Wally Sommer earns national honor

By News Graphic Staff

Feb. 6, 2018

 Wally Sommer, left, president of Sommer’s Subaru in Mequon, is recognized as a nominee for the TIME Dealer of the Year award during a recent presentation conducted by Mary Brass, regional account executive for Ally Financial and Bill Jones,area remarketing representative for Ally Financial.
Photo by Mark Justesen

MEQUON — Wally Sommer, president of Sommer’s Subaru in Mequon, is one of 47 auto dealers from around the nation to be nominated for the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year award.

The nominees will be recognized at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s show in Las Vegas March 23.

“I am thankful to the people who have been part of our business success and proud of the opportunity and career growth that we have been able to provide for them,” Sommer said in the TIME news release announcing the nomination.

“My automotive career in our family business has been extremely fulfilling on many different levels,” Sommer added.

The announcement of this year’s nominees was made by Meredith Long, senior vice president and general manager for TIME and Tim Russi, president of auto finance for Ally Financial.

“We salute this exceptional group of nominees for the 2018 TIME Dealer of the Year award,” Russi said in the news release. “These dealers are local pillars of strength, leadership and giving. Ally is proud to celebrate their stories and recognize them for their commitment to ‘do it right’ in their communities.”

In its seventh year as exclusive sponsor, Ally will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)(3) charity of choice. Nominees will also be recognized on AllyDealer-Heroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.

The TIME Dealer of the Year Award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors, according to the news release.

Sommer, 61, was selected to represent the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association in the national competition. He is one of 47 auto dealers from more than 16,500 nationwide to earn a nomination for the 49th annual award.

Sommer began his automotive career in grade school at his father’s dealership.

“I started washing cars with my brother Don before we could drive them,” he said. “Our dad’s enthusiasm and attitude were contagious. He always had faith in his people, products and future. I couldn’t wait to be part of that scenario. He had prepared me completely to follow in his path. I was proud to do so.”

Today, Sommer and his brother oversee three franchises, including Subaru, Buick and GMC. His son and niece represent the next generation of Sommers to enter the family enterprise.

With roots in Mequon that date to the 1880s, Sommer is deeply committed to bettering the community. Sommer’s Automotive donated $250,000 toward the Homestead High School athletic complex and pavilion.

It also has contributed to the Mequon-Thiensville Education Foundation, the expansion of Lumen Christi Catholic School, St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Journey House in Milwaukee and the Whitefish Bay Education Foundation.

“We feel it is important to support excellence in education in local school districts,” Sommer said, adding, “We believe building faith in the next generation is vital.”