Cox Automotive, in partnership with the National Association of Minority Automotive Dealers (NAMAD), awarded its Rising Star Award to Carlos Sandoval, partner and fixed operations director at Bartow Ford located in Bartow, FL, among the largest volume Ford dealers in the nation and a 22-time President’s Award Winner. Sandoval was chosen based on nomination criteria, including being a NAMAD NEXTGEN member, demonstrating a strong commitment to community and making contributions to the automotive industry.
Keisha Duck, vice president, talent, learning and culture, Cox Automotive, was joined by NAMAD President Damon Lester to virtually present the award to Sandoval earlier this month. She said: “On behalf of Cox Automotive and in partnership with NAMAD, I am honored to recognize Carlos Sandoval as the 2020 Rising Star. Not only does Carlos exemplify the words ‘Rising Star,’ but he also exemplifies a core value of Cox and the Cox family — community service.”
Reflecting on Sandoval’s recognition, Lester added, “Carlos is a true testament that ordinary people do extraordinary things. He an example of a next-generation dealer and shows this industry has a bright future.”
Sandoval joined the Bartow Ford team in 2005. Then-principal owner Benjamin Robles Sr. became a mentor and has been instrumental in shaping Sandoval’s career and supporting his ambition to become a dealer principal. In 2012, Robles selected Sandoval as part of his succession plan and provided an opportunity for him to buy shares of the dealership. Today Sandoval oversees three departments, 125 employees and 69 service bays. Under his leadership, his team boasts combined annual sales revenues of $23 million and manages over $2 million in parts inventory.
Also, Sandoval guides the company’s philanthropic efforts supporting various causes including Achievement Academy, Club Hispano de Lakeland, Central Florida Speech and Hearing and Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. He also supports Bartow Ford efforts in supporting the community through its own events including Drive for Excellence, Winter Wonderland (a free event for children to experience snow and see Santa) and Back the Blue Luncheon. Sandoval has served on the board of directors for the Women’s Care Center and Bartow Chamber of Commerce and earned the title of “Mr. Bartow” by raising the most money for Main Street Bartow, Inc. to nurture the growth of new local businesses.
“Thank you, Cox Automotive, Damon Lester and NAMAD for honoring me with this prestigious award,” said Sandoval. “I am very humbled and truly grateful for this acknowledgment. To receive recognition for two of the things I am most passionate about — my career in the automotive industry and working in my community — makes this a highlight of my career. Thanks to my beautiful wife Laurie — who has been my inspiration and rock. I would also like to thank my mentor Benny Robles Sr., who empowered me to grow and learn the Bartow Ford way of treating our employees and customers, and Benny Robles Jr., who continues to push me to be an innovator and take chances to stay ahead of our ever-changing business. I would like to recognize my amazing team at Bartow Ford; I believe they are the best of the best in the industry.”
Cox Automotive is donating $5,000 in Sandoval’s honor to Women’s Care Center, a non-profit organization that provides a transitional housing and support services for women and their children.
In addition, Cox Automotive will also donate a disaster response vehicle to the American Red Cross Mid-Florida chapter on Sandoval’s behalf. Cox Automotive is a long-time partner and member of the Red Cross Disaster Response Program and this will be the 17th donated disaster response vehicle.
Bartow Ford has been serving the Central Florida community for more than 70 years. Founded in 1948 by Ernest Smith, Bartow Ford continues to operate on the same philosophies it was founded on — trust, integrity and honesty — under the leadership of Benjamin Robles Jr.
Cox Automotive is now accepting applications for the 2021 Rising Star Award. Nominate an up-and-coming leader today.