Rahim Hassanally reflects on celebration of diversity at Urban Wheel Awards

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Automotive industry professional Rahim Hassanally looks back on his prestigious Urban Wheel Awards win.

Celebrating diversity within the U.S. automotive industry, each year the Urban Wheel Awards presents successful businesses and individuals with a variety of prestigious accolades, including ‘Urban Wheel Pioneer’ and ‘Company of the Year,’ among others. ‘Urban Dealer of the Year’ winner Rahim Hassanally looks back on the 18th annual Urban Wheel Awards held at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show as he shares more about the popular event.

“The 18th annual Urban Wheel Awards took place at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit,” explains Hassanally, a highly regarded figure with more than two decades of automotive industry experience. The purpose of the Urban Wheel Awards, he says, is to celebrate diversity and to raise money for vital education programs aimed at the nation’s youth.

Marketed as the official multicultural event of the North American International Auto Show, the 18th annual Urban Wheel Awards saw numerous automotive dealers, suppliers, specialists, and more honored for their contributions and commitment to diversity. “Proceeds from the Urban Wheel Awards event support the Emerging Diversity Education Fund,” Hassanally reveals, “which offers internships, scholarships, and mentoring to students who are pursuing careers in the automotive industry.”

Sponsored by Decisive Media, a successful publisher of multicultural online and print publications, the 18th annual Urban Wheel Awards saw ‘Company of the Year’ awarded to Toyota. “Accepting the award for Toyota,” says Hassanally, “was Jim Colon, vice president of African-American business strategy for North America.”

Awards were issued by presenters such as Damon Lester, president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, as well as David Westcott, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Also in attendance was Dave Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “‘Events like this are important,’ said Zuchowski during the awards,” reveals Hassanally, “before also adding that diversity and inclusion were among his key objectives at Hyundai.”

“Hyundai Motor America’s top executive,” he adds, “also explained how traditional markets were shrinking and disappearing, and that new, much more diverse market segments were emerging.”

National Automobile Dealers Association Academy graduate Rahim Hassanally was also one of three individuals to scoop an ‘Urban Dealer of the Year’ award as part of the event. Each a member of a different minority group, Hassanally was joined by fellow winners Manuel Gonzalez and Dorian Boyland in collecting his award.

The ‘Urban Wheel Pioneer of the Year’ award, meanwhile, went to Leon Richardson, CEO of automotive chemical company ChemicoMays, based in Michigan. “Nu Tek Steel, Ideal Group, and NYX Inc. all picked up ‘Supplier of the Year’ awards, too,” Hassanally points out.

“It was a wonderful evening and a great honor to be recognized for my hard work,” he adds, wrapping up, “and my ‘Urban Dealer of the Year’ award remains something of which I’m immensely proud.”

Rahim Hassanally is an experienced automotive industry professional based between California, New York, and Texas Born and raised in Texas, Hassanally is the recipient of a number of prestigious industry awards earned during more than two decades in the business, and has made the Automotive News ‘Top 40 Under 40’ list. A member of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers for more than 10 years and an American International Automobile Dealers Association board member, Hassanally’s personal interests include sports and philanthropy, among a number of other hobbies and pastimes.