TIME has announced the nomination of James Hagan, president of Bald Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep Kia in Warwick, for the 2014 TIME Dealer of the Year award.
Hagan is one of a select group of 57 dealer nominees from across the country that will be honored at the 97th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 25, 2014. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Jed Hartman, group publisher, Time Inc. News and Business, and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
“The dealers nominated for this award are community heroes, as well as economic and civic leaders, who have time and again shown their dedication to making a difference,” Russi said in a statement. “Ally is pleased to once again be supporting these dealers in their efforts to create vibrant, thriving communities.”
In its third year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s charity of choice. Nominees will also be recognized on the recently launched website, AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of auto dealers across the U.S.
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 longstanding commitment to community service.
Hagan, 57, was chosen to represent the Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 57 auto dealers from 17,000 nationwide – nominated for the 45th annual award. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.
“As a member of a family-run dealership, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction in running the business with integrity and professionalism,” Hagan said in a release. “Another equally rewarding aspect is the employees that work with us on a daily basis. I strive hard to value their input in almost every major decision. Their dedication is unsurpassed. Without our great employees and our loyal customers, we are nothing.”
Hagan didn’t start out in the car business. A 1974 graduate of Toll Gate High School, he earned a B.S. degree in marketing from the University of Rhode Island in 1978 and worked in technology sales for 10 years. At age 33, he joined his father’s dealership.
“My dad needed someone to come into the business from the family and run the operations,” he said.
Hagan opened a Kia store, also in Warwick, in 2008.
“The most rewarding thing in this business is the opportunity to work with my dad,” Hagan added. “He still works with us at 89 years old. He was incredibly supportive and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
His uncle and cousin are also actively involved in the company.
Hagan feels he gained tremendous insights by working in an industry other than the retail automotive business early in his career.
“I always look at our dealership as if I was on the outside looking in,” he explained. “How would I like to be treated? What would my first impression be like? What is the message that would make me tell my friends? What is the dealer’s reputation? These are some of the questions that have helped me do the right things for our customers.”
Hagan is proud of his ongoing work with area youth through the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership.
“It is a weekly commitment of one hour to help a local student that needs guidance through school or life struggles,” Hagan said. “It truly is an amazing experience to be able to be a factor in a kid’s life and to help them through the potholes they face. A little time can go a long way to a young person who can use some help in his or her life.”
Hagan was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Jack A. Perkins, executive vice president of the Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association. Hagan and his wife, Judith, have one son.