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Headshot of Beth Beans Gilbert, a white woman with blonde hair and bangs wearing a blue snake-skin blazer and white top.

Beth Beans Gilbert

Fred Beans Automotive Group
Devon, Pennsylvania

“I find fulfillment in bringing talented individuals into the automotive industry, especially those who previously did not consider this path. I have prioritized mentoring women, mostly by recruiting them and supporting their advancement at Fred Beans Automotive Group.”

(New York, NY, October 18, 2022) – The nomination of Beth Beans Gilbert, president of Fred Beans Volkswagen of Devon in Devon, Pennsylvania, for the 2023 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.

Gilbert is one of a select group of 48 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 106th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Dallas, Texas, on January 27, 2023.

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The award recognizes the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Gilbert was chosen to represent the Pennsylvania Automotive Association in the national competition – one of only 48 auto dealers nominated for the 54th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.

“I find fulfillment in bringing talented individuals into the automotive industry, especially those who previously did not consider this path,” nominee Gilbert said. “I have prioritized mentoring women, mostly by recruiting them and supporting their advancement at Fred Beans Automotive Group.”

A 1986 graduate of Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, Gilbert always knew she wanted a career in the retail automotive business. She was inspired by her father, Fred Beans, who founded his dealership group in 1975, and she has been an integral part of the company’s growth.

“At 12 years old, I accompanied my father to work in one of his stores, where I filed paperwork,” Gilbert said. “After that, I wrote him a letter saying I wanted to be a top dealer just like him. I was drawn to the genuine love he has for his work.”

After college, she attended the NADA Academy and traveled the country to learn all aspects of the automotive business. By 1991, Gilbert was named general manager of Fred Beans Mitsubishi and was instrumental in bringing the Saturn franchise into the family dealership group.

“When I read about Saturn and its approach to selling cars, I knew I wanted to be affiliated with the brand and adopt its focus on both the customer experience and the community,” she said. Gilbert became general manager of both Saturn of Doylestown (Pennsylvania) and Saturn of Devon in 1993, the latter of which became Fred Beans Volkswagen of Devon in 2005.

She took over her current position as vice president of the Fred Beans Automotive Group in 1997 and today, works with her father, two sisters and husband in running the family enterprise that includes 23 dealerships in Pennsylvania and New Jersey representing 18 brands. “My role is to ensure the long-term viability of our company by focusing on the experiences of all involved – from our nearly 1,800 employees to customers to community partners,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert has long recognized the company’s reliance on the success of its employees. To that end, she spearheaded a healthy living program in 2018 that includes resources and fitness challenges throughout all Fred Beans locations. She also established a committee that raises funds to help employees in dire need.

All of these efforts have contributed to Fred Beans Automotive Group’s recognition by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work and Healthiest Employers in the Greater Philadelphia area.

“I can attribute so much of my own success to having my father as a mentor,” Gilbert said. “I say that my dad is the visionary, and I am the implementer, but I have had my own ideas over the years.”

One such brainstorm was to add an AutoExpress franchise to her company’s portfolio. She now oversees two of these quick-service centers in Langhorne and Doylestown, which provide a faster alternative to dealer-based service models.
Gilbert joined the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia early in her career and continues to serve the group by interviewing candidates for their technical school scholarship program. She also participates in the association’s Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation annual new-coat drive.

As president of the Fred Beans Charitable Trust/Foundation, she is proud to give back to the communities where her dealerships conduct business. The foundation was established to support regional initiatives and organizations that provide important services and those that improve the quality of life through education, the arts, and health and fitness.

“We have donated nearly $2 million to the YMCA of Bucks County for recent renovations and expansion projects and $1 million to Doylestown Hospital for its new Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion,” Gilbert said. “The foundation also provides annual scholarships and aids municipalities by purchasing new vehicles for police.”

To fight hunger during the pandemic, her company launched the Fred Beans 500,000 Meals Challenge in May of 2020, which dedicated a portion of sales and service bills to provide groceries for food pantries throughout the regions where Fred Beans operates. And the dealerships continued the program in 2021.

Gilbert has also served the Michener Art Museum; Doylestown Health Foundation; Central Bucks Regional Police Foundation; and Central Bucks School District; among others.

“We know we would never do well if our community was not doing well,” she said. “Leading by example and guided by strong family values of compassion, citizenship and responsibility, our family aims to make an impact with intentional giving at the local level.”

Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. 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. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity, donated by Ally.

In its 12th year as exclusive sponsor, Ally also will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will be recognized on, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.

“For over 50 years, TIME has been committed to recognizing the impact of automotive dealers on their communities with the TIME Dealer of the Year award," said Edward Felsenthal, editor in chief and CEO, TIME. "We are proud to continue the legacy of honoring these works of service with our partners at Ally.”

Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers across the country who are nominated for this award each year are committed to not only doing it right and leading in a rapidly changing automotive industry but to strengthening their communities through giving back. The TIME Dealer of the Year program celebrates dealers who are the role models of the retail auto industry for their continuous efforts to lift up and support their employees, customers and communities.”

Gilbert was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by John Devlin, president of the Pennsylvania Automotive Association. She and her husband, Christopher, have four children.