Rick Gallaer Wins National Recognition for Community Service and Industry Accomplishments at NADA Convention
(New York, NY, October 23, 2014) – The nomination of Rick Gallaer, president of Pomoco Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Newport News in Newport News, Virginia, for the 2015 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Gallaer 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. Gallaer, 71, was chosen to represent the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA) 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.
“My greatest professional honor was serving as chairman of the VADA board,” nominee Gallaer said. “It is a great association and has represented Virginia automobile dealers well for many years. I was proud that my peers and colleagues in the Commonwealth believed in me enough to elect me chairman.”
He added, “I learned how crucial associations like VADA and NADA are to protecting the interest of dealers both in their respective states and in Congress, and how we can work with legislatures to craft reasonable laws that protect dealers and consumers alike.”
A 1961 graduate of Hampton High School in Hampton, Virginia, Gallaer attended North Carolina’s Chowan University in Murfreesboro and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in math. He also served in the United States Air Force Reserves, 27th Medical Squadron, from 1963 to 1969.
After working as an accountant for Mason & Company in Newport News, Gallaer accepted a job as controller for Center Ford, also in Newport News, in 1969. “I was hired as comptroller but quickly added responsibility for the rental car department, investment management and fixed assets,” he said. He worked there until 1984 when he joined the Pomoco Auto Group. He was named president in 1992, and today, he oversees two dealerships in Newport News and three in Hampton.
Gallaer was not only tapped to lead his dealership association, but also to head civic initiatives. He’s most proud of his work with VersAbility Resources, an organization that supports the critical needs of people with disabilities with employment, community living and daily support. VersAbility partners with business to place people with disabilities in challenging and rewarding jobs. “A job is one of the most important things a person can have,” he said. “Besides earning a wage, jobs give us a purpose and pride. And for those in our communities, jobs take on a crucial role, both for the individual and the family.” Gallaer is currently vice chairman of the organization and will become chairman in 2016.
In addition, Gallaer lends his time and talent to the Virginia Air & Space Center as vice chairman of development, Greater Peninsula NOW and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Bethany United Methodist Church in Hampton, where he’s been co-lay leader since 2004 and a Sunday school teacher for 32 years.
While he has been awarded several citizenship awards, including the Patrick Henry Award in 2001 by Governor James Gilmore, he’s most proud of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Southeast Citizen of the Year award given to him in 2012. “This is an honor which recognizes an individual’s contribution to the Southeast community,” Gallaer said. “Past recipients have included business leaders, religious leaders and city council members.” The Citizen of the Year is honored at a banquet and during the Southeast Community Day parade.
Gallaer was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Donald L. Hall, president and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Brigid, have two children and four grandchildren.