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San Diego, California
“The automobile business is really a business about the American dream.”
“The automobile business is really a business about the American dream,” nominee Feldman said. “I was not born in the United States, but knowing that more than 1,000 families take home a paycheck working at our dealerships is really one of the most rewarding results for me.”
Feldman majored in business administration at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, where he graduated in 1965. He studied in Italy and France in 1967 and 1968, respectively, and later completed executive development programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Stanford University in Stanford, California.
Feldman taught marketing and finance at two universities in Mexico City before immigrating to the United States with his family. He landed in San Diego and in 1984, bought his first dealership, Pacific Honda. “I moved as an adult with two small kids, looking for better opportunities,” he said. “My Sunroad Auto Group now has more than 1,000 employees, representing 12 brands in the United States and Mexico.” He is proud that his two sons have joined him in the business.
One of his favorite events is the annual holiday lunches he hosts at every dealership, where tenure awards are distributed to employees. “Even though our dealerships set all sorts of records each year, I choose to focus on tenure because I really do believe loyalty goes both ways,” Feldman said. “I am proud of our employees and love the opportunity to tell them. I always say people work with me, not for me.”
Feldman’s corporate tagline, “Neighbor first, car dealer second,” certainly applies to his altruistic efforts. “We give generously to philanthropic, educational and community projects,” he said. One of his most important civic accomplishments was to help establish the San Diego Jewish Academy. “When I moved to San Diego in 1977, there was a gap in available community schools,” he said. “Pulling together like-minded parents, we conceived of the academy, which started in my office and has since grown to now be in its third campus.”
While Feldman has received several civic awards, the one that is most important to him is the Father of the Year award he received from the American Diabetes Association and the Father’s Day Council in 1994. “The award recognizes men who have made family a priority, while at the same time balancing successful business careers and actively supporting charitable, educational and civic causes in their communities,” he said. “Devotion to my family has always been of paramount importance to me, so I’m very proud to be a recipient of this prestigious award.”
Other national and local organizations that Feldman has supported include: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; City of Hope; Susan G. Komen; Boys & Girls Club of Tijuana; Anti-Defamation League; Make-A-Wish; Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank; Workshops for Warriors (veterans training); University of California San Diego Foundation; San Diego Jewish Film Festival; and San Diego Latino Film Festival.
Feldman was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Dean B. Mansfield, president of the New Car Dealers Association San Diego County. He has three children and nine grandchildren.