“Dealers are the backbone of our system,” says Edsel B. Ford II, who notes that his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, established the dealership franchise system in the early 20th century.
Dealers also are often the backbone of their communities, as demonstrated by their civic involvement and generosity.
In its annual “Salute to Dealers” program, Ford Motor Co. honors nine such dealers who went above and beyond, helping others at home and abroad.
At the National Automobile Dealers Ass. convention in Orlando, Edsel Ford II hosts a reception for the honorees. They are:
- Fred Beans, Fred Beans Family of Dealerships, Doylestown, PA, a driven community activist committed to the arts, education, youth-oriented activities and healthy lifestyles.
- Jay Cimino, Phil Long Dealerships, Colorado Springs and Denver, CO, who works to enhance the community and lives of young people through a variety of activities.
- Marcelle Fortier Citron, Hub City Ford, Lafayette, LA, who strives to provide the most basic necessities to those in need.
- Robert J. Grappone, Grappone Automotive Group, Concord, NH, whose generosity and support of critical causes provide long-lasting social benefits.
- Mac Haik, Mac Haik Ford Lincoln Mercury, Houston, TX, a former professional football player who works to keep youngsters healthy and on the right path.
- David Kimmerle, Sanderson Ford Inc., Glendale, AZ, who believes a nurturing environment and quality foundation will help children succeed.
- David J. Long Jr., Long Motor Co., Lawrenceville, NJ, who cultivates a culture of caring at his Volvo dealerships as well as in his community.
- Alton F. Owen Sr., Owen Ford Inc., Jarratt, VA, whose community commitment extends to education, business, family and local government.
- Sam H. Pack, Sam Pack's Five Star Ford, Carrollton, TX, who focuses his attention on children with special needs.
Meanwhile Edsel Ford II says son Henry Ford III now works for the auto maker in its industrial relations department, focusing on union contract negotiations.
“Industrial relations are a lot like dealer relations in that you need to be sensitive and respectful to the other side,” says Edsel II, who became a company liaison with dealers upon retiring from Ford after holding various jobs, including head of Ford Credit.