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Here come the judges

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Here come the judges

Who doesn’t want to be “on top of the list, head of the heap, king (or queen) of the hill?” Frank Sinatra did, and he sang about it in “New York, New York.”

For Dan and Diane Hennelly, the city of choice is Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale. From humble beginnings, they have created a highly profitable, well-respected 35-store chain in Florida. For their efforts, they are the 2013 Tire Dealer of the Year Award winners.

Modern Tire Dealer created the award, which has been given out 21 times. Every year, we organize the entries and  interview the nominees. We do the heavy lifting, so to speak.

But we don’t choose the winners. Our impartial judges do that. They rank the dealers based on five criteria: business success, marketing skills, management skills, industry knowledge and community involvement.

The rankings receive a corresponding point total, and the dealer with the most points is named Tire Dealer of the Year. None of the judges know how the others voted.

Our judges are extremely qualified. Longtime tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig recently retired after judging the first 20 Tire Dealer of the Year competitions. He was replaced by two judges: John Healy and Nick Mitchell, both research analysts with Northcoast Research Holdings LLC in Cleveland, Ohio.

That leaves Richard Morgan, president of Morgan Marketing Solutions in Dallas, Texas, as the longest sitting judge. He began his open-ended term in 1996. Morgan’s experience in both the tire manufacturing and tire retailing sectors gives him a unique perspective that serves him (and us!) well as a judge.

Our fourth judge this year was Wayne Williams. He is president of ExSell Marketing Inc., a counter intelligence firm based in La Habra, Calif. He has been on board for two years.

We try to make sure a former Tire Dealer of the Year is a judge every year, for who better to understand what it takes to win? This year, it was Tom Raben, president of Raben Tire Co. Inc. in Evansville, Ind., and our 2002 winner.

The Hennellys received high marks from all five judges, although their title wasn’t secured until the last judge sent in his results. As the judges told us, this year’s nominees were quite strong.

Every one of our winners has been deserving. Here is a list of our past Tire Dealers of the Year.

2012: Bob Sullivan, Sullivan Tire Co. Inc., Norwell, Mass.

2011: Nick Mitsos, Mountain View Tire & Service Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

2010: John Snider, Snider Tire Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

2009: Bill Ziegler, Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., Massillon, Ohio.

2008: Ken Towery, Ken Towery’s AutoCare SuperCenter, Louisville, Ky.

2007: Charlie Creighton, Colony Tire Corp., Edenton, N.C.

2006: Bill Williams, Jack Williams Tire Co., Moosic, Pa.

2005: Paul Zurcher, Zurcher Tire Inc., Monroe, Ill.

2004: Bob and Juanita Purcell, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., Potosi, Mo.

2003: John Marshall, Grismer Tire Co. Inc., Dayton, Ohio.

2002: Tom Raben, Raben Tire Co., Evansville, Ind.

2001: Larry Morgan, Morgan Tire & Auto Inc., Clearwater, Fla.

2000: Les Schwab, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Prineville (now Bend), Ore.

1999: Raynal Pearson, Pearson Tire Co., Richfield, Utah.

1998: Tom Gegax, Team Tires Plus Ltd., Minneapolis, Minn.

1997: Walt Dealtrey Sr., Service Tire Truck Centers, Bethlehem, Pa.

1996: David Stringer, Stringer Tire Co., Jacksonville, Fla.

1995: Tony Troilo, Rosson & Troilo Motor Co., Brandy Station, Va.

1994: Jerry Bauer, Bauer Built Inc., Durand, Wis.

1993: Barry Steinberg, Direct Tire & Auto Service, Watertown, Mass.

MTD will donate $1,000 and a percentage of congratulatory ad revenue to the Hennellys’ charity of choice, Autism Speaks. The Tire Choice suppliers that ran ads in this year’s section also deserve thanks. They are: American Car Care Centers, American Tire Distributors, Amprop Development Corp., Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Autopart International Inc., Bridgestone Americas Inc., Florida Tire Supply Co., Hunter Engineering Co., Michelin North America Inc., Myers Tire Supply Co., NAPA Auto Parts, Navex Inc., Pirelli Tire North America, Rotary Lift, Tire Centers LLC, Valassis Communications Inc., Valvoline and Yokohama Tire Corp.    ■

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