NEW YORK — The nomination of Mark Porter, president of Mark Porter Chevrolet Buick GMC in Pomeroy, Ohio, for the 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced this week by TIME.
Porter is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 103rd annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 15, 2020. The announcement of this year’s annual award was made by Susanna Schrobsdorff, chief partnerships officer, TIME, and Doug Timmerman, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
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 also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Porter, 63, was chosen to represent the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition — one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 51st annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“Business growth and recognition is very gratifying,” nominee Porter said. “But, ultimately, the ability to assist my local community is the most rewarding piece of my automotive career.”
Porter served in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1977 and the Ohio Air National Guard from 1977 to 1985. He began his auto career working as a salesperson for Bobby Layman Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio, in 1978.
“I have always had an affinity for sales,” he said. “Selling newspapers became a pertinent source of money for my family when my father was in the military and deployed to Korea. Bobby Layman took an interest in my drive as well as my Eagle Scout designation and accomplishments.”
Porter counts his experience at Bobby Layman Chevrolet, where he worked until 1987, as sparking his passion for the car business. “The love for this job promoted my ability to be top salesperson within a couple of years,” he said. “And that ignited my dream to be a dealer one day.”
Over the following years, he moved to different dealerships throughout Ohio, turning around sales and moving up the management ranks. In 2006, he founded Mark Porter Auto Group, which today encompasses three Ohio new car dealerships in Pomeroy and Jackson and a used car “autoplex” in Athens. His wife, Theresa, and two sons, Chase and Chane, all contribute to the family enterprise.
“Due to my passion, drive and the great mentors who provided the tools, initiative and skills that allowed me to understand and run a dealership with optimum department metrics, I was able to achieve my dream,” he said. “I wake up every morning blessed with the opportunity to work side by side with my sons and wife in this business that we all equally love and live for.”
And he passes that good will onto his community as well. Porter sponsors area baseball teams, county fairs and high school fundraising initiatives. He donated toward the building of a new football stadium for Meigs High School in Pomeroy, a new field house for Alexander High School in Albany, Ohio, and new stadium lights for Trimble High School in Glouster, Ohio. And he supports the March of Dimes, 4-H, FFA (Future Farmers of America), the American Red Cross and other local and national organizations.
For his good works and contribution to the local economy, Porter’s company has received awards from the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce and the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
“The Porter family has yearly involvements with 11 counties, and we are proud to provide support and assistance when needed to local businesses and the community,” Porter said.
Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive an additional $10,000 to give to charity.
In its ninth year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will also be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com.
“The award applauds the incredible effort each of these dealers put into their businesses and their communities,” said Doug Timmerman, President of Auto Finance at Ally. “They are influential business leaders and admired ambassadors for worthy causes. It’s an honor for Ally to recognize their generosity and impact in cities and towns across America.”
Porter was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Zach Doran, president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Theresa, have two children.
Information provided by TIME Dealer of the Year.