2002 Laureates

Wallace D. Alley, Sr.

Wallace was a recognized entrepreneur and risk taker at 13. Alley delivered coal to customers around his native Church Hill, with no driver's license. At 14, he was awarded a contract to deliver coal to schools in the eastern part of Hawkins County, still with no driver's license.

At age 15, Alley heard that a school bus route through Goshen Valley was in need of a driver, so he bought a used bus and ran the route himself, with the benefit of a valid license. He expanded into the northern part of the county the following year, buying a second bus and hiring a classmate to run that route.
With World War II in full swing, the county had to close a school, and approached Alley about transporting those students elsewhere. His business flourished through his high school years. So began a journey that eventually led to the establishment of two successful auto dealerships under the umbrella of Alley's of Kingsport.

Upon graduation from Church Hill High School, Wallace entered the U.S. Navy and served from 1944 to 1946. After being discharged as the war ended, Alley immediately entered Vanderbilt University earning a business degree in nine quarters and graduating in 1948.
Alley was married to the former Billie Addington and they raised three sons, Douglas, Martin and David. They were married for 36 years until her death in 1987.

Alley opened his first automotive dealership in 1949 as Alley Motor Company in Church Hill. He sold Plymouth and DeSoto automobiles and Massey-Harris farm equipment. At age 23, Alley was the youngest person ever granted a Chrysler franchise. In 1950, Alley added a GMC truck franchise. Business grew, and in 1960 he opened a new dealership in Kingsport -- Alley Chrysler Plymouth. Eighteen years later, he established Alley's Dodge-Jaguar-Saab.

Alley has been "giving back" to the community throughout his life. He is a 30-year member and past president of the Kingsport Civitan Club, a member of the board of trustees of Emory and Henry College, former president of the Greater Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, and a former vice chairman of the Chamber Foundation. He served the Kingsport Industrial Development Board as chairman from 1986-1990. He is a former director of Holston Valley Hospital, Holston Mental Health Center, ETSU/UT University Center Foundation and Advisory Board and the ETSU Foundation.

Wallace has been a member of the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America for over 40 years, serving in many positions from scoutmaster to council president and currently serves as a member of the executive board. He is a former president of the Area 6, Southern Region, of the National Boy Scouts of America and currently serves on the executive board of the Southern Region. Alley has received several awards for his contributions to scouting, including the Pioneer Award, Silver Beaver Award, and Silver Antelope Award.

Alley's awards for civic and business achievement include the Andrew Jackson Award in 1994 by the Tennessee Automotive Association, the Chrysler Five Star Award of Excellence over 20 consecutive times, and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce 2000 Lifetime Member Award. In 1995, Alley was one of 10 finalists out of more than 20,000 dealers nationwide for the "Time" Magazine Quality Dealer Award. Alley was appointed by the governor in 1992 to the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, and is serving his second term.

In 1990, Wallace married the former Virginia Fox. In addition to his three sons, Alley has three stepdaughters, Debbie Fox, Teresa Cochran and Wendy Laughrun. Wallace and Virginia enjoy their 9 grandchildren ranging in ages three to 17 and tend to make life very interesting.

Today, Wallace serves as chairman of the board of Alley's of Kingsport. His oldest son, Douglas is the president and CEO of Alley's Dodge Jaguar Saab. Martin is the president and CEO of Alley's Chrysler- Daewoo and the youngest son David is the vice president in charge of data processing for all dealerships.

Wallace cites as his most rewarding business endeavor the development of a successful dealership that has attracted his sons to join him in his life's work. A great source of pride is the reputation of honesty, integrity, fairness and reliability that surrounds his businesses.