A 1995 graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he earned a B.S. in business administration, Ray Fregia Jr. originally pursued a career in insurance accounting at CNA in Chicago.
“I was born into a Ford family and quickly found my way back to the family business,” he said. By 1997, Fregia was the finance manager for River View Ford in Oswego, Illinois, the dealership owned by his father, Ray Fregia Sr. He later became general manager and graduated from the NADA Academy in 2001, paving the way for him to acquire his own dealerships. He founded Courtesy Ford Lincoln in 2004.
Today, Fregia owns the Courtesy Auto Group, which includes three new-car stores in Danville and Hoopeston, Illinois, representing brands Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep and Ram, as well as a collision center. His father is senior vice president and his brother, Rik, is managing partner of the dealership group.
“I believe that I was able to build and expand my business thanks to my faith and the unwavering support of my family and employees,” Fregia said. “And the most rewarding aspect of my career has been the opportunity to interact with customers and make an impact in our community.”
Fregia is equally as committed to sharing his expertise and advocating for his fellow car dealers. To that end, he is currently chair of the Ford Minority Dealers Association, as well as a board member for the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, where he has served since 2017 and has contributed a variety of new ideas to the group.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to lead the Ford Minority Dealers Association as my role is to clearly define goals for the organization and set a concrete plan to achieve them,” he said. “I am very passionate about the automotive industry and look forward to what the future brings as we continue to grow our dealership count and guide future minority-owned dealers.”
Fregia was also one of the next-generation leaders called on by NADA to be a Super Session speaker at the 2021 NADA Show, where he talked about diversity in auto retail. “Discussing and educating on the topics of diversity and minority-owned dealerships, I believe I have made an impact on current and future auto dealers,” he said.
After opening his second dealership in Danville, Fregia purchased a home in the town so he could be part of the community. He currently chairs the leadership team at New Hope Baptist Church in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
“At Courtesy Ford Lincoln, we know that any business is only as great as the community in which it resides, which is why we are so proud to give back to our neighbors in Danville and the surrounding area,” he said.
To achieve that goal, Fregia brings together his team for biweekly meetings to decide as a group which organizations will receive donations. Frequent sponsorships include the Boys & Girls Club of Danville; Toys for Tots; Ford Drive 4 UR School (test-drive program that raises funds for area schools); neighborhood churches; various nonprofit groups; and local events.
“We are passionate about our community and the growth of Danville as well,” he said.
Fregia was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Damon Lester, president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers. He has one son.