DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Ford is recognizing its dealers who go above and beyond when it comes to giving back to their communities, and for the first time in the history of the program, has selected an Export and Growth dealer as a Salute to Dealer award recipient.
Dealer principals Oscar and Fernando Villanueva from Grupo Viamar in the Dominican Republic are among the six 2012 honorees selected from more than 8,500 Ford dealers worldwide who exhibit unparalleled dedication to their communities.
The award was established 12 years ago to recognize dealer principals who improve the lives of those in need while providing outstanding products and services, and has gradually been expanded to honor dealers in an increasing number of markets.
While the Villanueva family founded the Quiereme Como Soy (Love Me as I am) Foundation to assist individuals with Down Syndrome and support the Special Olympics and the Association of Autism, they’ve broadened its mission to include supporting institutions that help integrate people with intellectual disabilities into society.
The effort is a personal one for the Villanuevas, as a member of their family has Down Syndrome and is a Special Olympian.
Oscar Villanueva, administrative vice president, Grupo Viamar, and vice president, Quiereme Como Soy (Love Me as I am) Foundation, says everyone involved with their efforts believes “all human beings should have the opportunity to be part of the society in which they live.”
Many of the foundation’s activities occur during Ford’s Global Week of Caring, when employees on six continents volunteer for projects that address a need in their communities. Foundation events have included a basketball fund-raising tournament and a celebrity baseball game that drew support and participation from across the Dominican Republic from well-known radio and television personalities, athletes and prominent community members.
Fernando Villanueva Callot, chairman and founder of Grupo Viamar, said “It is truly an honor to receive the Salute to Dealers award from Ford Motor Company, but the true reward is seeing how our efforts make a difference in the Dominican Republic, while setting an example of corporate citizenship.
Grupo Viamar is an increasingly successful dealership. It’s the fourth-ranked dealership in the country, up from 15th in 2009, and performs above the regional average in customer viewpoint.
Salute to Dealers is conducted under the guidance of Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford’s Board of Directors. In an internal e-mail announcing this year’s honorees, Ford noted that they were selected from 100 nominations from across the globe. “The quality of this year’s nominations was outstanding, and with their participation in hundreds of causes, selecting just six dealers to recognize was a difficult, but rewarding, task.”
Oscar Villanueva and Fernando Villanueva were honored Feb. 3 at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Las Vegas. They received a portrait depicting their involvement in their communities. Duplicates of the portraits will be displayed at Ford’s World Headquarters.
to view a video about the Villanueva’s activities in the Dominican Republic.