Skip to main content

2024: Year of the Woman



Rob Treadway

Robert Treadway

Membership Communications & Marketing Manager

As one of the preeminent lyrical bards of our time, Beyoncé, beckons in her 2011 chart-topper, "Who run the world?" Judging by the 2024 new-car and truck dealers of the year, the answer is affirmatively, "Women!"

For the first time ever, both the NADA TIME Dealer of the Year and ATD Truck Dealer of the Year award winners of the same year are women.

Rita Case, dealer principal of Rick Case Automotive Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was named TIME Dealer of the Year at February’s NADA Show 2024 in Las Vegas. Case is only the fifth woman to win the award in its 65-year history.

Katie Hopkins, president and CEO of Truck Centers Inc., Troy, Ill., was named ATD Truck Dealer of the Year at ATD Show 2024, also in Las Vegas in February. Hopkins is only the second woman to receive that honor. Hopkins also makes history with her father, M. John Hopkins IV, as the first father and daughter to win the award.

TIME Dealer: Making the Case

woman on stage

Rita Case grew up in the transportation business. Her parents, Lori and Bill Manly, got their start selling Honda motorcycles in 1959. A decade later, they became the first Honda car dealership in the U.S. with Manly Honda in Santa Rosa, Calif. By age 10, Rita was sweeping floors, answering phones and polishing bikes.

Rita and Rick met in the 1970s when they were members of the first Honda-specific NADA 20 Group. Once married, the couple leveraged their combined experience in the industry to drive incredible results for the Rick Case brand, which became a prime example of both automotive excellence and community support. They were married more than 40 years—with Rick being CEO and Rita being COO for decades—before Rick passed away in 2020 after a short battle with cancer. Over the last few years as CEO, Rita has played a critical role in guiding the company through the COVID pandemic and maintaining its commitment to help others through charity and outstanding service.

The Rick Case Automotive Group now comprises 12 dealerships in Florida and the Atlanta area, with plans for four more standalone Genesis locations coming soon.

The Case name is synonymous with being No. 1. Rick Case Honda holds records for selling the most Honda cars (1,222), Honda motorcycles (614) and Acuras (379) in a month. They’ve received the Honda President’s Award 16 years in a row and are the most awarded volume Honda dealer in America Honda's history. Rick Case is perennially recognized as one of the top Honda dealerships by volume in the United States.

And Rita has accomplished some firsts of her own: She was the first person to sell a Honda in the U.S. (at the age of 15), placed the first customer order for a Honda jet in the U.S. in 2006 and was the first woman to pilot a Honda jet. Flying has been a hobby of hers since age 16.

“I’m so humbled, so grateful for this award. I’m so proud to be an automobile dealer,” Case said during her acceptance speech. “This is the greatest industry in the world. It’s so much fun. We are true entrepreneurs, and we are the American dream.”

Dealers are nominated for TIME Dealer of the Year by members of the Automotive Trade Association Executives. A panel composed of faculty from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan chooses the TIME Dealer of the Year finalists and winner.

Besides her business success, Case founded the Ft. Lauderdale International Auto Show with her husband in 1990; the event raises money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. For the past 41 years, through the Rick Case Bikes for Kids program, her stores have collected bicycles from the community to give to children in need for the holidays. In addition, her company is the founding sponsor of 77 affordable homes for Habitat for Humanity of Broward. A Rick Case Habitat Community, located in Pompano Beach, Fla., is expected to be completed later this year and will be the largest workforce housing project in Broward County history.

Truck Dealer of the Year: Leadership Personified

Katie Hopkins, 2024 ATD Truck Dealer of the Year

Katie Hopkins is a third-generation dealer who began her truck dealership career as an entry-level accounts receivable clerk in her family’s business and gradually rose through the ranks while learning every aspect of operations. After attending ATD Academy, she joined Truck Centers Inc. (TCI) leadership as vice president, then chief operations officer, before taking over from her father.

“The foundation of teamwork, customer service and solution-focused thinking that my dad and his partner, Mike Yates, laid is still strong today,” Hopkins said upon receiving the award. “The TCI team and this industry are filled with hardworking, talented people who keep America's supply chain moving. I am honored to be a small part of that.”

Hopkins has continually been recognized for her leadership, serving on the boards of the Missouri Auto Dealers Association, St. Louis Regional Business Council, Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council, Better Business Bureau of St. Louis and St. Louis Children's Hospital, as well as holding positions including the inaugural ATD NextGen Committee chairperson, Daimler Elite Support Dealer Advisory Group member, keynote speaker for Cummins, Inc.’s Women Empowerment Network and a legislative liaison advancing NADA and ATD initiatives in Washington, D.C.

Hopkins was chosen from seven nominated commercial truck dealers. The nominees were selected by state, metro and national dealer association leaders, ATD line representatives and ATD members. A panel of judges from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business evaluated the nominees and selected the winner.

“I love being a part of an industry that is essential to our nation and economy but is also rather unassuming,” Hopkins says. “Trucks are the lifeblood of logistics and play such a crucial role in the supply chain, it is rewarding to be a part of that. The truck industry also has a heritage of hard work and practical needs driving innovation, which I appreciate.”

(The NADA TIME Dealer of the Year competition is sponsored by Ally Financial Services and recognizes new-car dealers. The ATD Truck Dealer of the Year contest for commercial truck dealers is sponsored by Trucks, Parts, Service and Procede Software. Judging criteria for both awards include business performance, industry leadership and service to the community.)

Cookie Icon Update Cookie Preferences