The nomination of Bill Hellman Jr., dealer at Hellman Motor Company, a Ford and Toyota dealer in Delta, for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced this week by TIME.
Hellman is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 27. The announcement of this year's nominees was made by Meredith Long, SVP, GM, News & Luxury, TIME, and Tim Russi, president of auto finance for Ally Financial.
"We are excited about the extraordinary group of nominees that are in the running for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award," said Russi. "These dealers have been recognized for the ways that they 'do it right' in their communities, and we look forward to sharing their stories over the next few months and celebrating their accomplishments at the NADA convention in January."
In its sixth 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. Hellman, 63, was chosen to represent the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition -- one of only 49 auto dealers from 16,000 nationwide -- nominated for the 48th 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.
"My father once said that when you leave this world, all you can leave is your good name," nominee Hellman said. "And I strive to live up to his name and reputation."
Hellman is a 1971 graduate of Delta High School. He attended Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) in Grand Junction and Western State College of Colorado (now Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, where he was on the dean's list and earned a degree in business with a minor in accounting in 1975.
His father, who founded Bill Hellman Motor Company in 1955, was a great influence on his life. "I started working at the dealership at age 9, sweeping and waxing floors," he remembered. After college, he became a fulltime employee and eventually took over the operation, which he owns with his brother Matt. His brother Tim owns Hellman Chevrolet Buick, also in Delta. And he is proud that his son and daughter are involved in the family business.
"During my father's more than 54 years in Delta, he was the man behind the scenes," Hellman said. "He worked to get numerous businesses to locate here, developed an industrial park and helped existing businesses relocate and thrive. He even went on recruiting trips with the governor and staff to bring businesses to the state."
And all that work did not go unnoticed by the people of Delta. "After my father died, the community recognized his achievements," Hellman said. "They built a park bench in his name at the recreation center, the state flew a flag in honor of him at the Capitol and a building for hospice bears his name."
Bill's father instilled in him a strong sense of responsibility and a deep love of his community. These honorable attributes have led to Bill's involvement in numerous community projects and sponsorships within the area encouraging and coaching youth sports, student agricultural involvement, FFA scholarships through Ford Motor Company and also one of his most meaningful civic projects, working on a youth sports complex from 2001 to 2006. "I was co-chair of the project and after countless meetings locally, we finally received funding and contributions to get it moving," he said. Unfortunately, after long deliberation, the city council made the decision not to proceed with the complex. It taught me there are some things you can't control no matter how well you have prepared."
A member and former president of the Rotary Club of Delta and 41-year member of the Delta Elks Lodge, Hellman has also devoted his time to the board of Delta Area Development Inc. (now known as Delta County Economic Development), Colorado Mesa University and currently serves on the boards of Uncompahgre Development Company and Delta County Memorial Hospital. He is a parishioner at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Delta, where he has served as president of the parish council and finance committee chair. Bill Hellman is well known throughout the Delta community and the surrounding area for his generous monetary contributions, as well as his time, in support of the many worthwhile charitable projects with which he is requested to participate.
Hellman was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jeanie, have two children and four grandchildren.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.