2021 ALL STAR | DEALER/PRIVATE
CEO and owner,
Mills Automotive Group
Damian Mills continues to grow his dealership group into new regions and with new brands, as he is set next month to become chairman of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.
Mills, 48, in 2004 bought this first dealership — a Ford store in Smithfield, N.C. — and has grown Mills Automotive Group of Charlotte, N.C., to 19 dealerships in four Southern states.
In late August, Mills Automotive acquired three stores in Hampton, Va., from Tysinger Motor Co., adding Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Hyundai-Genesis dealerships.
"I've always had a big vision of ... what we could do and the opportunities that we can create for like-minded individuals," he told Automotive News. "I have a very good team of people around me and they're like-minded and we're very purposeful and intentional about our diversity and about creating opportunities for people."
Mentoring is important to Mills, who continues to work with several people inside his company and outside.
Mills, who was an Automotive News 40 Under 40 honoree in 2013, has seen mentees buy their own dealerships.
"It's extremely gratifying because they fulfilled their dreams, but they also understand they're re-creating themselves in other individuals too," he said.
Mills, a longtime member of NAMAD's board of directors, is stepping into a two-year leadership role as the group's chairman. He says the group has created opportunities for people.
"It's a big responsibility, especially considering the climate we're in as a country right now where I think some things have been awakened, the consciousness has been awakened," Mills said.