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W. Rodman Ryan
Open Road BMW of Morristown
Morristown, New Jersey
“From an 8-year-old boy shining shoes on a Newark, New Jersey, street corner to where I am today has been quite a journey.”
“I constantly remind myself of my humble beginnings,” nominee Ryan said. “And I never forget that it has taken a team of dedicated and talented people to have grown Open Road to what it is today.”
Ryan, a 1963 graduate of Metuchen High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, studied business at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, and also served in the United States Army.
He opened his first dealership in 1972, selling recreational vehicles, used cars and Honda motorcycles out of a two-bay garage in Edison. “On the wall of my office hangs the actual contract showing the purchase of my first motorcycle dealership with $10,000 of borrowed funds,” Ryan said. Today, Open Road Auto Group represents 13 brands at 21 dealerships and four distribution centers in New Jersey and New York. His son-in-law, Michael Morais, is president of the company.
“From an 8-year-old boy shining shoes on a Newark, New Jersey, street corner to where I am today has been quite a journey,” Ryan said.
And along the way he has devoted a great deal of time and resources to helping others. His most meaningful contribution is to JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), an organization that is working to help cure type 1 diabetes, which hits close to home for Ryan. “My participation in JDRF has allowed me to better understand what my grandson and so many others deal with on a daily basis,” he said. “As a result of our lobbying efforts, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez recently passed a bill to give Medicare patients access to the newest medical breakthroughs.” Open Road also supports JDRF’s annual One Walk event in New Jersey, donating a car for a fundraising raffle and organizing a team to participate in the walk.
Other groups that Ryan supports include: The Somerset Hills YMCA annual Golf Classic in support of the Y’s Strong Kids campaign; Land Conservancy of New Jersey; the Far Hills Race Meeting for RWJBarnabus Health; Equus event to benefit Mane Stream, an equine-assisted activities and therapy center in Oldwick, New Jersey; and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
For his business and professional contributions, Ryan has received numerous honors, including the 2015 Somerset Hills YMCA Millicent Fenwick Civic Award and 2012 Citizen of the Year from the Somerset County Business Partnership. He is most proud of being named Man of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council in 2007, which recognized his leadership and philanthropic endeavors on behalf of the organization.
“We are proud of the company's 44-year heritage and reputation, quality of business and product, expertise of our staff and commitment to being good neighbors in the communities where Open Road Auto Group's dealerships are located,” Ryan has said.
Ryan was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by James B. Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. He and his wife, Dianne, have one child and three grandchildren.