Michael Carroll 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. Carroll was chosen to represent the Washington State Auto Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“When I reflect back on my career, it’s not the successes or failures that stand out, it’s the people that really resonate in my mind, and the positive role my store has played in their lives,” nominee Carroll said.
A 1996 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a degree in economics, Carroll always had dreams of working at a car dealership. As a young child, his father, Jack Carroll, would often take him to the stores he ran and let him sit in the new vehicles on the showroom floor. He would officially start his automotive career at age 16, as a lot attendant at his father’s Dodge store in Lynnwood, Washington.
During college, Carroll honed his people skills while working at the iconic Montecito Inn, built by Charlie Chaplin in Santa Barbara in 1928. “I carried lots of bags and parked cars for the stars,” he said. “I learned that customer service and problem solving are the keys to building a successful business.”
Carroll joined the family enterprise full-time after college. He worked his way through every job at Jack Carroll’s Lynwood Dodge and was named general manager within five years. He went on to work at other Jack Carroll dealerships and attended the NADA Academy in preparation to run his own store. In 2017, he became president and owner of Jack Carroll’s Skagit Hyundai.
“During the time I have owned the dealership, it has turned a profit in each year,” he said. “Knowledge and competence are gained over a lifelong journey, and my experiences have helped shape the business leader I am today.”
Carroll credits his time working with the Washington State Auto Dealers Association, where he has served on the board since 2016 and is currently a member of the executive committee, for giving him the opportunity to build relationships with legislators and fellow dealers to help move the industry forward.
“I’ve had the chance to work hand-in-hand with legislators on both sides of the aisle on issues that affect dealers across the state of Washington,” he said. “It's shown me that whether it be a state representative from a farming community, a state senator from a metropolis like Seattle, or a small-town business owner like me, we're all just trying to do the best for the people that depend on us.”
To that end, Carroll is proud to be a board member for the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, a group that helps foster a positive relationship between local businesses and the community. He and his team participate in chamber activities and support events, including Berry Dairy Days, a celebration of the rich farming and agricultural history of Burlington, and the Battle of the Bridge golf tournament, a friendly competition between the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and nearby Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Another program Carroll champions is the Skagit Valley Herald Christmas Fund, which provides toys, books, and holiday meals to families in need. “Our employees volunteer to spend hours speaking with families about what their children would like for Christmas, then do all of the shopping and organizing of the gifts,” he said. “We then deliver the presents to the individual families, with each also receiving a gift card to a local grocery store so that they can enjoy a nice Christmas dinner.”
Carroll has also conceived creative ways of giving back. In 2019, he organized a Black Friday promotion that provided free auto repairs to people in need. “We had a contest where community members submitted names of those less fortunate who desperately needed car service,” he said. “We helped 25 families that day and donated a vehicle to one deserving family whose car could not be fixed but needed transportation to and from Seattle Children’s Hospital twice a week.”
And in 2022, Carroll coordinated with the Hyundai Hope program to facilitate a $10,0000 donation to the Helping Hands Food Bank in Skagit County. “We were proud to match that donation to further the organization’s mission of providing food and nourishment to our community,” he said.
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.”
Carroll was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Vicki Giles Fabré, executive vice president of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Monique, have two children.