WAUKEGAN, Ill.?The Illinois State Crime Commission has named Wauk-egan Tire & Supply Co. founder and CEO Gerald (Jerry) Nerheim the 2015 Businessman of the Year.
Mr. Nerheim was presented the award during the commission's 19th annual A Salute to Those Who Make a Difference awards dinner.
Mr. Nerheim's dedication, not only to his successful business but also to his community and law enforcement, creates vital partnerships that build trust within the community, said Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz. Honoring Jerry with this prestigious award represents his tireless commitment over four decades.
Mr. Nerheim volunteers for and participates in community events and actively supports law enforcement. Waukegan Tire said he also is a long-time supporter of area youth soccer leagues and organizations that help children and youth succeed. Additionally, he donates to the Shop with a Cop Program and other Fraternal Order of Police programs.
Mr. Nerheim founded Waukegan-based Waukegan Tire in September 1968. The dealership currently operates four retail locations serving northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin plus a wholesale tire and wheel store attached to its tire warehouse.
Mr. Nerheim told Tire Business he recently signed the papers on property he has under contract. It will become the company's fifth retail store when it opens sometime next year in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., on the outskirts of Kenosha on Highway 50 in what he described as the hottest area in Wisconsin for development.
Upon receiving the award, Mr. Nerheim said he was humbled to be recognized by such a well respected organization as the Illinois State Crime Commission. I am proud to be recognized by law enforcement and to be able to give back to my community.
The Illinois State Crime Commission/Police Athletic League of Illinois describes itself as a non-profit guided youth organization, with a mission to reduce juvenile delinquency and promote positive interaction between law enforcement and communities while relying heavily on athletics and recreational activities to tighten this bond.
The dealership also recently collaborated with the Dandelion Gallery in Waukegan to showcase the Waukegan Tire Art Collectivewhich it described as a fun and innovative art exhibit that was displayed at the gallery this past summer.
Dandelion Gallery artists and other local community artists displayed their creations made using a wide variety of medium and techniques, including reclaimed or repurposed materials provided by the dealership.
For example, artist Lorinda Murphy displayed one of her signature guitarstitled CARtunemade from automotive parts. Noreen Cashman created two colorful chairs made from hubcabs. Gary Goza's colored pencil drawing The Collection illustrated 36 cars on tan paper and is designed to appear three-dimensional.
Mr. Nerheim said he was humbled the gallery wanted to collaborate on the project, and is proud of Waukegan Tire's long-time commitment to the community and support of the arts, which he called a powerful way to transform communities and we are excited to see all the great things happening right here in Waukegan.