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Bobby Kisselback

Bobby Kisselback

Kisselback Ford
Saint Cloud, Florida

“I loved the car business from the very first day.”

“I loved the car business from the very first day,” nominee Kisselback said. “The people, the activity, the pressure, what we are able to do in the community – it was and is awesome.”

A 1974 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, New York, Kisselback earned an A.A.S. in business in 1976 from the State University of New York (SUNY) Canton in Canton, where he was on the dean’s list and was president of the student government.

He began his auto career in 1987 in a management role at Don Mealey Chevrolet in Orlando, Florida, moving to other management positions at different dealerships in Florida and Hilton Head, South Carolina, before opening Kisselback Ford in 2011. “I learned the business from Don Mealey, who was an excellent teacher and mentor,” Kisselback said. “To this day, he is helpful whenever called upon for advice.” He is also thankful to his current partners, Paul Dunkley and David Hammond, for their confidence and for helping to make Kisselback Ford a reality.

Kisselback is proud that his son, Sean, entered the dealership as the pre-owned manager two years ago. “He is dedicated to learning and to doing his job very well,” he said. “I’m happy he also loves the business.” His dealership recently won the prestigious President’s Award from Ford, which is very rewarding to Kisselback. “It is the result of a big team effort and a direct result of wonderful customer satisfaction,” he said.

Giving back to the community is a big part of the corporate culture at Kisselback’s dealership. Earlier this year, he began a program to honor a veteran each month on Facebook. “It’s an opportunity for us and our more than 7,000 Facebook followers to thank them for their service,” he said. Kisselback invites the honoree to his monthly team lunch and donates $500 in the veteran’s name to the Horses & Heroes program at McCormick Research Institute in Saint Cloud, which provides equine-assisted therapies to wounded warriors.

Kisselback’s wife, Cheryl, and his Labrador retriever, Joie, a therapy dog, also participate in special community programs. They volunteer to comfort children dealing with illness at Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando. “It is wonderful what the program, Cheryl and Joie are doing,” he said. “The therapeutic value of petting or being with Joie is extraordinary.” His wife and Joie also take part in reading programs at local schools and libraries.

Committed to educational initiatives, Kisselback, his team and customers donate school supplies each year during an annual drive for A Gift for Teaching of Osceola County. He has also served as a board member and mentor for the Education Foundation Osceola County and has sponsored college scholarships for the group. To raise funds for two local high schools, Kisselback participates in Ford’s Drive 4 UR School program, donating dollars for every test drive. And he compensates employees for their time when they serve as volunteer mentors in the Bookmark Buddies reading program at a local school.

“As a small dealership, we try hard to never say no to anyone,” Kisselback said of the many organizations he sponsors. “Our position is a little bit of help for a lot of people.”

Kisselback was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Barbara A. Miller, executive vice president of the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Cheryl, have two children and two grandchildren.