Dealer group’s scholarship program invests in ‘tomorrow’s leaders today’
Zeigler Auto Group president and owner Aaron Zeigler said taking care of its employees, their families and its communities has always been a company goal.
As part of that goal, the auto group on Thursday said it will award $100,000 in scholarships through its Zeigler Family Scholarship Program.
The scholarship program is in its second year, and is open to employees, their family members or dependents.
The Zeigler Family Scholarship committee chose recipients based on each applicant’s academic and personal accomplishments, extracurricular activities and financial need.
“It brings me, and I know the rest of our team, great joy to be able to invest in tomorrow’s leaders today,” Zeigler said in a news release.
This year, the committee awarded scholarships to 11 students. Nine received $10,000, and the remaining $10,000 was split evenly among two siblings: Kelli and Kevin Jordan.
Awardees must attend a four-year or two-year university, college or trade school in the fall term following their acceptance of the scholarship. Winners from 2019 ended up attending the University of Illinois, Michigan State University, Loyola University, Lake Superior University, and various trade schools and community colleges.
Zeigler also offers training for employees in addition to the scholarship program. The training takes place through internal programs such as its Zeigler University Speaker Series to help provide them with a clear path to promotions.
In 2019, the dealership group has promoted more than 150 employees to new positions. Many of those individuals remained with the company for several years.
In April, Zeigler announced that it will cover 100% of health care costs for the month of May and June for all of its employees who were currently working at the time, or for those who were scheduled to return to work by May 1.
Zeigler’s hourly employees under the new program would also receive a $10-per-hour pay increase for eight weeks starting May 1. The average hourly employee rate will be about $15 per hour.
Also, all flat rate techs throughout the organization for eight weeks starting May 1 will be guaranteed 40 hours per week. All commissioned sales reps will receive an additional $400 per week.
“I think we have an awesome plan out there,” Aaron Zeigler said in a news release.
Zeigler continued, “I think what we are doing is absolutely unprecedented. I don't think any other organization has done this, but we are in unprecedented times too. And we want to be a leader in the industry moving forward and make sure that all of our employees are taken care of, and that they are happy, safe and healthy.”
Denver Borst, 18, is one of the recipients, and he said the scholarship gave him “a huge financial relief.”
“I plan to use it to pay for my tuition my freshman year. Thank you so much,” Borst said.
Following are the Zeigler Family Scholarship 2020 winners:
— Catherine Austin, 20, University of Wisconsin-Platteville: agribusiness and accounting (Jeff Austin, Mercedes-Benz of Hoffman Estates)
— Denver Borst, 18, Lakeshore High School, Grand Valley State University: business (Steve Borst, Zeigler Plainwell Ford)
— Zachary Cardis, 18, Lowell High School, Davenport University: business, marketing, sales (Jason Cardis, Zeigler Ford of Lowell)
— Kelli Jordan, 19, Lincoln-Way East High School, Juliet Junior College: psychology (Tom Jordan – BMW Orland Park)
— Kevin Jordan, 17, Lincoln-Way East High School, Ohio State University: business administration (Tom Jordan – BMW Orland Park)
— Camden Kalleward, 20, University of Michigan: business (Beth Kalleward, Zeigler Auto Group)
— Bryan O’Connor, 21, Western Michigan University: biological sciences (Michelle Hill, Zeigler Ford of Elkhart & Zeigler Motorsports)
— Konnor McLeod, 19, Michigan State University Broad College of Business: marketing, sales
— Andrew Miller, 26, University of Michigan, University of Colorado: business masters (sustainability/entrepreneurship) (Bruce Miller, Zeigler Auto Group)
— Amanda Pflaumer, 20, Elmhurst College: criminal justice, pre-law (Scott Pflaumer, Zeigler Schaumburg CDJ)
— Michael Shumaker, 18, Gull Lake High School, Grand Valley State University: computer science (Jeff Shumaker Zeigler Honda of Kalamazoo)