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TIME and Ally Financial Honor Honolulu Dealer

Nicolai Is One Of 51 Dealers To Be Recognized

Brad Nicolai, president of Velocity Honolulu, has been nominated for the 2019 TIME and Ally Financial Dealer of the Year Award. Nicolai is one of a select group of 51 dealer nominees from across the United States who will be recognized at the National Automobile Dealers Association Show in San Francisco on January 25, 2019.

TIME Publisher Jorg Stratmann and Ally Financial President of Auto Finance Doug Timmerman made the announcement. The TIME Dealer of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious – and highly coveted – honors of the automobile industry. The nominees are not only successful automobile dealers, but are pillars of the community as evidenced by their long-standing commitment to public service. Now in its 50 th year, the award committee chooses 51 auto dealers
from a field of more than 16,000 dealers nationwide.

From our humble beginnings…

Nicolai, 43, graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu and did his undergraduate studies at Boston College in Massachusetts. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He also did undergraduate studies in Florence, Italy, at the Lorenzo de Medici Italian International Institute.

After earning his B.S. in Marketing, Nicolai worked at Penfold Motors in Melbourne, Australia. In 1998, he joined his father, Joe Nicolai, at the latter’s company, JN Group.

“From our humble beginnings on a dirt lot, we still maintain the same entrepreneurial and creative approach to business, taking us to the forefront of sustainable design and experiential retail,” said the younger Nicolai about his father’s company, which began in 1961 selling pre-owned cars.

Today, Brad Nicolai oversees Velocity Honolulu, a new concept in luxury shopping, dining and residential living. It is home to 16 brands of high-end automobiles and motorcycles, top-of-the-line retail shops, fine dining and luxury apartments. Velocity Honolulu was the first developer in Hawaii to receive LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environment Design – certification for its residential complex, Symphony Honolulu.

“My desire to do things differently and to learn from others outside our industry inspired me to intern for a real estate company during the summers while also working at the dealership. This sparked my interest in creating an amenity-rich mixed-use development,” said Nicolai.

Deep Commitment To The Community

The JN Group is a strong supporter of the United States Armed Forces. They donate to several programs that provide services to our nation’s heroes. Some of these programs are the United States Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (U.S. Army MWR), the Honolulu Navy League and the Association of the United States Army. JN Group stores are collection centers for Toys for Tots.

The Nicolai Family created the Castiglione a Casauria Foundation, named after the small Italian town where Brad Nicolai’s grandparents hail from, and through which JN Group gives back to charities; big and small alike. They host blood drives regularly at their dealerships. Additionally, they support the Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, which advocates early childhood literacy; American Red Cross of Hawaii; Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii; Doctors Without Borders; Friends of Kewalos, which protects and preserves Kewalos Basin Park; Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation; Hawaii Foodbank; Hawaiian Humane Society; Lanakila Meals on Wheels; Moanalua Gardens Foundation, which preserves the native culture and environment of Hawaii; REHAB Foundation, which supports the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific to help people with physical and cognitive disabilities; Teach for America and YMCA of Honolulu, among others.

The Award

Dealers are nominated by executives of state and metro dealers from around the nation. The award is sponsored by TIME and Ally Financial with the cooperation of NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan selects one finalist from each region and one National Dealer of the Year. The top 3 finalists receive $5,000 for their favorite charity and the winner gets an additional $10,000 for charity.

Ally also donates $1,000 to each of the 51 nominees to contribute to the charity of their choice.