Frank E. McCarthy joined NADA as its chief executive at the age of 33 in 1968. He guided the organization for the next 33 years, promoting the rights and accomplishments of the nation’s dealers. As the ranking staff member in charge of NADA’s day-to-day operations, McCarthy worked tirelessly on behalf of new-car dealers. He built NADA into one of the country’s largest and most respected trade associations in the world. Under McCarthy’s leadership, NADA carried out and furthered the activities of the association in such areas as government and industry relations, dealership operations and management education, public affairs, vehicle and driver safety, philanthropy and retirement and insurance programs.
In 1987, McCarthy received the prestigious Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame, and in 1998, he was named Association Executive of the Year by the newspaper Association Trends. In 2001, McCarthy was awarded the International Freedom of Mobility Award, given annually to one individual whose actions protect the freedom of travel and has a long-standing record of support for the automotive industry’s role in enhancing the economic, recreational and social values of the motor vehicle.