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Wallace Camp Jr.
Rowe Ford Sales
"Our team has persevered through many ups and downs in the retail car business, and we have done our best to do so with honor."
“Our team has persevered through many ups and downs in the retail car business, and we have done our best to do so with honor,” nominee Camp said. “I am also proud that my son, Mark, an NADA Academy and college graduate — and a United States Marine — is the third generation to join our family enterprise.”
Camp is a 1975 graduate of Portland High School in Portland, Maine. He attended the University of South Florida in Tampa and earned a B.B.A. in business administration from the Northwood Institute (now Northwood University) in Midland, Michigan, in 1980.
At age 14, Camp began working at his family’s Ford store. “My first job was as a general helper and handling vehicle clean-up, and then I worked in sales while in college,” he said. “I was uncertain about what career path to take so I thought I would try selling cars in the family business. I found that I liked it and decided to go back to school at Northwood Institute to further my studies with the idea of making the retail automobile business a career.”
And he’s been at Rowe Ford Sales ever since, becoming general manager of the dealership that sells Ford, Lincoln and Hyundai vehicles. He also took the reins at his father’s second dealership, Auburn Motor Sales in Auburn, Maine, a Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen store. Camp is now dealer principal and completed the buyout at both locations, but in 2017, he gave up the general manager roles to his son at the Westbrook store and promoted another employee, Mark Axelsen, at the Auburn dealership. “I still work every day, and I am actively involved in working with the two general managers to run the business,” he said.
A member of the advisory board for the Salvation Army in Portland, Camp is committed to helping people who are struggling to get back on their feet. “The most meaningful service for me has been working with and mentoring recovering people,” he said. “It is rewarding to start working with a person that has a broken life and in time see their life flourish.”
Over the years, Camp has participated in recovery meetings at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland and a Bible study at the Windham Correctional Center, as well as co-leading a Christian recovery meeting at the First Baptist Church of Portland for seven years. He served on the board of deacons at the First Baptist Church of Portland and currently serves as a small group Bible study leader as part of the East Point Christian Church. “As a small group Bible study leader, it has been meaningful for me to see spiritual growth in members as well as enjoy our growth and support and love for each other,” he said.
Other groups Camp supports include the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland; Honor Flight Maine, which transports American veterans to Washington, D.C., to tour memorial sites; and numerous local charities.
He is most proud of being named honorary chair of the Salvation Army Champions for Kids event, an annual fundraiser. “This recognition is for being a caring corporate citizen and leading a company that tries to do the right thing,” he said.
Camp was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Tom Brown, president of the Maine Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Patricia, have three children and seven grandchildren.