Waikem Co-Owner David Waikem is nominated for Time Magazine’s 2014 Dealer of the Year award. Announced Thursday by Time Magazine and Ally Financial, Dave is one of 57 dealers nominated from across the country. Winner will be announced at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana on Jan. 25, 2014.
“The dealers nominated for this award are community heroes, as well as economic and civic leaders, who have time and again shown their dedication to making a difference,” said Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial. “Ally is pleased to once again be supporting these dealers in their efforts to create vibrant, thriving communities.”
Dave was nominated for this year’s award by Lou Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association. Dave co-owners the Waikem Auto Family with Brothers Doug and Chip Waikem. His son Craig Waikem serves as Internet Manager for the dealership, and his nephews Deuce and Chris Waikem serve in upper management at the family business.
“My greatest thrill is knowing that my son is continuing with our family business, following in my own and in my father’s footsteps,” Waikem said of son, Craig, who was named one of “40 Under 40” by Automotive News in 2013.
Dave’s philanthropic efforts in the community helped him receive this nomination.
“The tagline on my email is: ‘Your Reputation is your Wealth,’” said nominee Waikem, who is part owner of a business founded by his father in 1957. “I truly believe this to be true. I was raised with strong family values, which I have tried to teach to my kids.”
Dave serves on many boards in the community, including president of the Perry Township Rotary and is a board member for the Western Stark Free Clinic, Better Business Bureau, Stark County District Library Foundation (founding member and president), Affinity Medical Center Community Advisory Board, Friends of Stark Parks and the Massillon Chamber of Commerce.
But Dave’s proudest accomplishment is the Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children. This is a non-profit day car facility for children with specials needs. Dave helped start this from the ground up. One of Dave’s closest friends had a child with Down Syndrome and couldn’t find a day care in Ohio that would accept the child. Through Waikem’s work, Golden Key Center was the first day care center of its kind. There are now more 100 children attending the day care, and Waikem is still on the board.
“It’s my biggest source of pride of accomplishment,” Waikem said.
He has also brought together the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Greater Stark County Auto Dealers Association to create an arbitration process to facilitate any complaints involving used vehicle purchases. For his efforts, Waikem received the Ranson Andreas Individual of the Year award by the BBB in 2008. He was also named Rotarian of the Year, United Way CEO of the Year and received Perry Township Rotary’s Paul Steiner Vocational Award.
Everyone here at the Waikem Auto Family is so proud that Dave has earned this accomplishment. We can’t wait to cheer him on in New Orleans this year, and we will keep you updated on if he wins.