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Colleen Chapleski

Colleen Chapleski

Dean Arbour Ford of Tawas

Tawas City, Michigan

“Continuing my father's legacy in the car business is very rewarding to me. He built his career on taking care of his employees and customers while creating a successful business. He also instilled the traits of honesty and integrity in his employees, and I am proud to carry on his vision.”

Chapleski earned a degree in business administration from Michigan State University in East Lansing in 1987 before joining the family enterprise as a finance manager and then office manager. Her father, John Dean Arbour, founded his first Ford dealership in Pinconning, Michigan, in 1970. Today, the Dean Arbour Auto Group encompasses Michigan dealerships in Tawas City, East Tawas, Alpena, West Branch and Pinconning, representing brands Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet and Cadillac. Her brother, husband and two daughters are all part of the business.


A 1989 graduate of the NADA Academy, Chapleski counts working with her father and being involved in NADA 20 Groups, a networking and knowledge-sharing program, with contributing to her success in the retail automotive industry. And she is proud to be the first woman to serve as president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, a position she held for the year 2019.


“This opportunity allowed me to have a voice and open the door for future women dealers,” she said. “I have two daughters considering a career in the automotive field, and we need to continue to make our business accessible to the next generation of women. It also brought to light the coming changes that will affect the automotive industry – such as semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles – and how these technologies have a significant impact on my business and my employees.”


In addition to providing insights on managing a successful dealership, Chapleski’s father also instilled in her a passion for giving back. “The example my dad set for me when I started in the automotive industry is something that has led me to get involved in the community,” she said. “He made it a priority to make a positive impact in the areas where our dealerships are located.”


To that end, she recently created the Dean Arbour Memorial Scholarship, which will honor her father and help local students further their educations. She also supports the Tawas Area Sports Boosters and Ford Drive 4 UR School, a program that generates money for local schools when test drives are taken.


Organizations that Chapleski’s dealership has supported include: Toys for Tots of Iosco County; Iosco County Humane Society; Camp Fish Tales (an accessible camp in Pinconning that serves children with disabilities); Ducks Unlimited (Huron Shores Chapter); Wurtsmith Air Museum (Oscoda, Michigan); Special Olympics and many others.


Chapleski was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Terry Burns, executive vice president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. She and her husband, Scott, have two children.