Distinguished Alumnus William A. Chope ’71

Apr 20, 2020

by Greg Williams
Publications Editor
Originally appeared in Southern News Magazine

Founder of the Crest Automotive Group and president of Metro Jobbers, a dealership-owned supply cooperative, William A. Chope ’71 is an exemplar of successful entrepreneurship based on the values of free enterprise and a commitment to ethical business practices.

Born in Detroit and raised in the adjacent city of Grosse Pointe, at 18 he worked for the National Bank of Detroit and Keans Detroit Yacht Harbor.

While at Florida Southern College, he majored in history and minored in sociology. A member of the ROTC, he graduated in 1971 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry before attending the Detroit College of Law.

Chope began his lifelong automotive career in 1974, starting with MOOG Automotive, where he became national sales manager. During the following decade, he guided the business recoveries of several national and international automotive supply companies. In 1994, Chope founded the Crest Automotive Group. Based in Southeast Michigan, the company consists of retail automotive dealerships that throughout the years have sold Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, and Hyundai brands.

As president of the Crest Group, Chope now works for his daughter, Carrie Way, who became the company’s new majority owner after purchasing the business from her father. He also serves as president of Metro Jobbers.

In 1981, Chope received the Young Alumni Achievement Citation from his alma mater. He is a longtime member of Florida Southern’s National Alumni Board of Directors, as well as the Harry S. Bunting Society of his fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Through the Crest Group, he has made internships available to FSC’s undergraduates, and in recent years, he has supported FSC’s student recruitment efforts by holding recruiting events in Detroit — offering tickets to Detroit Tigers games or the North American International Auto Show — to promote the College’s tradition of welcoming students from throughout the Midwest.

He and his wife, Jenny, who reside in Grosse Pointe Farms and Harbor Springs, Mich., enjoy spending time with their three children and four grandchildren. They also take advantage of their increased leisure time by relaxing aboard their boat, the Sea Jay. Together, they have completed America’s Great Loop, a 6,000-mile adventure route that allows recreational boaters to circumnavigate the Eastern U.S. and part of Canada via intracoastal waterways, canals, rivers, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico.