LAS VEGAS – Mike Shaw brings his auto-dealer know-how to worthy causes, and things happen when he does.

“I am in the business of selling, and I bring those same skills to the community organizations I serve,” he says.

When he aided the Boy Scouts, they weren’t prepared for what happened.  Shaw helped the youth group turn a $200,000 popcorn fundraiser into a $3 million bonanza.

“I set it up as if it was one of my dealerships and the Scouts were salesmen,” he says.

Such community contributions are cited as Shaw wins the 2012 Time Dealer of the Year award, which the magazine sponsors with Ally Financial. He accepts the award during a ceremony at the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention here.

“It’s the head honcho who gets the honors, but it’s the people in the business that make a difference,” says the dealer principal of Mike Shaw Chevrolet Saab in Denver. He has six other car stores in Colorado, Louisiana and Texas.

Ally donates $10,000 to a cause of his choice. Ally also gives $5,000 to charitable and community causes on behalf of all 50 nominated dealers across the nation.

“Auto dealers have a tremendous impact on the vitality and strength of communities across the U.S.,” says Tim Russi, executive vice president of Ally’s North American automotive unit. “Ally is proud to support these extraordinary dealers who are truly making their communities better places to live and work.”

The award’s recipients are among dealers who are both financially successful and philanthropic.

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Assn. nominated Shaw, 65, for the national competition. A panel of University of Michigan business school faculty members selects the four regional finalists and the winner.

After graduating from high school in Welasco, TX, Shaw earned a degree in business management at Texas A&M University, where he distinguished himself in a military officer-training program.

He later served as an officer in the U.S. Army and spent a year in Vietnam during the war before returning home to refocus his career in the automotive industry, where he worked before leaving for service.

“I fell in love with the car business and knew instantly that was where I belonged,” Shaw says.

After managing and owning a string of dealerships, he launched the “Mike Shaw” branded stores in 1994.

“My actions and ethics as a dealer have helped me become one of the largest minority-owned car dealers in the nation,” says Shaw, who has Hispanic roots. “Family, ethical behavior and education are values that have guided me to success.”

For the past 17 years, he has been involved with numerous projects and organizations. These include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Urban League of Denver, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Colorado AIDS Walk, Food Bank of the Rockies, American Cancer Society, Crime Stoppers, Executive Women International and Seniors Inc.

Shaw’s efforts have garnered numerous awards, but the one that means the most to him is a Boy Scout honor given for service to Hispanic-American/Latino youth.

“I am honored and humbled as the first recipient,” Shaw says. “Since from an early age, the Boy Scouts were instrumental in molding me and instilling my ethical and core values. It is such an honor to be recognized for giving back and impacting the lives of our future leaders in this way.”

Shaw and his wife Nancy have three children and three grandchildren. Two sons work for the family business.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com