Noting his progressive and innovative leadership of the collector car community, the LeMay — America’s Car Museum has presented its Nicola Bulgari Award to McKeel Hagerty, president and chief executive of the family-owned insurance company that specializes in insuring classic cars and boats.
“McKeel has been one of the most progressive and innovative leaders in the automotive industry,” museum president and chief executive David Madeira said in presenting the award during the LeMay’s annual Wheels & Heels Gala. “He has demonstrated a deep commitment to the preservation of America’s car history, founding the Historic Vehicle Association and supporting educational institutions and shop programs that are dedicated to the future of classic cars.”
Nearly 20 years ago, Hagerty was called back from his seminary studies to take over the family business. At the time, the company employed some 30 people. Under his leadership, the company has grown to the world’s largest insurer of classic cars with 500 employees.
But more than just his company, Hagerty has become a respected leader in the classic car community. Among his projects has been the Collectors Foundation which already has awarded $2.75 million in scholarships and grants to prepare the next generation of automotive preservation and restoration specialists (the program recently has renamed the Hagerty Education Program). He also has been active in the Historical Vehicle Association, working to get federal recognition and protection for vehicles with significant social history.
The mission of the LeMay – America’s Car Museum, which opened June 2, 2012 in Tacoma, Washington, is to explore how the automobile has fulfilled a distinctive role at the core of the American experience and shaped society.
Its Nicola Bulgari Award is given to people who make outstanding contributions to preserve America’s automotive heritage through education, car restoration and collecting. Bulgari is known globally for his family’s jewelry business but also is well-known within the classic car community for his collection and his museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
We must be more disciplined in protecting our automotive treasures so they can be celebrated and enjoyed by future generations.”
— McKeel Hagerty
[/pullquote]“I have been fortunate to build much of my life around my love of cars,” said Hagerty. “They embody so much: freedom, beauty, technology and culture.
“However, personal transportation will look very different to future generations as autonomous cars and other technologies take the automobile from an object of desire to a mobility appliance. We must be more disciplined in protecting our automotive treasures so they can be celebrated and enjoyed by future generations.”
Previous recipients of the LeMay’s Bulgari award were Dr. Frederick Simeone, founder of the Simeone automotive Museum, and Ed Welburn, vice president of global design for General Motors.