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Northwood University Honors Five Automobile Dealers with its Dealer Education Award

March 15, 2016

Northwood University will honor five automobile dealers from across the United States with its annual Dealer Education Award during the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) convention in Las Vegas. Since 1972, Northwood has recognized owners and dealer principals in the automotive marketing field who have made noteworthy, individual contributions to public or private education inside or outside of the industry. Honorees include:

  • Timothy M. Crenwelge, dealer principal, Crenwelge Motors, Kerrville, Texas.
  • Christopher L. Gaunce, vice president, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Waterville, Maine.
  • Ralph L. Mastantuono, executive vice president and general manager, Mercedes Benz of Alexandria, Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Edward Siemans, president, Siemans Ford and Siemans Imports, Bridgman, Michigan.
  • Sam Slaughter, owner and chief operating officer, Sellers Buick GMC, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

The awards will be presented at a special breakfast on Saturday, April 2, at 8 a.m. in the Champagne Ballroom at Paris Las Vegas. Breakfast attendees will include students, alumni and friends of the university. The university will host more than 30 students enrolled in its Automotive Marketing and Management degree program at the convention. Several of these students will be involved in the awards presentation ceremony.

“This marks our 45th year of recognizing outstanding dealers, and there has never been a time when their contributions have meant more to their communities than they do today,” said Keith A. Pretty, president of Northwood University.  “These leaders have made outstanding sacrifices of time and resources. We are proud of all the Dealer Education Award winners and commend them for their leadership.”

Biographical information for each honoree is as follows:

CrenwelgeTim Crenwelge – Tim Crenwelge is the epitome of a dealer who has an unwavering dedication to education, aimed at providing higher education as a priority for his community, region and state.

For more than 20 years, he has been actively involved in creating educational partnerships in Kerrville and Fredericksburg, Texas. Through his efforts, a satellite campus of Texas Tech University was established and the Fredericksburg Multi-Institutional Teaching Center received funds from a multi-million dollar funding raising effort that Crenwelge led.

He also was instrumental in establishing the Texas Dealer Academy in 2010 to serve as a training center for the sons and daughters of Texas automobile dealers.  The Academy stresses the importance of finance, product training, social media and on-line marketing.

Crenwelge also supports his community serving on the board of numerous local organizations.



Christopher L. Gaunce – Northwood University graduate Gaunce is a third-generation automobile dealer. He has received the university’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award and serves as the chair for its Automotive Marketing Advisory Board.

Gaunce and his dealership employees actively support a variety of events and fundraisers aimed at helping those less fortunate or who have medical challenges. He and his team support the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers, the Salvation Army, Lakewood Continuing Care, Albert S. Hall Food Pantry Greater Waterville Area Food Bank, Fairfield Interfaith Food Pantry and breast cancer awareness efforts.

Through his work with the Central Maine Growth Council, Gaunce led the way to create opportunities to support the education of the local workforce through the Mid-Maine Technical Center internship and mentorship program.

He also serves on numerous local boards and committees.

Ralph Mastantuono

Ralph L. Mastantnuono – Ralph Mastantuono has led two local dealerships in Alexandria and Arlington for the past 13 years, with an ardent passion for perfection and the highest quality customer service. Under Mastantuono’s guidance, the dealerships help support a number of community organizations and fundraising programs.

He developed and implemented an auto dealer intern program in conjunction with the Arlington Chamber and the Arlington County Public Schools. This program, designed for high school students aspiring to careers in the automobile business, teaches them the basic elements of vehicle sales and fixed operations. Mastantuono also developed a unique training program for dealership general managers from across the United States, emphasizing the special skill set required for retail and service for high-end vehicles.

Mastantuono serves the Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association (WANADA) as its chairman and a member of its executive committee. He is a strong proponent of the Association’s Automobile Dealer Education Institute, creating opportunities for young people to become NATEF Certified Technicians.


Ed SiemansEdward Siemans – Ed Siemans’ strong belief in supporting education is witnessed through the variety of organizations with which he and his dealership are continuously involved. While some organizations are national, he prefers to support those programs and organizations that truly impact and benefit the local community.

Siemans is an advocate and supporter for the Blossomtime Festival, Gateway Services, Lory’s Place, Lakeshore Excellence Foundation, Five Pines Ministries and the Lake Michigan College Foundation’s Winner’s Circle Benefit Auction, to name a few.

He is an active member of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, serving as a director and Group II Chairman for the organization. With more than 60 years of automotive experience, Siemans runs the dealership alongside his three sons.

Sam Slaughter

Sam Slaughter – Sam Slaughter is one of the most active and community-minded automobile dealers in Southeast Michigan. He has created a culture of community support and involvement throughout his dealerships.

Through his leadership, he and his employees support many organizations throughout the metro Detroit area, including the Special Olympics Plunge and the Tom “Killer” Kowalski Foundation. As president of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Family, Slaughter transforms his dealership for one night a year into a beautiful hall, hosting the Annual Winter Gala to support youth in the local area.

Slaughter led an effort by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association to participate in the inaugural Covenant House Michigan’s “Executive Sleep Out” on one of Detroit’s coldest nights last November to raise funds for those in need. He also serves on numerous committees and boards, including the Huron Valley Educational Foundation and Leader Dogs for the Blind

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