A Frederick, Md., auto dealership owner was honored by General Motors on Wednesday for his 25 years of success.
DeWalt Willard, owner of Ideal Buick-GMC in Frederick, was honored at a luncheon by GM zone executives for his service to the auto industry and the community.
Willard, known as De, has also owned Graham Motor Co. in Carlisle, Pa., and Shenandoah Motors in Front Royal, Va. The GM awards covered all three dealerships.
Willard was named a Time magazine Quality Dealer of the Year in 2011. That is considered the most prestigious award in the industry, said Marisa Shockley, chairwoman of the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, when the award was presented.
"De is one of the few people in the world you can do a deal with a handshake," said Conrad Aschenbach, who operates a number of dealerships in the area.
"That is something to be proud of," Aschenbach said.
Fred Whitt, zone manager for General Motors, said the automaker, GM representatives and customers appreciated everything Willard has done at his dealerships for the industry and economy.
Renee Miller, district manager for service and parts, said the dealership is a pleasure to visit and the employees are easy to work with.
"I hope to do this in 25 more years," Whitt told Willard.
The Frederick dealership has about 45 employees, the other two locations about 30 employees each.
Willard's roots are in agriculture. He owns Willard Chemical with five locations and about 100 total employees. The company provides fertilizer and other products to the agricultural community.
Willard and his family farm about 2,500 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans in Poolesville.
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