Dealer Spotlight:
One Employee’s Passion Brings Together Her Company and Community

Susie Cotugno (above), Controller at River Oaks Honda in Lansing, IL, an Ed Napleton Automotive Group dealership, is an example of what one employee’s passion for a cause can do to bring together a company – and a community.

Cotugno and her family experienced the fear, stress, and financial impact of having a baby prematurely. Helping others navigate this situation became a calling for her. “I was a mom with a premature baby, and it just blossomed from there,” she explains.

Along the way, Cotugno learned about the great work the March of Dimes was doing for families like hers and she spoke with other employees about it. “It was a cause that everyone who is a parent could relate to and I got so much support,” Cotugno says.

In 2014, Cotugno, fellow staff and their families, took a leap and signed up for the annual March of Dimes March for Babies. It was a unifying experience, and this year marks the Ed Napleton Automotive Group team’s ninth year in a row. Taking their commitment to March of Dimes families even further, in 2021 Cotugno initiated a diaper drive which the dealership has been doing every year since.

 Lucy Sosa and Steve Ignowski
Lucy Sosa and Steve Ignowski

Rick Cunningham

Just last year, Ed Napleton Automotive Group also committed to supporting the Violet Foundation, an organization that raises money for scientific research and support for families whose child is undergoing treatment for pediatric brain cancer. Named for a three-year-old who succumbed to this disease, it is based locally in the Chicago area.

“Susie is unique because of her personal connection to these causes and it’s just amazing how it has spread throughout our company,” says Michael Mizwicki, Ed Napleton Automotive Group Director of Operations. “We are fully supportive of sharing her ideas with all of our locations.”

Today, all 50 Napleton dealerships are participating in some way with the March of Dimes and Violet Foundation. “All of our locations really get creative with fundraising ideas like bake sales, team fundraising competitions, and raffles with donated baskets from neighboring businesses.” Ed Napleton Automotive Group donates a portion of auto sales proceeds to the Violet Foundation.

Donna Wiese and her niece MacKenzie Ready

Cotugno is thrilled to see the company-wide impact these initiatives have had. “These kinds of things are really nice for our employees and the community,” Cotugno says. “Everyone wants to see children thrive and succeed.”

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