Time And Ally Financial Honor FDL Auto Dealer
The nomination of Mike Shannon, president of Holiday Automotive, a Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Mazda dealer in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, for the 2015 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Shannon is one of a select group of 55 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 98th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in San Francisco, California, on January 23, 2015. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Jed Hartman, group publisher, worldwide, TIME, and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
“The dealers nominated for this award are dedicated business owners, auto lovers and, most importantly, champions for their local communities, with a willingness to give back on a grand scale,” said Russi. “Ally is proud to honor and support these dealers as they work today and tomorrow to build better places to live, work and do business.”
In its fourth 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.
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. Shannon, 62, was chosen to represent the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 55 auto dealers from 17,000 nationwide – nominated for the 46th 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 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.
“Growing what was a small, hometown Oldsmobile dealership with 30 employees in 1972 into a respected, multi-line automotive dealership, which provides employment for 270 people and enjoys its place as a volume leader with an excellent track record in satisfying customers, is most rewarding to me,” nominee Shannon said.
A 1970 graduate of L.P. Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Shannon earned an associate’s degree in marketing from Moraine Park Technical College, also in Fond du Lac, in 1972. He chose selling cars over selling insurance as his first job out of college and began his career at Holiday Oldsmobile in his hometown. “Turns out I had a knack for it and fell in love with sales and cars,” Shannon said. “The business was energizing and a deeply satisfying outlet for my initiative, marketing mind and talents.”
At age 28, Shannon purchased a small share of the dealership. “With full moral support and encouragement from my wife, Rita, we took on the financial responsibility and debt, the challenges and competitiveness, the long hours and dedication to making it work,” he said. Over time, he evolved into the sole owner of the company. “I am humbled and grateful to say that 42 years later, I’m still a car salesman and very proud of it,” he added. Today, his son, two sons-in-law and one of his daughters also work at the dealership.
With a lifelong connection to Fond du Lac, Shannon created the Mike Shannon Automotive Foundation 10 years ago, which helps fund meaningful projects. “This endeavor allows us another forum to be a good neighbor and demonstrate good citizenship,” he said. “In recent years, we have donated more than $250,000 annually to local organizations and charities.”
He is also proud of his work on the board of St. Mary’s Springs Academy (SMSA) from 2006 to 2011, which helped lay the groundwork and executed a plan to merge all grades into one Pre-K through 12 Catholic school system. In 2015, SMSA will begin a $20 Million new school and remodeling construction project. Shannon and his wife have joined many other SMSA supporters to help make this dream a reality.
As a member of Holy Family Parish, the Shannons mentor couples before marriage. They also support many local organizations including Agnesian HealthCare Foundation (board member), Hospice Hope Cancer Care Charity Open (Past Chair), St. Francis Home (Past Board Member and Chair), United Way (Past Chair of the Area Campaign), THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts, Marian University, The Fond du Lac Blue Line Hockey Club and many other worthwhile organizations.
In 2013, Shannon received the Marian University George Becker Business Spirit award, which honors an individual, company, charitable organization or civic group whose good business practices benefit the community. “I am particularly proud of this award because it recognized not only me, but our company and team for its quality business practices, integrity, track record of success and the positive impact of our dealership within our local community,” he said.
Shannon was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by William Sepic, president of the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association. He and his wife, Rita, have four children and 12 grandchildren.