NEW YORK — The nomination of John J. Quirk, president and CEO of Quirk Subaru of Bangor in Bangor, Maine, for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced in October by TIME.
Quirk is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Jan. 27. The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Meredith Long, senior vice president and general manager of news and luxury at TIME, and Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial.
“We are excited about the extraordinary group of nominees that are in the running for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said Russi. “These dealers have been recognized for the ways that they ‘do it right’ in their communities, and we look forward to sharing their stories over the next few months and celebrating their accomplishments at the NADA convention in January.”
In its sixth 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. Quirk, 63, was chosen to represent the Maine Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers from 16,000 nationwide – nominated for the 48th 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.
“In the 43 years that our company has been in business, the most rewarding part has been developing relationships with our employees,” nominee Quirk said. “It has been a privilege to work side-by-side with the best group of people in the industry. What’s even more rewarding is that I have experienced life’s ups and downs right along with them.”
A 1971 graduate of John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Quirk enlisted in the Air National Guard after high school, where he served at United States Air Force bases in San Antonio, Texas, and Biloxi, Mississippi. He later earned a B.A. in business administration from the University of Maine in Orono in 1977.
His automotive career began at Darling’s Auto in Bangor, where he worked during high school and college. “I started cleaning restrooms, detailing vehicles and stocking parts – and was a courtesy driver, swap driver and lot boy,” Quirk said. “I also worked as a salesperson while putting myself through college, taking night classes and completing my military training.”
In 1973, his father opened a Subaru dealership in Bangor and Quirk was given the opportunity to work in sales and invest in the business. “By the late 1970s and beyond, we became Subaru of New England’s number one sales dealership,” he said. “And because we were committed to taking care of our employees and customers, we’ve achieved great business accomplishments.”
Today, the Quirk Auto Group encompasses 12 new-car dealership locations in Maine, servicing Bangor, Augusta, Belfast and Portland, as well as other auto-related enterprises. He and his four brothers are all partners in the company, and his three children also work for the business.
Quirk is committed to giving back to the communities that his dealerships serve. When the city of Portland was going to cut its Independence Day fireworks due to budget constraints in 2010, Quirk jumped into action. “We joined three local businesses to organize and fundraise for the free event, which was a 100-year-old tradition,” he said. The annual Stars and Stripes Spectacular presented by July 4th Portland continues to thrive, attracting more than 50,000 spectators with its impressive pyrotechnics display and Patriotic Pops concert by the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
For his efforts on behalf of Portland, Quirk received the Henri A. Benoit Award for Leadership in the Private Sector in 2013 from the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Quirk is also proud of his association with Wreaths Across America, a group that is dedicated to honoring veterans. Each December, the organization galvanizes people from across the country to take part in wreath-laying ceremonies at the graves of fallen soldiers. In addition, Quirk Auto Group, along with Wreaths Across America, sponsored a concert with the Charlie Daniels Band this past summer in Columbia Falls, Maine, where they covered the ticket costs for veterans and active military so they could enjoy the show at no charge.
Quirk was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Thomas T. Brown Jr., president of the Maine Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three children and five grandchildren.
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