Florida Dealer Ken Marks Nominated for TIME Dealer of the Year Award
(New York, NY, October 21, 2019) – The nomination of Ken Marks, dealer principal at Tallahassee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Tallahassee, Florida,for the 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Marks 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 February 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. Marks, 58, was chosen to represent the Florida 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.
“Our dealerships ability to endure through good and bad economic times –and consistently provide a fulfilling work environment where employees prosper and grow – is very rewarding to me,” nominee Marks said.
A 1983 graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he studied business and communications, Marks began his career working in his father’s Ford dealership in Clearwater, Florida, in 1984.
“I purchased a majority of our Ford dealership in 1994,” he explained. “Years later, I merged my dealership into Sonic Automotive to go public in 1998 and bought my current dealership in Tallahassee in 2000.” He currently partners in the business with Chuck Urban, general manager.
Marks contributes to numerous charitable organizations in both the Tampa Bay area and the Tallahassee region. The groups that are closest to his heart include the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and YMCA of the Suncoast. “Helping young people, who by no fault of their own, are in difficult family situations, is a passion of mine,” he said. “My drive is to support them and help provide the foundation from which they can propel themselves forward in their own lives.”
A lifetime member of his local Optimist Club and a benefactor of his alma mater, Florida State University, and his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, Marks also supports Harborside Christian Church in Safety Harbor, Florida, and Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization, as well as groups that assist first responders.
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, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
“It’s an incredible honor to recognize these dealers for their business accomplishments and their unwavering commitment to ‘Do It Right’ by helping others in their communities,” Timmerman said. “They are extraordinary auto leaders who care and go the extra mile to give of themselves to make their communities stronger. Ally is proud to support and celebrate their achievements.”
Marks was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Terri, have six children.
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