A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, David has been involved in the automobile industry for nearly 40 years. He was vice president /general manager of Covey Lincoln Mercury in Phoenix, Arizona, for five years before coming to Toyota of Orange in 1982. Before buying out the owner of Toyota of Orange in 1985, he was the vice president and general manager. Mr. Wilson is now the owner and president of sixteen automobile dealerships - employing nearly 2000 people. Sales for these corporations now total just under $2 billion annually, making the Wilson Automotive Group one of the ten largest dealership chains in the nation.
As a 1999 Governor Davis appointee, David continues to serve on the California New Motor Vehicle Board as its immediate past president. Other Boards of Directors on which David has served are the American International Automobile Assn., California Motor Car Dealers Assn., Orange County Motor Car Dealers Assn., and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Advertising Assn. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the Orange Chamber of Commerce and was selected Business Person of the Year by them for 1987. He received the Sports Illustrated Dealer of Distinction Award in 1988, and the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1991 and again in 2004. In 1998 he was presented with the A.I.A.D.A. All-Star Dealer Award for his commitment to the community and work with charitable organizations. A panel of community leaders named David one of 10 “Local Heroes” in 1998.
In June 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Passkey Award for Business Ethics by the Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. Also in 2000 he received the Boy Scouts’ “Good Scout Award” for exceptional community service. In 2001, Chapman University honored him as Orange County’s Outstanding Corporate Citizen at their annual American Celebration. He was also named the YMCA Orange County Executive of the Year in 2005, and received the Excellence in Enterpreneurship Award from the Orange County Business Journal in 2007.
Most recently, he was presented with the General William Lyon Crystal Vision Philanthropy Award in October, 2007. David is honored to have been elected to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He was inducted into the Association at the Fifty-Eighth Annual Horatio Alger Awards and Induction Ceremony in Washington, DC in April 2005.
David and Toyota of Orange were the originators/sponsors of the 'Round Orange Race, a 10K/5K run with nearly 4,000 participants annually that raised over $250,000 for Orangewood Children's Foundation. That race has since become a signature homecoming event at Chapman University, the Chapman University/Toyota of Orange ‘Round Orange Race, that raises scholarship funds for worthy Chapman students.
Mr. Wilson is a member of the prestigious Chapman University Board of Trustees. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is the Chairman of their annual golf tournament, which raises nearly $200,000 annually for Scouting. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Orangewood Children's Foundation and was the honoree for their Orange Blossom Ball, which raised over $300,000 for the foundation.
In appreciation for David’s generosity to his employees and the community, the David Wilson Endowment Fund was established by his employees and friends to benefit Orangewood. This fund now contains nearly $1,000,000 and enables worthy former residents of the Children's Home to obtain a post-secondary education they would not otherwise be able to afford. Currently a number of Orangewood alumnae attend college and trade or technical schools as a result of this endowment. In 1999 David contributed $1,000,000 to his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, to endow a Chair in Business Ethics. If you visit Chapman University in Orange, you will see Wilson Field, made possible by David & Holly’s generous donation.