country, their love for this business and the ways that they do right and give back to their communities," says Tim Russi, Ally’s president-auto finance.