On Tuesday, the Northwest Indiana Auto Trade Association (NIATA) held their annual Golf Outing and Scholarship Fundraiser at Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville. The event brought together NIATA members which included automobile dealers and representatives from associated industries to raise money for scholarships that NIATA has been giving out for over a dozen years.
After building and strengthening business relationships and the organization itself, members voted to begin a scholarship fund for Northwest Indiana high school students seeking to further their education in an automotive field.
In 2002, the first NIATA scholarships were awarded to five area high school seniors. To date, the NIATA has awarded close to $112,000 in scholarship money to area students.
“This is our annual fundraiser for our scholarships,” said Sharon Burke, NIATA Executive Assistant. “We give away six $2000 scholarships every year and this is our fundraiser for those scholarships.”
“We had 64 golfers out here today,” Burke said. “We had lunch before the start, contests on some of the holes, and lots of giveaways. It’s just a great time!”
The Northwest Indiana Auto Trade Association starts accepting applications in January from high school seniors from Lake, Porter, and La Porte Counties. Students who are going into the automotive field, whether it be at tech school or through management studies, are eligible for the NIATA scholarships.
“As business in the automotive industry has improved over the last several years it’s great to see more support from our member partners, vendors and dealers to get out here and support a great cause,” said NIATA President, Jae Chang.
“Turnout this year has been great as business has returned,” said Chang. “As things like that happen good things, like the scholarships, go along with that. And the weather out here today was great!”
Scott Comar, COO with BoBB Auto Group, started with BoBB in March and recently became NIATA’s Vice President, a position that has helped him to become acquainted with the Northwest Indiana automotive sales industry.
“For me, being new to the area it’s a chance to meet and get to know everybody,” Comar said. “It’s a chance to be apart of the Northwest Indiana dealers. I’ve never met a car dealer in the last 28 years who isn’t giving and generous.”
“Car dealers are some of the most philanthropic people you’ll meet,” Comar said. “They give and give and give. This is the biggest fundraiser NIATA has from what I understand. The amount of kids that are helped through these scholarships, by making a very expensive endeavor in college a little bit more affordable, is just great.