Charles Notbohm is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 3, 2024.
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. Notbohm was chosen to represent the Montana Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“The most rewarding part of my job as dealer principal is watching my employees advance in their careers,” nominee Notbohm said. “I value our many great team members who are able to see and understand my vision, supporting it with their dedication and hard work while growing both personally and professionally.”
Notbohm is a 1970 graduate of Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota, where he earned a B.S. in music and business. He also served in the United States Army. For 14 years, he worked as a public school teacher in a small, rural farming community in North Dakota before switching gears and pursuing a career in the car business.
“My first Chevrolet store in Mohall, North Dakota, had seven employees and sold 15 vehicles a month,” he said. “The teaching experience taught me how to guide, motivate, and encourage individuals to obtain goals and ambitions. And that training helped us grow in those early years.”
Notbohm soon added Oldsmobile to his growing business and by the early 1990s, he was looking for other opportunities. He purchased a General Motors store in Miles City in 1995, leaving North Dakota for a new experience in Montana.
“The building was aged and did not provide enough space to grow the business,” he said. Notbohm built a new dealership that was completed in 1999 and has since added service bays and a standalone Quick Lube facility to accommodate the needs of his customers. In 2022, he acquired Two Rivers Ford, also in Miles City, expanding the Notbohm Auto Group’s footprint in the area.
A longtime board member of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association, where he served as president and vice president, Notbohm is committed to advocating for dealers on a state and national level.
“The influence that we can assert with our legislative and congressional representatives is important when you see how much governmental decisions can affect the dealer and the way we do business,” he said.
In the area of community service, Notbohm supports organizations that directly impact the youth in his area including 4-H, youth hockey, soccer, baseball, local rodeos, the CABA (Continental Amateur Baseball Association) World Series, Miles City ROCKS (Raising Our Community Kids Safely), Special Olympics Montana and Erin’s Hope Project, which arranges outdoor adventures for children with life-threatening illnesses.
“One year, our team selected a youth organization each month to bring awareness to and to support through donations that were determined by the number of sales we made in that particular month,” he said.
Notbohm has also contributed his time to the boards of Holy Rosary Healthcare and SCL Health, which is now Intermountain Healthcare, where he currently serves on the regional board.
“I have partnered with the Holy Rosary Foundation on fundraising events, such as car raffles, which resulted in hospital upgrades” he said. “My role with Intermountain Healthcare allows me to discuss and implement initiatives to meet the needs of the communities we serve, from transportation for the elderly to behavioral health options to affordable healthcare.”
A member of the First United Methodist Church in Miles City, where he has served as music director and on several committees, Notbohm gives back on a regular basis. He supports Wake Up & Lace Up, which helps pay medical expenses for people battling cancer and other serious conditions. And his annual Helping Hands initiative provides free car service and repairs for people in need right before the holidays.
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 13th 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 AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
“At TIME, we are proud to uphold the decades-long tradition of honoring automotive dealers who make a positive impact and show dedication to their communities through our TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said TIME CEO Jessica Sibley. “We are excited to keep this tradition of applauding these community contributions together with our partners at Ally.”
Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to not only the industry but to their respective communities through volunteerism, sponsorships, and supporting charitable causes, no matter the market climate. Whether their clients are purchasing a first car or upgrading for a growing family, these selected dealers have successfully extended their relationships beyond the showroom and have been steadfast in driving their communities forward.”
Notbohm was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Bruce Knudsen, executive vice president of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife Mary have two children.