Russ Humberston 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. Humberston was chosen to represent the Oregon 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.
“I have been very fortunate to have had a great team around me for a long time,” nominee Humberston said. “I have enjoyed every aspect of this business since the day I started 30 years ago. Each day presents a fun, different challenge, and I always look forward to it.”
Humberston received a B.A in English from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1989, and an M.B.A. from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, in 1994. He also attended the NADA Academy in 1998 in preparation for a leadership role at the family Toyota dealership, which was founded by his late father, Russ Humberston Sr., in 1971.
“I am a second-generation dealer who started as a lot attendant in high school, then worked through every position after college,” he said.
His dealership, which underwent a significant remodel from 2010 to 2015, has been transformed into a sustainable, environmentally friendly campus that achieved LEED Gold certification, the second highest level available.
“We wanted to align our sustainable efforts with Toyota and were able to double our overall square footage while cutting our energy bills in half,” Humberston said. “We invested in solar panels, started using recycled oil from guest vehicles to heat the 50,000 square-foot shop, installed water cisterns that collect rainwater for our native landscape, and invested in a car wash that uses recycled water.”
And Humberston added several amenities for customers, including a pet station with water and treats for four-legged family members; a café that offers coffee, sandwiches, salads, and snacks; a play area for children; and a venue to display the work of local artists.
He is also committed to his team members and offers paid training for professional development programs. “I am most rewarded by giving people opportunities to succeed and seeing them grow personally and professionally,” he said. “There is nothing more gratifying than seeing someone start at an entry level position and become a manager and a leader, perhaps even running their own store.”
An active member of the Oregon Auto Dealers Association and the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, where he led both groups as board president, Humberston has worked with legislators statewide and nationally to advocate for dealers. He is also proud of the millions of dollars the Metro Portland association has generated for charity through the Portland International Auto Show’s Sneak Peek Charity Preview Party.
On a more local level, Humberston serves on the board of St. Mary’s Home for Boys in Beaverton, which provides residential treatment and services for at-risk boys.
“This organization has been doing incredible work in the Portland area for more than 100 years,” he said. “Through counseling, education, and love, the boys, who often come from abusive homes and have criminal backgrounds, have a high success rate when they graduate from the program, and many go on to contribute positively to society.”
Humberston also encourages his employees to get involved in the causes that are meaningful to them. He provides a paid day off each year to each associate for volunteer work. And he organizes an annual volunteer day when the entire team works together on a charitable initiative, like cleaning the beaches.
Other groups he supports include American Red Cross (hosts blood drives); KGW Great Toy Drive; Stone Soup (provides shuttles for delivering meals to the homeless); Play.Fit.Fun; and many others.
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.”
Humberston was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Greg Remensperger, executive vice president of the Oregon Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.