A standout high school athlete who excelled in football, basketball and track, Banister played basketball on a full NCAA Division 1 scholarship for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in criminal justice. He brought that same competitive spirit and motivation to his first job in the retail automotive business, working as a salesperson at Independence Nissan in Charlotte right out of college. The job would be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership with Nissan.
“I made it a point to learn every position in the company. My motto is, ‘Know how to do the job before you get the job.’”
He advanced through the dealership but his strong people skills made him a natural in sales. In 1998, Banister was given the opportunity to run a failing Nissan store in Rock Hill, South Carolina, as the general manager. “In short order, we were able to turn around the dealership in both sales and profitability."
That achievement led to an offer at Victory Nissan in Chesapeake in 2001, where Banister’s creative and engaging television and radio ads featuring “Dan the Man,” his moniker, helped him build another success story.
“I was happy with my accomplishments, but I wanted an opportunity to own my own store." And in 2010, that dream became a reality when he and a partner purchased Victory Nissan. By 2017, Banister bought out his partner and is now the principal owner of two Virginia dealerships, Banister Nissan of Chesapeake and Banister Nissan of Norfolk.
“I am one of only 15 black-owned Nissan dealerships nationwide, and our stores are consistently among the top-preforming Nissan dealerships worldwide."
His commitment to the retail automotive industry extends far beyond his car showrooms. Banister is currently regional president for Nissan’s National Dealer Advisory Board. “I am a faithful representative of the entire Nissan dealer body to senior Nissan leadership."
In addition, he is president of the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association, overseeing the group’s annual international auto show. And he serves on the board of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, as well as the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board for the state of Virginia, a position appointed by the governor.
A respected leader in his community, Banister is actively involved in numerous local charities. He currently sits on the boards of The Elder’s House (provides a safe and nurturing environment for at-risk youth); The Chesapeake Forum (brings dynamic and diverse speakers to the area to educate and inspire); Chesapeake Regional Health Foundation (raises funds for needed new medical equipment); and Chesapeake Public Library Foundation (supports various library programs), plus others.
“Each of these organizations has a real impact locally. They all serve real concerns that affect our community in such diverse ways. I am proud to have made my impact felt across these great organizations.”
In addition, Banister has supported St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by providing a car as part of its Hampton Roads St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, a major fundraising effort for the hospital. He is also a member of the Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Chesapeake, known as The Mount, which is guided by spiritual leader Bishop Kim W. Brown.
Banister was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Don Hall, president and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Beverly, have two children.