LAS VEGAS -
For the second time in the past five years, a dealer from the Tar Heel State has claimed one of the highest honors for a franchised operator.
Jack Salzman, owner of Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cornelius, N.C., was named the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year over the weekend during the 101st annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show 2018 in Las Vegas. Salzman was selected for the prestigious award from a field of 47 dealer nominees from across the country in recognition of his many business accomplishments and community contributions, which focus on helping women, children and animals.
“Jack Salzman has made giving back a central part of his personal and business philosophy,” said Tim Russi, president of auto finance for Ally, which has been the exclusive sponsor of the program for seven years. “It is an honor to recognize him as the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year for all he has done to invest in his community and his dealership team.
“We’re proud of the hard work and generosity shown by each of the nominees and finalists, they inspire us with their dedication to this business and to giving back to their communities,” Russi continued.
The other regional finalists for this year’s award were:
— Brent Brown, president of Brent Brown Toyota in Orem, Utah
— William Fenton, president of Toyota of Keene in East Swanzey, N.H.
— Wally Sommer, president of Sommer’s Subaru in Mequon, Wisc.
Ally will provide $10,000 dollars to the nonprofit organization of Salzman’s choice. In addition, $5,000 will be donated to the charitable organization selected by each of the three finalists and the state Automotive Trade Association Executive (ATAE) who nominated Salzman. In recognition of all the dealers nominated for the award, Ally gave $1,000 to the charity of choice for each of the 47 nominees. For more information about the nominated auto dealers, including their philanthropic contributions and achievements, visit AllyDealerHeroes.com.
TIME Dealer of the Year, which is presented by TIME magazine’s owner, Meredith Corp, is a coveted award in the auto industry, with recipients among the most successful auto dealers in the country who have also shown enduring dedication to community service. Salzman, 55, was chosen to represent the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association in the 49th annual TIME Dealer of the Year competition. Only a fraction of the 16,500 franchise dealers nationwide are nominated for the award each year.
Back in 2013, Michael Alford, who is president of Marine Chevrolet Cadillac in Jacksonville, N.C., received the honor. Now a dealer near Charlotte is this year’s winner.
“The most rewarding part of my retail automotive career has been hiring great people and investing in their future,” Salzman said. “We pride ourselves on searching out quality employees and providing them with the tools and support they need to grow from entry-level jobs up to top management positions within the company.”
Salzman graduated from Riverview High School in Riverview, Fla., and went on to earn a degree in business administration from Auburn University and a J.D. from the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova University, now Nova Southeastern University, in 1989.
Rather than working at a law firm after graduation, Salzman decided he wanted to own his own business and started a cellular phone agency. After partnering with a local car dealership on a promotion for the agency, the dealer hired Salzman as a sales manager, and he has been in the auto industry ever since. Today, he owns two Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealerships in North Carolina located in Cornelius and Gastonia.
Salzman’s hiring practices earned Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram the 2012 Champions of Diversity award from the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.
“We have always sought out great employees regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.,” he said. “As a result of this philosophy, we have been rewarded with extremely low turnover and incredibly caring employees, whom we are able to continually promote to new positions that further their careers.”
In his community, Salzman is committed to giving back. He is a contributor to the Humane Society of Charlotte, as well as a founding board member of Lake Norman Humane. He also supports Lake Norman Lucky Cats, which provides trap-neuter-return services, as well as Holly’z Hope, an organization that helps unchain dogs by building fences for homeowners in need.
“When I purchased the dealership in 2003, my wife and I decided that we wanted to focus our philanthropic time and attention on three areas: animals in need, children in need and women in need,” he said.
Salzman is a longtime supporter of The Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center in Statesville, N.C., and Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center in Charlotte; as well as Amy’s House in Lincolnton, N.C., and The Shelter of Gaston County in Gastonia, which both serve battered women and children. Salzman also supports Make-A-Wish; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Habitat for Humanity; Susan G. Komen; American Cancer Society; and many other local groups.
Salzman was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Robin Smith-Salzman, have three children and six grandchildren.
The finalists from each of the four NADA regions and the national Dealer of the Year were chosen by a faculty member panel from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA.