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Ray Brandt Nissan
“Our philosophy is to put our customers first.”
“Our philosophy is to put our customers first,” nominee Brandt said. “All of our training is dedicated to that simple concept, and our employees are rewarded for fulfilling our company mission.”
Brandt is a 1965 graduate of St. Aloysius, a high school in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned a B.B.A. in accounting (1969), an M.B.A. (1972) and J.D. (1979) from Loyola University in New Orleans, where he was at the top of his class academically. He was a member of Beta Alpha Psi (honor organization for financial information students and professionals), Beta Gamma Sigma (international honor society) and Delta Sigma Pi (professional business fraternity). He is a licensed Louisiana CPA and Attorney.
Brandt’s first introduction to the automobile industry was in 1979, when he was retained by a Datsun dealer to evaluate the company’s business operations. He was offered the chance to purchase the store in 1983, and he did. Today, he is CEO and president of the Ray Brandt Auto Group, which includes 11 dealerships, plus a collision center, in Louisiana and southern Mississippi, representing brands Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Toyota and Volkswagen.
“My greatest achievement in the automobile business is working with my management team to build a company that has revenue in excess of $500 million, while employing more than 500 people, after starting with one small franchise 33 years ago,” Brandt said.
His tremendous business success has allowed Brandt to make a positive impact on his community. He and his wife created the Ray and Jessica Brandt Family Foundation to contribute to educational initiatives and support local and national organizations. Beneficiaries include the American Heart Association (annual Heart Ball in New Orleans); Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure New Orleans; the National World War II Museum in New Orleans (Victory Ball); Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans; Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie, Louisiana (Emerald Gala); Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie (Celebrity Waiters Dinner); and many other groups.
Brandt also lends his time and talent to the boards of various organizations, including the University of New Orleans Foundation; Louisiana Board of Regents; Southern University at New Orleans; and the Pro Bono Publico Foundation, which supports public education in New Orleans. He also currently serves as chairman of the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission. “I have been appointed by both Republican and Democratic governors over the past nine years and have worked hard to draft laws in the state of Louisiana to improve the rights of dealers, manufacturers and consumers,” he said. He is a long term member of the Louisiana Auto Dealers Association and has been a consistent supporter of NADA.
For his good works, Brandt has received numerous honors but is most proud of earning a Civic Recognition Award from the Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. “It’s important to me because it is a result of the civic and charitable contributions I’ve made to the community,” he said.
Brandt was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Will Green, president of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Jessica, have two children and five grandchildren.