Huntsville’s Doug Sullivan is much more than just the owner of Bickley Ford.
His dedication to both his own community and to the automotive industry earned him recognition as a finalist for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association 2016 Ambassador Laureate.
Although he didn’t win the award, Sullivan says just being nominated was a great honour. For Sullivan, who is quite humble and doesn’t like to brag, the work that led to the nomination is more important than winning any award.
Having relocated to Huntsville from North Bay in 2005, Sullivan brought with him a love for helping others and putting his community first. His wife Ramona is also quite involved in the community, volunteering behind-the-scenes with several causes and events.
Sullivan has been an active member of the community since he arrived on the Huntsville scene, serving as a director on the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce as well as being a prominent member of the Rotary Club of Huntsville.
Sullivan and Bickley Ford have been major sponsors of events such as the Chamber of Commerce President’s Ball, the 2010 Ontario Winter Games and many more.
Prior to making Huntsville home, Sullivan spent 45 years in North Bay and he was involved in numerous organizations including the North Bay Health Unit, North Bay Parking Authority and North Bay Big Brothers, to name a few.
As president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), Sullivan takes great pride in the fact they have generated over $900,000 since 2013 for prostate cancer through the annual Rock the Road Raffle.
While dedicating one’s time to the community with these entities and events would be more than enough to show how much a person cares about the place they live, Sullivan has also been active as a member of dealer associations board of directors.
He has twice represented Ontario on the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association board.
Sullivan is in his fifth year on the TADA board and previously was president of the Ontario Automobile Dealers Association (OADA). He lists as one of his greatest accomplishments his involvement in amalgamating the OADA and Toronto Dealers Association into the unified TADA. Sullivan was president of the OADA and he helped bring TADA to existence in 2012.
He is the current past president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and, as such, is the president of the Canadian International Car Show taking place in February 2017. With the upcoming year being Canada’s 150th as a nation, the car show promises to be a great event.
Sullivan says preparing for the event takes about a year and in advance of the February car show, he has and will be travelling to auto shows in New York, Germany, England, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more.
“The year after being the president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, you become president of the Canadian International Car Show,” says Sullivan. “It’s the biggest auto show in Canada and one of the biggest shows internationally.”
In 2016, the car show saw more than 300,000 people visit the event over its 11 days. Sullivan says throughout the show there are special days geared towards students, seniors, the media and other groups of car enthusiasts.
“We try to make it special for each person by attracting different groups of people on different days,” he says.
While being an integral part of the auto industry is a big part of Sullivan’s life, he remains humble and loyal to the community he lives in.
From the Table Soup Kitchen to the Santa Claus Parade, Sullivan has been a source of both financial and hands-on assistance to nearly every fundraising event and not-for-profit organization in Huntsville and the surrounding area over the years.
He says he’s not alone in supporting community endeavours and points out that there are many who join forces to make things happen in the town.
“I can’t believe what happens when an idea comes out to promote and support something in this town,” says Sullivan. “How everybody gets involved. It starts with the Rotary club and the support we get from all the people to raise money to give back to the community. I get a kick out of working with people and seeing how much everybody puts in and what they get out of it. Ramona and I both.”