In an inaugural event, the Florida Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) on November 2 inducted 15 legendary automotive retailers into its Hall of Fame, recognizing each individual for their commitment to excellent service and determination to succeed.
CBT News was honored to be represented by its news anchor and co-founder Jim Fitzpatrick, who introduced the FADA Hall of Fame’s first-ever inductees.
Claude Nolan: An early pioneer of the automobile industry, Nolan was the FADA’s first chairman and opened Jacksonville’s very first automobile dealership in 1905. He was also the first retailer to introduce the concept of paying for vehicles in installments, drastically improving access to the then-rudimentary technology. Although he passed in 1943, his legacy of innovation and groundbreaking achievements continues to inspire Florida’s dealer community today.
Mario Murgado: Murgado won the Time Quality Dealer’s award for Florida and chaired the FADA from 2006 to 2007. With a career marked by visionary leadership, he redefined the landscape of his dealerships, propelling them to become premier performers for both General Motors and Honda. Today, Murgado Automotive Group continues to expand, owning 25 rooftops and employing 1,322 associates across four states.
J. Saxton Lloyd: Lloyd was responsible for the rebirth of the FADA after World War II and co-founded the Daytona Motor Company in 1930. He joined the industry during a challenging time in America’s history, becoming the sole dealer of Lloyd Buck Cadillac at the age of 27 in the midst of the Second World War and the Great Depression. However, his visionary approach to leadership and retail led him to propose innovative strategies for reorganizing the FADA, which he led from 1945 to 1946, and expanding its membership base. Lloyd passed away in 1991, but current generations have continued to take inspiration from his community spirit and commitment to excellence.
W. Theo Proctor Sr.: Proctor opened a dealership in Tallahassee in 1910 and established Proctor & Proctor Inc., an entity that remains one of the oldest corporations on record within the state of Florida. Today’s dealers remember him as more than a savvy and passionate businessman. Proctor was one of the first to realize the pivotal role dealer associations play in shaping the automotive landscape and led the charge to increase their influence and strengthen their voice. He served as the FADA’s chairman from 1937 to 1941. Although Proctor would pass away in 1986, his dealerships continued to thrive in Florida, run by his descendants.
George Nahas: Nahas is the owner and general manager of George Nahas Chevrolet in Wildwood, Florida. A talented salesman, he rose quickly through the retail automotive ranks. In 1972, just two years after entering the industry, Nahas was promoted to the position of sales manager after selling a record-breaking 1,200 vehicles. Nahas was the first Floridian to receive the prestigious National TIME Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year award. Today, he continues to support dealers in their efforts to deliver the best service.
Walter McRae Sr.: McRae was a pioneer in the automotive business in Florida. A chair of both the FADA and the National Automobile Dealers Association, his leadership left an indelible mark on the retail automotive sector. McRae was one of 32 Ford dealers invited by Henry Ford II to Dearborn, Michigan, in 1945 to help plan the rebirth of the retail automotive business after the end of World War II. Although he passed in 1966, his business, Duval Motor Company, continues to deliver excellent service and is in its 107th year of operation.
Mike Meagher: Meagher was considered a dealer’s dealer and was known for his legislative advocacy. FADA’s Day on the Hills is named in his honor. He was an active participant in both his community and the automotive world, donating generous amounts to multiple hospitals and treatment centers. Meagher played a crucial role in defending the franchise system protecting the livelihood of dealers for decades to come. In 2013, Meagher passed away at the age of 69, but his legacy endures through the lives he touched, the mentorship he offered to his colleagues, and the lasting contributions he made to the automotive landscape.
Glenn Ritchey: From 2006 to 2012, Ritchey served as the Mayor of Daytona Beach and is a 20-time Chevrolet Dealer of the Year. Apart from being a great leader, his passion for philanthropy earned him numerous accolades, honoring his community service and donations to charity. Ritchey served as Chairman of the Chevrolet6 National Dealer Council and the General Motors National Dealer Council. He was also the FADA chair from 1992 to 1993. Today, he holds the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at Jon Hall Automotive Group, Ritchey Automotive Group, and Southeast Automotive Management.
Rick Case: Case was arguably one of the best marketing minds for the retail automotive business and a pioneer of the 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty in the U.S. For 60 years, he served as the founder of Chief Executive Officer of Rick Case Automotive Group, where his innovative leadership and steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction redefined what it means to be a dealer. Case and his wife, Rita, established 16 dealerships across Cleveland, Atlanta, and South Florida. Case Honda is the most awarded volume Honda dealership in American Honda’s history. He passed away in 2020 at the age of 77, following a brief battle with cancer.
Robert McElheny: McElheny’s passion for the FADA was undeniable as he chaired the Legislative Committee for six years. Active in the political landscape of Anna Maria Island, McElheny embraces the role of City Commissioner and Vice Mayor, channeling his dedication to public service into meaningful action. Within the automotive industry, he helped grow the esteemed Abraham Chevrolet and Gator Ford and dedicated his time and energy to leading the FADA’s legislative efforts. McElheny sadly passed away earlier this year, but his legacy as a leader, advocate, and community builder continues to inspire and uplift.
James L. Ferman Jr.: Ferman is the chairman of Ferman Motor Car Company and its 11 affiliated automobile dealerships headquartered in Tampa. The Ferman family business is ranked as one of the largest dealership groups in Florida and in the U.S., with more than 1,300 employees and annual sales of over $1 billion. His civic and community involvement includes leadership roles at The United Way of Hillsborough County, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, The Tampa Museum of Art, The Florida Aquarium, and the Ocean Conservancy.
Anthony Abraham: Abraham was a prominent figure in Coral Gables, Florida, with a life marked by outstanding achievements in business, philanthropy, and community engagement. He was the owner of Anthony Abraham Chevrolet of Miami, the world’s largest Chevy dealership, and Abraham Chevrolet of Tampa. He served on the boards of renowned organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Bank Audi, Miami Heart Institute, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and the Catholic Campaign for America. Although he has passed away, his philanthropic endeavors and dedication to charitable causes have left an impact that is being carried on through the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation.
Dwayne Hawkins: founder of the Crown Automotive Group, Hawkins’ visionary leadership, philanthropic endeavors, and commitment to excellence continue to resonate, leaving an enduring legacy in Florida and beyond. From humble beginnings at a single Pontiac dealership, he crafted a legacy that blossomed into one of the nation’s largest privately owned dealership groups, running 22 dealerships in three states and employing a dedicated workforce of 1,200 individuals. Beyond his exceptional business acumen, he was distinguished by his commitment to philanthropy, which saw him lend his leadership talents to the All Children’s Hospital Foundation, Pinellas Education Foundation, and Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation. His dealerships earned the “Feeding Children Everywhere’s National Legacy” award after packaging over 1 million meals and constructed ten homes for Habitat for Humanity.
Larry Morgan: Morgan is the chairman of Morgan Auto Group, which has amassed an empire of 66 dealerships throughout Florida with revenue approaching 10 billion dollars. The group ranks 8 in the top 150 dealership groups and is the second largest privately owned automotive group in the U.S. In 2012, Morgan received the Golden Flame of Philanthropy for charitable giving and service to BayCare Health Systems and Morton Plant Mease Hospitals. He currently serves on the Florida Council on Economic Education.
Sam Galloway Jr.: Galloway was at the helm of the esteemed Sam Galloway Family of Dealerships in Fort Myers, Florida. At the age of 27, he was the youngest Ford Dealer in the nation, a distinction that underscored his innate leadership and entrepreneurial prowess. Under Galloway’s guidance, Sam Galloway Ford emerged as a beacon of excellence, earning the coveted accolade of being named a Top 100 Dealership in the U.S. Galloway founded the Fort Myers Soup Kitchen, a compassionate endeavor that has since evolved into the Community Cooperative, an organization that seeks to alleviate hunger and make a meaningful difference on the lives of those in southwest Florida. Galloway passed away at the of 76 in 2021.