TIME AND ALLY FINANCIAL HONOR MONTICELLO DEALER
Bill Abbott Wins National Recognition for Community Service and Industry Accomplishments at NADA Convention
The nomination of Bill Abbott, president of Bill Abbott Inc., a Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealer in Monticello, Illinois, for the 2016 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced by TIME.
Abbott is one of a select group of 50 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 99th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 1, 2016. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Meredith Long, publisher, TIME, and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
“The TIME Dealer of the Year award nominees are business leaders and pillars of their communities, who have each given generously to support important charitable causes,” said Russi. “Ally is proud to honor these dealers and to recognize their commitment to making a difference.”
In its fifth 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. Abbott, 78, was chosen to represent the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 50 auto dealers from 16,000 nationwide – nominated for the 47th 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.
Bill Abbott Inc.
“As an auto dealer, I think it’s important to give back to our community. I particularly enjoy serving our local schools in any way that I can.”
A 1955 graduate of Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Illinois, Abbott earned a B.S. in industrial administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1962 and served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. He worked on an assembly line in Clinton, Illinois, before landing a position as parts and service manager at Buchanan Buick in Monticello in 1958 and later as a district manager for General Motors’ Buick division from 1962 to 1967.
“I grew up in a small town and put myself through school,” he said. “During my employment with Buchanan Buick, Mr. Buchanan discovered my abilities and encouraged me in my desire to be an automobile dealer. Eventually, I had the opportunity to purchase that dealership in 1967.” Abbott’s stepson, Travis Fox, who graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy in McLean, Virginia, is now general manager of his dealership.
Abbott is deeply rooted in the community and has been a member of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Monticello since 1967, serving as president of each organization during his tenure (in 1977 and 1990, respectively). He was recognized by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow five times for his contribution to Rotary causes. “The honor is important to me because I greatly respect the organization and its efforts to serve communities locally and globally, particularly in their fight to eliminate polio,” he said.
An elder and member of First Presbyterian Church in Monticello since 1979, Abbott is also committed to giving back to children in his area. He has provided driver’s education vehicles to area schools for decades, as well as to local Boy Scout troops and to the athletic department at the University of Illinois. And he sponsors area Little League teams and the Piatt County Trail Blazers Rodeo, plus donates to the Kirby Foundation to benefit Kirby Medical Center in Monticello. “We also donated more than $85,000 to the Monticello school district for scoreboards in gymnasiums and fields,” Abbott said.
In addition, he currently serves on the boards of First State Bankcorp in Monticello and the Monticello Industrial Action Corporation, and he enjoys membership in the University of Illinois Presidents Council and alumni association.
Abbott was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Peter Sander, president of the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Tamara, have three children and five grandchildren.