Blaise Alexander gets nod for TIME award
NEW YORK - Blaise Alexander, president of Blaise Alexander Chevrolet Buick in Montoursville, Pa., has been nominated for the 2012 TIME Dealer of the Year award.
Alexander, a Mount Carmel native, is one of a select group of dealers from across the country who will be honored at the 95th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas in February.
The announcement of this year's nominees was made by Kim Kelleher, worldwide publisher of TIME, and Tim Russi, executive vice president, North American operations, for Ally Financial, through a press release issued Monday.
"Auto dealers have a tremendous impact on the vitality and strength of communities across the U.S.," said Russi. "Ally is proud to support these extraordinary dealers who are truly making their communities better places to live and work."
As part of its support for the program, Ally will make charitable contributions to local community causes on behalf of all 50 nominated dealers across the United States. In addition, the 2012 national TIME Dealer of the Year winner will receive a $10,000 contribution for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of his or her choice.
To celebrate the valuable contributions of dealers across the U.S., Ally has also launched a digital hub (allybizhero.com) featuring engaging content celebrating auto dealers and their philanthropic achievements.
Highly coveted honors
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry's most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation's most successful auto dealers who must also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Alexander, 63, was chosen to represent the Pennsylvania Automotive Association in the national competition - one of only 50 auto dealers, from 17,000 nationwide, nominated for the 43rd annual award. The award is sponsored by TIME Magazine in association with Ally, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan selects one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.
It's about 'reputation'
"When I look back to when I started my career as a new car dealer and see how far I have come, it is truly humbling," said Alexander. "I feel the foundation of my dealerships is our reputation. I instill in my managers and employees the importance of maintaining that reputation on a day-to-day basis. I have had the great satisfaction of being able to nurture the careers of my sons, my partners and my employees, and watch them succeed," he adds.
Alexander attended Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Ind., and worked summers at his father's used car lot in Atlas. He put himself through college wholesaling cars with his dad, eventually deciding he wanted to be a Chevrolet dealer. In 1971, at the age of 23, he was hired as a used car manager for Stocker Chevrolet in State College. The owner, Gene Stocker Sr. was Alexander's mentor and promised to help him become a Chevrolet dealer.
In 1980, Alexander sold and mortgaged everything he owned to buy a Chevrolet dealership in Montoursville. Over the ensuing years, he acquired nine other dealership locations representing 14 franchises. His sons, Adam and Aubrey, help him run the family businesses. Alexander's extensive knowledge of the automotive industry inspired him to create a new business, Auto Trakk Inc., a highly successful auto leasing and finance company operating in 12 states.
Despite his achievements, Alexander has also endured great heartbreak, losing his son Blaise "BR" Alexander, a promising NASCAR driver, in a racing crash in 2001 and his beloved wife, Anne, to cancer. These tragedies have fueled his already robust philanthropic efforts.
In 2005, he established through the First Community Foundation Partnership the Anne L. "Annie" and Blaise Robert "BR" Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards yearly scholarships to high school seniors in the area. He also contributed money and land to the Eastern Lycoming YMCA, as well as served as fundraising chairman, to build a new fitness center. In recognition of his tireless work on behalf of the YMCA, the group named the building after his son. "The Blaise 'BR' Alexander Community Center is a busy and beautiful facility, which would be the envy of many communities," says Alexander. "It plays an important role in the health and well being of many people in this town. It is a fitting memorial to BR."
Over the years, Alexander has contributed numerous donations and sponsorships, on behalf of all of his dealerships, to civic, youth, health and other groups in the communities they serve. Recently, he donated to the flood victims of Lycoming County, hosted a benefit for the Children's Development Center of Williamsport (focus on Autism) at his farm, established the Blaise Alexander Family Foundation to award scholarships to graduating high school seniors in the state and established the Gary Hall Memorial 4H Award in memory of a great friend who was a local farmer, to name a few. He has held various positions in local and statewide automotive associations and other business organizations.
Alexander was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year Award by John Devlin, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Automotive Association.