HMH Foundation Board Member Carl Swope has been named the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year.
Swope was selected from a group of 49 nominees from across the country, and recognized at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans on Jan. 27.
As part of the honor of being nominated for this prestigious award, Ally Financial makes a donation to the charity of the nominee’s choice. Swope chose to donate his gift to the HMH Foundation, which advances healthcare throughout the 10-County region served by Hardin Memorial Health.
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. Swope, 59, was chosen to represent the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers from 16,000 nationwide – nominated for the 48th annual award.
“I have realized how powerful a force our dealerships can be if I encourage and support all of our leadership and associates to get involved,” Swope said about his efforts in the community. “Together, we are making Elizabethtown and the central Kentucky region a better place.”
Swope graduated from Elizabethtown High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and earned a B.S. in business administration from Indiana University Bloomington in 1978.
A second-generation automobile dealer, Swope followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle who opened their first dealerships in 1952. He has worked in all phases of the retail automobile business at his family stores, and he even sold cars to friends and faculty while studying at Indiana University. Today, he oversees six dealerships representing nine brands in Elizabethtown and Radcliff, Kentucky.
Since the early days of his career, Swope has worked tirelessly to support a wide range of civic activities, from helping families at nearby Fort Knox to raising money to restore the historic downtown district.
In the early 1990s, Swope helped establish the local affiliate for Habitat for Humanity and the statewide Kentucky Habitat. In 1997, he helped organize a Jimmy Carter Work Project called Hammering in the Hills where President Carter, Mrs. Carter and volunteers built more than 50 homes in Pike County over a one-week period. Swope remains active in Habitat for Humanity projects, working with his colleagues to help families in his community.
Swope’s associates have followed his lead, and also make important contributions to the community. They renovate offices and classrooms for local nonprofit organizations and schools through a United Way-sponsored effort called Project United. They also fill backpacks with nutritious food for children in need and prepare care packages for deployed soldiers.
Swope currently serves on the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President’s Circle; the Knox Regional Development Alliance; Lincoln Heritage Council for the Boy Scouts of America; Elizabethtown Tourism Commission; Elizabethtown Airport Board; and Hardin Memorial Health Foundation.
Swope was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Gay F. Williams, president of the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association. Swope and his wife, Anne, have three children and three grandchildren.
The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan selects one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.