F&I and Showroom Supplements

2013

F&I and Showroom, the industry's leading source for F&I, sales and technology

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COMMUNITY MINDED 18 Community Minded Being named the TIME Dealer of the Year wasn't just rewarding for Dealer Michael Alford, it was also rewarding for 225 students in his Jacksonville, N.C., community. BY CATHY STEPHENS (l-r) Tim Russi, Ally Financial president of Auto Finance; Michael Alford, the 2013 TIME Dealer of the Year; Brad Young, chief marketing officer of TIME, at the award presentation during the 2013 NADA Convention and Expo. T here was a time when Michael Alford never even considered a career in the car business. But on Feb. 9, the dealer principal of Jacksonville, N.C.-based Marine Chevrolet Cadillac added his name to a long list of successful dealers when he was named the 44th TIME Dealer of the Year. "I'm thrilled to be in this industry. I'm proud to be a car dealer," Alford said after being called to the stage by Tim Russi, Ally president of Auto Finance, and TIME CMO Brad Young during the award ceremony, held at the 96th annual NADA Convention and Expo in Orlando, Fla. Alford was chosen from a select group of 57 U.S. dealers. The award, sponsored by Ally, is one of the industry's most prestigious and highly coveted honors. "So many dealers are heroes in their communities because of their commitment to local causes, and we are proud to support the work they do," Russi said. "Ally has provided more than 100 grants to nonproft organizations in connection with TIME Dealer of the Year, and we are pleased to recognize 2013 winner Michael Alford, as well as the three fnalists, for the extraordinary efforts."  Russi was among a group of Ally executives who made the trip to Jacksonville in late April to present the $10,000 winner's grant to Alford's charity of choice, Girls on the Run — a transformational learning program that teaches girls in third through eighth grade life skills using dynamic, conversation-based lessons and games. Ally's grant will enable 225 local students to participate in the program. Alford is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science. He was named a John Motley Morehead Scholar (now Morehead-Cain Scholar), a prestigious honor at UNC, and continues to serve on the program's regional selection committee. After college, Alford carved out a career in real estate fnance, working as a banker. But his career changed course in 1992 after his father-in-law asked him to join the family business. Selling cars suited Alford, which drove him to purchase Marine Chevrolet Cadillac in 1997. "I worked in each of the fve departments while attending the NADA Dealer Academy," he said. "I credit the academy for immersing me into the nuances of the auto industry." Since arriving in Jacksonville, Alford has worked hard to make a difference for his employees and the community, which is near Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. One of his proudest accomplishments was creating the Military Growth Task Force in 2007. He assembled leaders to address social and infrastructure

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