* Thomas F. Crowder, Sr., president, CRTS, Graner, N.C. Using strong relationship-building skills with customers and suppliers, he expanded CRTS to include seven offices in Virginia and North and South Carolina.
* M. Joseph Helmsing, president, Craftsman Industries, St. Charles, Mo. Recently recognized as Manufacturing Employer of the Year by the city where his company is based, Helmsing has grown Craftsman Industries from 10 employees in 1982 to more than 180 today
* Scott D. Lamb, president, Atlantic Great Dane, South Portland, Maine. He developed a personalization process that identifies customers' needs and presents sales information and costs effectively, and that helped his company win all of Great Dane's top dealer honors.
* Stanley R. Zeamer, president, Utility/Keystone Trailer Sales, Manheim, Pa. He began the family-owned business in 1978 and, using participatory management techniques, has grown Utility/Keystone Trailer Sales to include three locations and 60 employees.
The award, created by Associates First Capital and the National Trailer Dealers Assn., recognizes heavy duty trailer dealers whose leadership, professionalism and integrity have most enhanced their companies, industry and communities.
One of these four finalists, culled from a field of 48 nominations from throughout the U.S. and Canada, will be honored as the first annual National Trailer Dealer of the Year during this year's annual NTDA convention, taking place Nov. 2-4 in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
All nominees were evaluated on the basis of dealership contribution and effectiveness (dealership profile, innovative business practices, financial policies, marketing methods, personnel management, vision for the dealership and the trailer industry); industry contribution (participation in industry associations, involvement with legislative issues, involvement with suppliers); and community involvement (participation in community, industry promotion, philanthropic/charitable activities).
A panel of five prominent industry representatives analyzed the nominations. Newport Communications' David A. Kolman was one of those serving on the selection committee. Among the others: Richard Bowling, president, Truck Trailer Manufacturers Assn.; Bruce Sauer, editor, Trailer/Body Builders magazine, and Alan Sims, vice president, ITS Management.