Tamara Darvish, who fought for dealer rights on Capitol Hill after a massive termination of dealerships, receives Manheim auction firm's woman of the year award.

“Tamara is a shining example of an outstanding leader, role model and tireless advocate for our industry,” says Manheim CEO Dean Eisner, citing Darvish's contributions to the auto industry, education and charities.

He presents the award at Northwood University's annual breakfast during the NADA convention. Darvish is a graduate of Northwood's dealer-management program.

She is executive vice president of DARCARS, a dealership group founded by her father.

Based in Silver Springs, MD, the 35-franchise group had $773 million in revenue in 2009. It ranks No.26 on the Ward's Megadealer 100.

Joining the firm 26 years ago, Darvish now oversees daily operation of all departments.

But it was her work outside the family firm that garnered her national attention as a dealer advocate. She co-founded a group that fought the way General Motors and, especially, Chrysler terminated thousands of dealerships in 2009 and 2010 as part of a post-bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Her efforts included testifying before Congress, which ultimately enacted legislation requiring third-party arbitration for dealers.

“We can all learn and be inspired by her many accomplishments,” Eisner says.

Says Darvish: “I have the pleasure of working with countless colleagues who love the automotive industry as much as I do, and who give their time and resources to improve their communities.”