NEW YORK — The nomination of Jacqueline De Luz, president of Big Island Toyota in Hilo, for the 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced Monday by TIME.
De Luz is one of 49 auto dealers nominated from throughout the country who will be honored Feb. 15, 2020, during the 103rd annual National Automobile Dealers Association Show in Las Vegas.
The announcement of this year’s annual award was made by Susanna Schrobsdorff, chief partnerships officer with TIME, and Doug Timmerman, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
“The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors,” says a news release from TIME. “Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers, who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service.”
De Luz, 54, was chosen to represent the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition.
“The experience that has been most personally rewarding to me in my career is mentoring young adults, especially young women, on how to navigate through their own opportunities and experiences,” said De Luz. “I am so grateful that I am able to make an impact in someone’s life.”
Her ancestry on the Big Island dates back to the mid-1800s, and her late father, David, who grew up in an entrepreneurial ranching family, founded his first used car dealership in Hilo in 1958. He soon moved into new car sales and opened dealerships throughout Hawaii.
De Luz worked in the family business throughout high school and college, and joined her father’s team full-time in human resources and risk management in 1990. In 2013, she was named president and general manager of Big Island Toyota and De Luz Chevrolet, also in Hilo.
An active member of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, De Luz served as director of the group from 2014-18.
De Luz encourages her employees to support community initiatives and set up a committee of team members to consider all donation requests.
“Our requirement is that the program or organization serve our community specifically in the area of children, the elderly and the advancement of our industry/business, with preference given to employees and customers,” she said. “We give 5% of our profits back to the community, and in the past have supported disaster efforts due to local hurricanes and storms, as well as held golf tournaments to support agencies chosen by our team to receive all proceeds.”
De Luz directly contributes her time and talents to numerous organizations including Junior Achievement of Hawaii and the Society for Human Resource Management Hawaii Chapter.
An avid fundraiser and valued leader, De Luz focuses her energy on groups to which she can make meaningful contributions and further their missions and goals. To that end, she supports Hawaii Island United Way, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Waiakea High School Foundation and the American Heart Association Hawaii.
“I volunteer my time and resources to organizations that I feel a connection to or that resonate with me or my own experiences,” she said.
De Luz was nominated for the TIME award by Dave Rolf, executive director of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.
The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.
Three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 for their favorite charities, and the winner will receive an additional $10,000 to give to charity.
In its ninth year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s nonprofit charity of choice. Nominees will also be honored on AllyDealerHeroes.com.