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Gino (Ambrose) Barbuto
East Syracuse Chevrolet
East Syracuse, New York
“I was a kid who came from nothing, but my retail automotive career has enabled me to give back to the community and to so many local charities.”
“I was a kid who came from nothing, but my retail automotive career has enabled me to give back to the community and to so many local charities,” nominee Barbuto said. “I think we have a moral and civic responsibility to help those less fortunate, and to support the people who support us.”
A 1984 graduate of Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, Barbuto earned an associate degree in automotive technology and business from Herkimer County Community College in Herkimer, New York, in 1986, where he also excelled at soccer.
After college, Barbuto took a job as a service advisor at East Syracuse Chevrolet and he has been there ever since, learning all aspects of the business while working as service manager, sales manager, used-car manager and general manager. He became the dealer and owner in 2011, and one of his sons, Jason, now works in the body shop.
“I am very proud of earning ‘dealer of the year’ honors from Chevrolet two times during the last six years,” Barbuto said. “It means a lot as it places my dealership in the top two percent of the dealers in the country.”
During Barbuto’s 31-year career at East Syracuse Chevrolet, he has assumed leadership roles in the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association, as well as spearheading fundraising efforts for area charities. His most meaningful civic achievement is serving as vice- chairperson for the Charity Preview event before the Syracuse Auto Expo, an annual gala that has channeled millions of dollars into area charities.
“We have raised more than $3 million for local charities through this program, and on average, 14 groups each year receive donations,” Barbuto said. “When we give them checks for 100 percent of the ticket sales, it means the world to these organizations and to the community.”
He has also served on the board of The Kara Fund, which works to enhance the lives of seriously ill children and their families, and supports The First Tee of Syracuse, which introduces the game of golf and its values to young people; East Syracuse-Minoa Little League; David’s Refuge, which offers a respite to caregivers; and other groups. Barbuto’s dealership has served as a drop-off location for the Central New York Family Bicycle Charity, which collects new and used bicycles for children, and his technicians partnered with local police to help repair some of the donated bikes.
An avid fundraiser for his local church group, Barbuto also supports driver’s education programs at the area high school, as well as sponsors hole-in-one contests for various charity golf events.
Barbuto was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Barbara Rothschild, executive vice president of the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Karen, have three children, Jason, Jeremy and Cody.