Kocourek owner wins national recognition for charity work and industry accomplishments

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- A Wausau car dealership owner has been nominated for 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award for his charity work.

Keith Kocourek, owner and president of Kocourek Chevrolet in Wausau, is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans on January 27.

"I enjoy participating in someone's journey, discovering their talents and potential and encouraging personal growth," nominee Kocourek stated in a news release. "I am touched to play such a significant role in building the careers of my team members. What may have started as a job has thrived into a supportive, rewarding profession."

The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry's most prestigious and highly coveted honors.

Kocourek believes that "improving the lives of our neighbors is both a responsibility and privilege." To that end, he is an enthusiastic supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin, an experience that has forever changed his life. That is where 27 years ago he met 6- year-old, Charlie Sann. "Over the years, I have watched Charlie grow up, go to college and develop a successful career within my business, as well as start a family," he said. Today, Charlie is the sales manager at Kocourek Chevrolet.

To help other children's charities, Kocourek founded the Kocourek Kids Foundation in 2008. "A percentage of the profits earned each month from the dealerships is contributed to the foundation and, personally, I match any donation from team members and outside sources," he said. "Since its commencement, there has been more than $250,000 donated to this fund." The foundation supports the local Boy Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club, as well as The Neighbors' Place in Wausau, which offers a "hand up" to people in need in Marathon County.

Kocourek also volunteers for Angel Flight, an organization that provides free transportation to individuals in crisis. He has also donated his leadership to the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, serving on its board for six years.

Kocourek was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by William Sepic, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association. He has one daughter.