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"From an early age, I inherited my father's passion for the automobile industry."
“From an early age, I inherited my father's passion for the automobile industry,” nominee Hanenberger said, noting his father enjoyed a 46-year career with General Motors. “The interaction with and feedback from my employees and customers are the most rewarding aspects of being an automotive retailer.”
Hanenberger is a 1989 graduate of Oranien Gymnasium in Wiesbaden, Germany. He studied mechanical engineering in college and received a B.S. cum laude from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, in 1994, an M.S. from Stanford University in Stanford, California, in 1995, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1999. He excelled in his studies and earned membership in honor societies Phi Eta Sigma, Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma.
Working as an engineer for General Motors early in his career, Hanenberger was on a task force to develop and deploy throttle-by-wire technology for the next-generation Corvette. “General Motors at the time was the first domestic manufacturer to bring this technology to market, which is now virtually standard in the industry,” he said. “Given the successful, safe and reliable launch of the product, our team was awarded the company’s highest corporate award, the GM President's Council Honors.”
By 1999, Hanenberger shifted to sales and marketing with the Ford Motor Company and quickly became enamored with the retail automotive sector. “During my career, I have been extremely fortunate to work in so many areas of the automotive industry: from product design and development, to validation and manufacturing, to national and regional sales and marketing and now on the retail end,” he said. “I think this has given me a unique perspective on the vast complexities of our wonderful business.”
In 2005, Hanenberger opened his first dealership, MetroWest Subaru, and in 2009, added Brattleboro Subaru in Brattleboro, Vermont. “Owning and operating my own two stores is now a dream come true,” he said. “My mission statement is to empower and support our team members in producing an unforgettably great customer experience. Hearing from my employees that we are able to accomplish this is what is most rewarding.”
He also works to further industry initiatives by participating in Dealer Day on Beacon Hill, an annual meeting of dealers and legislators at the Massachusetts State House where critical retail automotive issues are discussed.
Hanenberger serves on the board of The Center for Arts in Natick (TCAN), which is a theater, music, film, visual arts and arts education venue located in an historic firehouse. He has also served on the resources committee, stewardship committee and board of worship for the Second Church, a United Church of Christ, in Newton, Massachusetts.
Giving back to his community in a consistent and regular manner is most important and meaningful for Hanenberger. “Whether that involves purchasing a new solar-powered scoreboard for the local Little League team, supporting the Natick Service Council to ensure that every kid has a backpack and sufficient school supplies to be a successful student, or being a lead sponsor of the hospital's charity walk, we are able to contribute to making the lives of the less-fortunate in our community just a little bit better,” he said.
Hanenberger was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Robert O'Koniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Melissa, have three children.