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Gary Knight

Gary Knight

Carmack Car Capitol
Danville, Illinois

“It is my 110 percent dedication to my job and to my family that makes me feel that I have achieved the most of every day.”

“My automotive career started more than 40 years ago, and the most rewarding aspect of it has been winning the day-to-day challenges that a car dealership presents,” nominee Knight said. “It is my 110 percent dedication to my job and to my family that makes me feel that I have achieved the most of every day, and I can't wait until tomorrow to get even more accomplished.”

A 1969 graduate of Shiloh High School in Hume, Illinois, Knight earned a B.S. in agronomy at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1973. After college in 1974, he visited a friend at a Datsun dealership in Danville. “I told him I needed a job desperately, as I was getting married shortly,” he remembered. “About two weeks later, he called and said that a position had opened up and that I should stop by the dealership the next day. That’s when I was hired to sell cars.”

Knight has been at the dealership, known then as Carmack Datsun, for 40-plus years. He became the sales manager, general manager, dealer principal, president and today, he is the sole owner of Carmack Car Capitol, a Honda and Hyundai store. He has been successful by focusing on employees and customers. “I give my employees a work environment that they can be proud of,” he said. “I promote from within and reward top talent. We focus on customer satisfaction and reputation within the community.”

To that end, Knight is involved in many local causes. Most meaningful is raising funds for the Midwest Veterans Association, a group that helps homeless veterans. He restored a 1954 Chevrolet 3100 pickup with great community support and raffled it at the group’s annual rally and concert in 2014. “Many veterans, area businesses and the local media got behind the project,” he said. “We restored this bucket of rust into a beautiful, sporty Chevy truck and raised more than $200,000. It was a privilege being involved and supporting our homeless veterans through the ‘Homeless Bound’ project.

He has also supported Keep Vermilion County Beautiful (a local beautification program); Danville Police Department; It’s All in the Jeans Day (a fundraiser for Danville’s Presence United Samaritans Medical Center that asked employees to pay to wear jeans to work with the proceeds going to breast cancer programs in Vermilion County); Olive Branch Masonic Lodge (Danville); as well as the local YMCA, American Legion, Lions Club and AMBUCS (a group that helps the disabled).

Knight was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Peter J. Sander, president of the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Kima, have three children and three grandchildren.