Mike Carpino wins national recognition for community service and industry accomplishments at NADA convention

COLUMBUS - The nomination of Mike Carpino, dealer principal at Mike Carpino Ford in Columbus, for the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced on Dec. 4, by TIME.

Carpino is one of a select group of 47 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2018 NADA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 23, 2018. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Meredith Long, senior vice president and general manager, News, Luxury & Style, TIME, and Tim Russi, president of auto finance for Ally Financial.

“We salute this exceptional group of nominees for the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year award,” Russi said. “These dealers are local pillars of strength, leadership and giving, and Ally is proud to celebrate their stories and recognize them for their commitment to ‘do it right’ in their communities.”

In its seventh year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will also be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Carpino, 51, was chosen to represent the Kansas Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 47 auto dealers from more than 16,500 nationwide – nominated for the 49th annual award. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.

“The most rewarding aspect of my 30-year automotive career has been the opportunity to serve the community I grew up in,” nominee Carpino said. “I find joy in helping a new customer I have never met before or helping someone who has known me my entire life.”

A 1984 graduate of Columbus Unified High School in Columbus, Carpino earned an automotive service technology certificate from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1986. After a few jobs in and outside of the auto industry, he began selling new cars at Columbus Ford Mercury in Columbus in 1987, where he worked his way from sales to finance management to sales manager before moving to Pittsburg Ford Mercury in Pittsburg as finance manager in 1997.

“People and vehicles have always been my passion, and I get the best of both worlds in the retail automotive industry,” he said. In 2004, Carpino opened his own used-car dealership and then in 2005, he and his wife, Lynn, purchased the Ford dealership in Columbus and named it Mike Carpino Ford. Today, he also has a used-car dealership in Pittsburg.

“My wife and I work side by side in the day-to-day operations of Mike Carpino Ford,” he said. “Our daughters Haley and Hannah have both worked at the dealership office through high school.”

He added, “I view my employees as family as more than 90 percent have worked for me for 10 years. We are also nearly all graduates of Columbus Unified High School, located in a town with a population of 3,200 people.”

Carpino is very involved in the Kansas Automobile Dealers Association and currently serves as chairman. He has attended the NADA Washington Conference and has lobbied the Kansas congressional delegation and legislature on a wide range of industry issues.

And he is equally committed to his local community, with a particular emphasis on area school programs and activities. “I am an alumnus of Columbus Unified High School, as is my entire family – and a majority of my employees,” Carpino said. “I feel that supporting the youth in our community, as well as our school's education and extracurricular activities, are the most important things I can do as a local business person.”

To that end, Carpino annually hosts Ford Drive 4 UR School events and has sponsored a 50/50 raffle with four local high schools during their football games for the past six years. In addition, he supports softball and baseball teams in his town and neighboring communities and the Columbus Unified High School Booster Club, Columbus Community Fields Association and local 4-H, as well as hosting a golf tournament for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

“When we are planning events at the dealership, fundraisers and community outreach programs, we always start with our schools,” he said.

Carpino was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Don McNeely, president of the Kansas Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Lynn, have two children.