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John Platek 

Betley Chevrolet Inc.
Derry, New Hampshire

“My greatest reward is watching our staff succeed, both at work and outside of work. It's been very fulfilling to follow our employees’ families as they grew up, played sports, graduated school and became the next generation of success stories.”

Platek is a 1981 graduate of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he earned a degree in business and economics. While he was in college, his father, John T. Platek, purchased the store where he had been employed since 1958, Betley Chevrolet. And while Platek had other plans for his future, he always knew a career at the dealership was an interesting option. 

“My father had a tremendous work ethic, and, without completing high school, worked his way up from mechanic to dealer principal,” Platek said. “I grew up at the dealership, as my father worked long hours, and I always loved to sit in the showroom cars.” Platek opted to join his father in the business and has not looked back. Over the years, he cleaned vehicles, wrote repair orders, learned the parts catalog system, reconciled monthly statements, arranged financing, stripped paint and managed vehicle inventory. 

“With the exception of pulling wrenches, I don't think there's anything I haven't done in my 45-plus years,” he said. “As I worked together with my dad, I was given the responsibility of continuing growth, without losing touch with the people and ideals that made us successful.” 

Today, Platek owns Betley Chevrolet and his son, Christopher, is the next generation to join the family enterprise. 

With a strong management team in place, Platek was able to devote time to other endeavors and he chose to volunteer with the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. He has been part of the leadership team for more than 25 years and has served as chair, vice chair and currently, director of the group’s health insurance trust. 

“I am proud that our organization is regarded as one of the most influential at the state government level,” he said. “We worked hard to achieve the most comprehensive Dealer Bill of Rights in the country. In addition, I am proud that our state was the first to recognize dealer sales departments as essential during the pandemic.” 

On a local level, Betley Chevrolet supports numerous area organizations and community initiatives. A few examples include Center for Life Management (mental health and substance use services); Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce; Derry Diamond Athletic Association; Derry Soccer Club; Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association; Lake Shore Park Club Scholarship Fund; West Running Brook Middle School; East Derry Memorial Elementary School; South Range Elementary School; Grinnell Elementary School; Derry Village School and Ernest P. Barka Elementary School. 

“I am glad I have been able to accomplish a lot in my industry and my community while our dealership continues to prosper,” Platek said. “I always remember the lesson my father taught me: Character matters, and it's more important than money.” 

Platek was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Pete McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Elaine, have two children.