In October 2016, TIME nominated 50 automotive businesspeople for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award. Among them was Elizabethtown's own Carl Swope, CEO and President of the Swope Automotive Group. Update:Congratulations! Carl Swope is the Winner!
Carl Swope: TIME Dealer of the Year Nominee
What does the TIME Dealer of the Year Award Recognize?
TIME awards this prestigious recognition to only one American businessperson each year. The Dealer of the Year award recognizes not just stellar sales and a thriving business, but also community involvement, humanitarian work, and other altruism. In other words, it goes to dealers who "do it right" in their community.
"It is very apparent to us and our community how important a locally owned and community-engaged car dealership can be," - Carl Swope
Who is Carl Swope?
Carl Swope is a second-generation auto dealer with a vision and drive to restore and revitalize Elizabethtown. He's a local, having grown up working for his father's dealership and graduating from Elizabethtown High School in 1975. While earning his bachelor's degree in business administration, Swope was able to use his hands-on dealership experience to even help even IU Bloomington professors. "My sales and marketing professor was lamenting about the poor experience he had trying to purchase a car," recounts Swope, "so I took the opportunity to formally introduce myself and solve his problem." Swope went on to sell vehicles to other faculty and friends while at school.
With his degree in hand, Swope returned to Elizabethtown and got back to work. Swope helped bridge the gap between the way cars were sold in the 1980s and how the Swope Group sells them now. He focused on removing the stress and confusion that still dominates the car-buying experience at many other dealerships.
How has Carl Swope Helped the Community?
Swope has helped and encourages others to help the following programs and initiatives: Hardin Memorial Health Foundation, Knox Regional Developmental Alliance, Lincoln Heritage Council for Boy Scouts of America, Elizabethtown Tourism Commission, Elizabethtown Airport Board, Habitat for Humanity, and United Way.
Of all his awards, the one Swope most prizes is a block of wood with a bent nail attached. It was presented after he and the Swope team sponsored a local house build for Habitat for Humanity in 2004. It sits proudly on the corner of his desk. To Swope, it represents working together with his team and sharing a common goal of helping a family in need in the community.