Isaac Willis of Willis Chevrolet Buick in Smyrna was named the Delaware nominee for Time Dealer of the Year.
The long-running program honors dealers for their achievements and community service.
A 1993 graduate of Smyrna High School in Smyrna, Willis earned a B.S. in criminal justice from the University of Delaware in Newark in 1997, where he was a member of the University of Delaware Emergency Care Unit, a student-run volunteer ambulance corps.
Willis worked part-time in his family’s dealership until he graduated from college in 1997 and became a full-time employee.
He assumed the role of general manager in 2004 and currently serves as the company’s dealer principal.
Today, he is a partner with his father, William H. Willis Jr., in the business founded by his grandfather, William H. Willis Sr., in 1951.
The dealership, which invested heavily in expanding its facilities over the years,survived the purge of GM dealerships that claimed franchises in Middletown and St. Georges.
The family also owns a Ford dealership in the fast-growing area north of Dover. Smyrna is also home to a Chrysler-Jeep dealership.
Willis, has been a member of the Smyrna volunteer fire company, Citizens’ Hose Company No. 1, for 27 years. “I was a fire officer for 12 years before becoming fire chief in 2012” he said. “I have also held the offices of lieutenant, captain, second assistant chief and first assistant chief.” He has also served on the company’s board of directors since 2000.
He was named Firefighter of the Year in 1993 by the Citizens’ Hose Company No. 1.
Willis also served on the finance committee for Asbury United Methodist Church in Smyrna, on the advisory board for the Green Beret Project, a youth outreach program, and as chairperson of the capital campaign for the Greater Smyrna Clayton Boys & Girls Club.
The Willis’ dealership partners with local high schools to encourage and educate young drivers on driving safely, which includes pledges to not text and drive or drink and drive.
Willis was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Marlene Lynch-Petrylak, executive director of the Delaware Automobile & Truck Dealers’ Association. Willis and his wife, Christy, have two children.
Click here for information on nominees and the winner of the Time honor