Jonesboro car dealer nominated for national award

Jonesboro car dealer nominated for national award
Donald Cavenaugh has been nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award. (Source: Ally Financial)

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Jonesboro car dealer is nominated for one of the automotive industry’s most prestigious awards.

According to a news release, Donald Cavenaugh, principal dealer at Cavenaugh Ford Lincoln is one of 49 nominees from across the United States who will be honored at the 103rd annual National Automobile Dealers Association Show in Las Vegas on February 15, 2020.

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. Cavenaugh, 68, was chosen to represent the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 51st annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.

Cavenaugh was chosen to represent the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association in this year’s national competition for the 51st annual award.

His company has donated to create a new community park in Walnut Ridge, given to local high school ballfields throughout northeast Arkansas and has provided funds for schools and numerous nonprofits, including the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas (Jonesboro); The Children’s Shelter (Walnut Ridge); City Youth Ministries (Jonesboro); The Foundation of Arts (Jonesboro) and the Delta Symphony Orchestra (Jonesboro), among others.

For the past nine years, Cavenaugh has sponsored the Cavenaugh Thumperthon, a 5K race that benefits the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society. He also helped create Beatles at the Ridge, a music festival that commemorates the Fab Four’s brief stop in Walnut Ridge for a plane change in 1964, which set off a local frenzy.

“This event brings 15,000 visitors to our community for a weekend-long celebration of Beatles music and memorabilia,” he said. “It has been ranked as one of the top Beatles events in the country.”

He added, “We are also currently working with Hoxie: The First Stand to create a Civil Rights Museum in Hoxie, Arkansas, to tell the story of the first challenged school integration in America.”

For his good works, Cavenaugh has received several awards and recognitions but is most rewarded by what he gives back. “Our communities have been very good to me and my family and helping make them better is a core belief of mine,” he said. “When we all begin to work together to make impactful changes, it helps provide a better future for my family, my employees and our customers.”

Cavenaugh is a 1970 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School and attended Arkansas State University.

The news release said Cavenaugh worked several jobs before partnering with his father to buy a Ford dealership in Black Rock.

Dealers are nominated by executives of state and metro dealer associations.

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 pick one finalist from each of NADA’s four regions and one national Dealer of the Year.

Three finalists will get an additional $5,000 for the favorite charity and the winner will receive an additional $10,000 for their favorite charity.

Cavenaugh was nominated for the award by Greg Kirkpatrick who is the president of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association.

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