Judith Schumacher-Tilton, president of Schumacher Chevrolet Auto Group, assumed the chairwomanship of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR), effective Nov. 1, 2020. She succeeds Robert Sickel (Pine Belt Enterprises, Inc.) as the first chairwoman in NJ CAR’s 102-year history.
Schumacher-Tilton got her start in the auto retailing business unexpectedly in 1999 after her father passed away and her brother became gravely ill. She now operates six New Jersey franchises- five Chevrolet dealerships in Little Falls, Denville, Clifton, Livingston and Boonton, as well as a Buick dealership in Boonton.
“Life has a way of pulling you into the journey,” said Schumacher-Tilton. “My brother taught me everything I needed to know to run a dealership. I never expected my destiny to be in the car business, which is truly unique, because you really have 6 different businesses under one roof- new car sales, used car sales, parts, service, auto body, and finance. I fell in love with the business and feel I am doing what I was always meant to be doing.”
Schumacher-Tilton is a past chairperson of the General Motors Women’s Dealer Advisory Council and has served on the Tri-State Chevrolet LMA Board for more than 15 years. She also currently serves as vice-chairperson of WASCO and holds positions on the Montclair State University Foundation Board, the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton, and the Passaic County 200 Club Trustee Board.
Schumacher-Tilton has been recognized by Ally Financial as an Ally Dealer Hero, in recognition of her many charitable contributions, particularly the work of her family’s Give the Kids Hope Foundation, which supports recreational and educational opportunities for underprivileged children.
Among her many other accomplishments, Schumacher-Tilton was nominated by her dealer colleagues as New Jersey’s 2012 TIME Dealer of the Year (the first woman nominated in New Jersey) and was ultimately named one of only four finalists for the national title. She was also honored by New Jersey Monthly as one of the 2013 Top Female Entrepreneurs and the New York Business Journal as a recipient of the 2015 Women of Influence award. Schumacher-Tilton has also been named one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” by NJ BIZ, and has received the Distinguished Women Award from Northwood University, as well as a Philanthropic Leadership award from Montclair State University.
“Judith is an incredible representative for New Jersey’s 500+ neighborhood new car and truck dealerships that represent a $37 billion industry and employ or support the jobs of more than 76,000 men and women,” said James B. Appleton, president of NJ CAR. “The ongoing pandemic will continue presenting challenges to the auto retail community, but I can think of nobody better than Judith to lead the Coalition as we work to ensure dealers continue providing a healthy and safe environment for their customers and employees.”
“I am truly humbled to serve as NJ CAR’s first chairwoman,” said Schmacher-Tilton. “More and more woman are taking on leadership and ownership roles in the auto retailing industry. I may be the first woman to lead NJ CAR, but I will serve with the very same commitment and drive as the 101 men who preceded me in this role. I love the car business, particularly the rough and tumble competition, but I can’t wait to work on behalf of consumers and all of my colleagues throughout New Jersey in the coming year.”
Schumacher-Tilton was born and raised in Little Falls and currently lives in Montclair with her husband Steve. She has three grown children and six grandchildren.
NJ CAR’s 2020-2021 senior officers also include: Vice Chairman Michael F. DiFeo (Hudson Hyundai, Jersey City), Secretary James Curley, III (Jim Curley Buick GMC, Lakewood) and Treasurer Eric Nielsen (Dover Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Rockaway).
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