Van Bortel Is Named 2016 TIME Dealer of the Year

TIME Dealer of the Year
Mary Catherine "Kitty" Van Bortel of Victor, N.Y., (C) is named 2016 TIME Dealer of the Year.

LAS VEGAS (April 1, 2016) -- Mary Catherine "Kitty" Van Bortel, president of Van Bortel Subaru in Victor, N.Y., is the 2016 TIME Dealer of the Year.

Representatives from TIME and Ally Financial presented the award at the 2016 NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas. The packed auditorium gave Van Bortel a standing ovation as she received the award.

VanBortel--a second-generation dealer from New York who began her career selling used cars from her home--was joined onstage with her husband Roger and daughter Patricia. “They gave up so much so I could pursue my dream,” Van Bortel said. “I had a relentless drive to prove that a woman could get to the top in this business.”

She opened Van Bortel Subaru in 1991, and within seven years it was the highest-volume Subaru dealership in the United States. The business now includes two other stores in New York: Van Bortel Chevrolet in Macedon and Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester, both of which she owns with her brother.

After thanking those that supported her career, Van Bortel spoke out for recognition of women dealers. “It is about time women were recognized in this business,” she said to thunderous applause. “And it is time we start getting women in strong positions in dealerships.”

The other 2016 finalists were:

  • Phil Meador of Phil Meador Toyota, Pocatello, Idaho.
  • Kevin Reilly of Alexandria Hyundai, Alexandria, Va.
  • Diane Sauer of Diane Sauer Chevrolet, Warren, Ohio. 

More than 25,000 new-car and -truck dealers and their managers, as well as dealers from over 30 countries, auto industry executives and exhibitor staff attended the 2016 NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas.

Founded in 1917, NADA will celebrate its 100-year anniversary during the 2017 NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, which will run from Jan. 26-29.

View the complete convention coverage