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Dealer Principal at Contemporary Automotive Inc.
Milford, New Hampshire
"The most rewarding aspect of my retail automotive career is building a business that impacts the lives of its employees, their families and the community."
"The most rewarding aspect of my retail automotive career is building a business that impacts the lives of its employees, their families and the community," nominee Hammer said.
A 1977 graduate of Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey, Hammer earned a B.S. at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 1981. He majored in business administration and finance, minored in political science, was a member of Delta Psi fraternity, and was a varsity swimmer.
"In the retail automotive world, I chose the road less traveled," Hammer said of his career, which began on the floor of the commodity exchanges in New York City for Goldman Sachs in 1981 and led him into derivatives trading and investment banking with Phibro Energy and Barclays Bank. It wasn't until his father-in-law, who founded the dealership in 1984, was devising an exit strategy in 1997 that Hammer and his wife, Audrey Mello-Hammer, decided to take over the family business.
"Considering we were raising a young family and I often traveled, I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to apply my finance background to something new while being home more often for dinner," he said.
In 2017, the couple oversaw the building of a new, state-of-the-art, environmentally conscious facility in Milford. It is the largest solar powered dealership in NH and features radiant floor heating that is fueled by used motor oil, as well LED lighting throughout and many more features that all contribute to reducing the facility's environmental footprint.
"Ours is a business that sells and services a product that impacts the environment in many ways," Hammer said. "Nevertheless, we are all stewards of the environment and have a shared obligation to act responsibly."
Hammer is also dedicated to helping others in his community and beyond. For the past eight years, he has participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a two-day, 192 mile, bike ride that raises money for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Personally, I am committed to supporting the fight against cancer," he said. "For me it's a way to remember and honor loved ones who were taken too soon, to give thanks on behalf of survivors like me who were able to win their battles with cancer, and to give hope and courage to those currently battling cancer."
Hammer and his wife have long supported the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley by providing direct financial aid and vehicles, as well as donating many hours to facilitating children's activities. Audrey recently was named President of the Club's Board of Directors.
In addition, Contemporary Automotive also works with Opportunity Networks, a local organization that provides employment for individuals with disabilities. "We sponsor a maintenance crew from Opportunity Networks," Hammer said. "Working with their coach, these individuals take great pride in keeping the building clean and functioning, and we are proud to offer them this opportunity."
Hammer was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Peter J. McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Audrey, have two sons.