DALLAS – Gary Rome, known for his kindness to others, his generosity in giving and his embrace of new technology, won the 2023 Time Dealer of the Year award in partnership with Ally Financial.
Rome (pictured, bottom left)owner of an eponymous Hyundai dealership in Holyoke, Mass., was honored at the 106th National Automobile Dealers Association Annual Convention.
The judges said they chose him because of his creed of treating employees and customers like family, embracing new technology and financially supporting a variety of causes.
National distributors were nominated for various positive initiatives.
A state-of-the-art modern store in Rome is powered by a solar field. He also increased investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and inventory.
He was one of the first U.S. dealers to sell Hyundai’s electric vehicles. His EV sales in 2022 are up 38% from the previous year.
The runner-up finalists are:
- Mark Brickey, Sand Mountain Toyota, Albertville, AL.
- Bruce Daniels, Honda Marysville, Marysville, Ohio.
- Tim Hutcherson, Donnie Nissan, Downey, Calif.
Doug Timmerman, president of Ally Auto, and Jessica Sibley, CEO of Time, declared Rome the winner in a convention ceremony honoring all 48 nominees.
“As the auto industry continues to evolve, auto dealers must continue to adopt new technologies that move the industry forward,” Timmerman said.
“Year after year, we see these auto dealerships go above and beyond for their customers, communities and employees,” he added.
Sibley said, “We are proud to continue this tradition of service work with our partners at Ally. “
Ally will donate $10,000 to a charity of Rome’s choice and $5,000 to each nonprofit chosen by the three finalists. Ally will also donate $1,000 to the charities chosen by each of the 48 nominees.
Roman is a second-generation dealer who, in addition to his Hyundai dealership, also owns a Kia store in Connecticut.
He supports various charities including the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Hyundai Hope on Wheels and Breast Cancer Research.
He has been credited for hosting milestone events for employees and the community, such as sweepstakes and themed luncheons.
He also hosts an annual program that rewards an outstanding Holyoke High senior with a new car.
A panel of U-M faculty selected the award recipients and regional finalists. Local and state dealer groups select national nominees.