Steve Pleau Wins National Recognition for Community Service and Industry Accomplishments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New York, NY, October 18, 2023) The nomination of Steve Pleau, CEO and dealer principal at Future Ford Lincoln of Roseville in Roseville, California, for the 2024 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced today by TIME.
Pleau is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 3, 2024.
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The award recognizes the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Pleau was chosen to represent the California New Car Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide. Additionally, Steve will act as the association’s nominee as we celebrate 100 years of protecting and promoting our members’ interests.
“What truly fills me with pride is witnessing our employees’ growth and progression within the organization,” nominee Pleau said. “Knowing that I’ve played a role in their development and career advancement is immensely satisfying.”
A 1969 graduate of California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration, Pleau always knew he wanted to be a car dealer. His father, Gene Pleau, acquired a Ford dealership in Sacramento in 1963 and Pleau was introduced to the industry at a young age.
During his teenage years and early twenties, he was washing cars, maintaining the lot, managing parts inventory, and assisting in the service department. When he later transitioned into a sales associate role, he realized he had a knack for selling and forging relationships with customers.
“It was during those formative years that I knew I wanted to be a part of this fiercely competitive yet immensely rewarding industry, following in my father’s footsteps,” Pleau said. “My dad’s dedication and hard work paved the way for our family’s automotive legacy.”
After college, Pleau, who also served in the California National Guard from 1968 to 1974, started his career at the dealership full-time. He rose to General Sales Manager and in 1981, took a leap of faith and opened his own store, Future Ford of Roseville.
“Armed with an extensive skillset, in-depth knowledge of the Ford product line, and a profound understanding of the value of treating customers and employees like family, I embarked on this entrepreneurial endeavor,” he said. “I owe much of my career growth to my father’s invaluable mentorship and the many roles I undertook in all departments at his dealership, which laid a solid foundation.”
Pleau began to grow his footprint and acquire dealerships in northern and central California. Today, the Future Automotive Group encompasses 14 new-car dealerships with 23 franchises and three commercial fleet service centers, employing more than 1,300 Californians. His son, Geoff, is the next generation to carry on the family legacy.
One of Pleau’s proudest moments came in 2018 when he was inducted into the Ford Dealer Hall of Fame, becoming the sixth inductee to receive this prestigious honor from Ford Motor Company.
“This recognition stands as a highlight of my career, symbolizing the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a genuine passion for the automotive industry,” he said. “I share it with my team of hardworking, competent colleagues who have provided me with invaluable support and inspiration over the years.”
In the area of community and civic service, Pleau focuses on activities that have a significant impact locally. He believes it is a privilege and duty to give back to the communities that his dealerships serve and that have been integral to his success.
He is currently on the board of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, a public-private partnership that promotes economic development, job creation, sustainability, equity, and competitiveness in the region.
“Whether a company is looking to relocate, expand, or build, our experts are ready to assist them by navigating and identifying solutions to meet their business goals,” Pleau said. “As a founding board member, I have spent countless hours helping businesses and supporting the local economy.”
Future Automotive Group also encourages its employees to be good corporate citizens and to give back to the organizations and causes that mean the most to them. The company supports time off for community service and donates to many charities and nonprofits, fostering their social responsibility.
In addition, Pleau’s dealerships and his customers join him in supporting Shriners Children’s Northern California through a bi-annual toy drive; local food banks by holding canned food drives; the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Sacramento by organizing events and fundraising activities, and by wearing pink during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I am also actively involved in supporting public and private schools, as well as their athletic programs,” he said. “On a personal level, my wife and I recently donated $1 million to the University Foundation at Sacramento State, our alma mater, to help build a new health and wellness facility.”
Pleau added, “By giving back and investing in the betterment of our society, I aim to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same opportunities that have enabled me and my dealerships to flourish over the years.”
Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity, donated by Ally.
In its 13th year as exclusive sponsor, Ally also will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
“At TIME, we are proud to uphold the decades-long tradition of honoring automotive dealers who make a positive impact and show dedication to their communities through our TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said TIME CEO Jessica Sibley. “We are excited to keep this tradition of applauding these community contributions together with our partners at Ally.” Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to not only the industry but to their respective communities through volunteerism, sponsorships, and supporting charitable causes, no matter the market climate. Whether their clients are purchasing a first car or upgrading for a growing family, these selected dealers have successfully extended their relationships beyond the showroom and have been steadfast in driving their communities forward.”
Pleau was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association.
Pleau and his late wife, Vicki, have two children and five grandchildren.
TIME is the 100-year-old global media brand that reaches a combined audience of over 120 million around the world through its iconic magazine and digital platforms. With unparalleled access to the world’s most influential people, the trust of consumers and partners globally, and an unrivaled power to convene, TIME’s mission is to tell the essential stories of the people and ideas that shape and improve the world. Today, TIME also includes the Emmy Award®-winning film and television division TIME Studios; a significantly expanded live events business built on the powerful TIME100 and Person of the Year franchises and custom experiences; TIME for Kids, which provides trusted news with a focus on news literacy for kids and valuable resources for teachers and families; the award-winning branded content studio Red Border Studios; an industry-leading web3 division; the website-building platform TIME Sites; the sustainability and climate action platform TIME CO2; the new e-commerce and content platform TIME Stamped, and more.
About Ally Financial
Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) is a financial services company with the nation’s largest all-digital bank and an industry-leading auto financing business, driven by a mission to “Do It Right” and be a relentless ally for customers and communities. The company serves more than 11 million customers through a full range of online banking services (including deposits, mortgage, point-of-sale personal lending, and credit card products) and securities brokerage and investment advisory services. The company also includes a robust corporate finance business that offers capital for equity sponsors and middle-market companies, as well as auto financing and insurance offerings. For more information, please visit www.ally.com and follow @allyfinancial. For more information and disclosures about Ally, visit https://www.ally.com/#disclosures. For further images and news on Ally, please visit http://media.ally.com.
About the NADA Show
The annual NADA Show brings together more than 20,000 franchised dealers and their employees, industry leaders, manufacturers and exhibitors to learn about the latest auto industry tools, trends, products and technologies.
For 100 years, the California New Car Dealers Association has protected and promoted the interests of California’s franchised new car and truck dealers. CNCDA members are primarily engaged in the retail sale and lease of new and used motor vehicles but also provide customers with automotive products, parts, service and repair. Our members sold more than 3 million new cars and trucks in 2022 and employed more than 136,000 Californians, significantly contributing to our state’s economy. As the nation’s largest state association of franchised new car and truck dealers—with more than 1,200 members—CNCDA provides legal compliance and legislative, regulatory, and legal advocacy.