Longtime independent auto dealers and past association presidents Bob Lawrence and Charles Teel have been selected to receive the Michael R. Linn NIADA Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.
The award, presented at Wednesday’s National Leadership Awards Banquet during the 68th NIADA Convention and Expo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, was created to honor individuals who have contributed a career of exceptional and selfless service to the association. It is named for NIADA CEO emeritus Michael Linn, who became the first recipient last year on his retirement from his longtime role as NIADA’s chief executive.
“Bob and Charles helped pave the way to accomplish the goals we had set for NIADA’s future,” Linn said of the award’s two latest recipients. “Without these two individuals, those goals would have never been accomplished. These two individuals are responsible for the success and financial stability the association enjoys today.”
Lawrence, from Salisbury, Md., served as NIADA president in 2001-02 and as Region I vice president. He was named chairman or vice chairman of the NIADA legislative committee six time and has served 13 terms on other NIADA committees, including several stints as chairman. He also served seven terms as president of the Maryland IADA.
Lawrence began his automotive career as the nation’s youngest Volkswagen dealer, earning numerous awards as a new car dealer before opening an independent used car business. He’s been no less successful in that segment of the industry. He was named NIADA’s National Quality Dealer of the Year in 1987 and became a Certified Master Dealer in 2001 – the program’s first year.
He is also a leader in his community, having been appointed to a state board or commission by every Maryland governor since Spiro Agnew in 1967.
Teel, from Savannah, Ga., has used his background as a certified public accountant in his role as a mainstay on association financial issues since he joined NIADA leadership in the 1990s. He has held virtually every position on NIADA’s executive committee and boards, including president (2009-10) and treasurer, and has also been president of the Georgia IADA and chairman of the NIADA State Presidents Council. He is currently chairman of NIADA’s audit and budget committee.
Teel was also instrumental in the transition of NIADA’s top executive from Linn to current executive vice president Steve Jordan, serving as head of the association’s succession planning committee.
Teel, who holds degrees in accounting and business, has been involved in the automotive industry since 1966. He also helped organize and establish a regional bank, which was eventually sold to BB&T. He became Certified Master Dealer in 2003.