Trinidad native Jay Cimino the longtime CEO of Phil Long Dealerships was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame on Thursday, Jan. 23.
Cimino, who joined Phil Long Ford as a partner and general manager in 1975, built the now 75-year old business into a chain of 14 dealerships in Colorado and New Mexico, a collision center, an advertising agency, a construction company, a real estate unit and two nonprofits. The group employs more than 1,100 people and generates more than $750 million in annual revenue.
“We try to win each and every day, but we have to play offense and defense”, said Cimino. “It’s about the attitude to win. Winning is your spirit to never give up.”
Cimino was among eight Colorado business leaders inducted this year into the hall during a dinner in downtown Denver hosted by Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain. Other inductees are Denver architect Frank Edbrooke, Vail construction company owner Gerald Gallegos, Fort Collins real estate agency owner Larry Kendall, Denver investment manager Judith Wagner and Denver auto dealers Charles, Greg and Kent Stevinson.
“I am honored to have been selected and to be among such an esteemed group of inductees,” Cimino said. “I was fortunate to have had three mentors — my dad, a coach and an athlete — who taught me the principles of life that have made me the person I am today.”
Cimino is also leading a redevelopment of Trinidad, including opening a Toyota dealership here and building the Mount Carmel Wellness and Community Center, while embarking on the La Puerta development near I-25 and Commercial St. He has also started the Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs and has won numerous awards for volunteer work and philanthropy from the El Pomar Foundation, the United Way, Fort Carson and many other groups.
Said a release from Phil Long Enterprise announcing Cimino’s induction, “It is Cimino’s philanthropic and historical Trinidad revitalization efforts, in addition to his success of Phil Long Dealerships, that have earned him this prestigious award. Understanding the need for the underserved populations in the military community and in his hometown, he founded Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs in 2015 and Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center in Trinidad, in 2009.
“Cimino has been an instrumental force in the revitalization of Trinidad and has spearheaded the following Phil Long Enterprise historical renovation and development projects: the award-winning Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center, the Purple Toad Social Tap and Grill, the Marty Feeds Building (known currently at The Market Place), Champions Building (formerly the First National Bank Building), the former Delmonico Café building, and La Puerta de Colorado.”
Cimino served in the Marine Corps and went to work for B.F. Goodrich as a territory manager for the Front Range after completing college. He joined a Pueblo Ford dealership and later moved to a General Motors dealership in Santa Fe before joining Phil Long Ford. He and his family eventually acquired full ownership of the dealership group after Phil Long’s death in 2001.
Including this year’s inductees, the Colorado Business Hall of Fame has 175 members.