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Richard J. Garber (’78)

January 1, 2019

President, Garber Management Group – Saginaw, MI

After graduating from Northwood University Michigan in 1978, Dick Garber became one of the youngest dealers in General Motors history when he was announced the third generation owner of 73-year-old Garber Buick at the young age of 25 in 1980.

Currently holding the honor of being America’s oldest Buick dealership in its 107th year, Garber has grown the conglomerate now known as Garber Management Group to generate annual sales revenues of over $700 million and to employ1200 people.

Ranked the 13th largest privately held Michigan company outside of Detroit, the enterprise functions in four states including Michigan, Illinois, Florida and New York. It includes 15 franchise dealerships representing 14 manufacturers, its own financial company known as Gateway Financial Solutions, and RightWay Automotive, an independent used vehicle chain which operates in over 25 sales locations in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.

When asked how he was able to grow the enterprise so dramatically, Garber shared,“The organization’s culture has been the key; built around an amazing group of people dedicated to the core values of honesty, respect, empathy, integrity, pride and hard work. These values guide our decisions and control our future,” he said.

In the tradition of his grandfather Guy S. Garber and father Richard J. Garber, the industrialist has also made service to the community a major priority in his life. As a life-long Saginaw resident, Garber has devoted himself to community, economic development and enriching the quality of life in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Currently serving as Chair of the Temple Theatre Foundation, President of Saginaw Society of Crippled Children, and Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Child Abuse and Neglect Council, his past leadership roles include the YMCA, United Way, Saginaw Chamber of Commerce, Saginaw Future, Inc., Vision 2020, and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance to name a few.

Outside of the automotive industry, a unique opportunity arose in 2002 for Garber to make a further contribution to the community, this time in the sports arena. At the encouragement of Hockey Legend Wren Blair and former Saginaw Mayor Paul Wendler, he became owner and Governor of an Ontario Hockey League (OHL) franchise, now known as the Saginaw Spirit which is in its thirteenth season at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw. Since its inception, nearly 1.5 million fans have enjoyed the excitement of world-class hockey and sports entertainment in the region.

Crediting his Northwood experience for a big part of his personal and professional success, Garber said, “Northwood University provided me my business fundamentals, including the importance of doing business ethically and not to be afraid to set high goals. Believe in yourself and in others, and work hard to make great things happen.”

Garber is father to three wonderful children, Anne, Laura and RJ.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.