HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Mr. Philip Long’s story began in 1918 in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he lived until the eighth grade. He spent his high school years at Principia Academy and college years at Principia College in Missouri, graduating in 1940. After just one year of law school at the University of Michigan, Mr. Long enlisted in the United States Navy.
World War II was raging and in 1942, Mr. Long mastered his training as a Hellcat fighter pilot in the South Pacific. He successfully flew 120 missions from the USS Enterprise, the most decorated ship of this era. He was also shot down twice. The USS Enterprise and Task Force 58 spent nearly a month in the Mariana Islands, preparing for and supporting the Saipan landings on 15 June 1944, striking targets on Guam and Rota, and engaging in the greatest carrier aircraft battle in history: the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 1944. The USSEnterprise played a significant role in the battle: her Combat Information Center (CIC) directed much of the action during the “Turkey Shoot” on the 19th, while an Air Group Ten search was the first to locate the Japanese fleet on the afternoon of the 20th. The growing number of successful night air missions, led by the Big E’s VF(N)-101 and VT-10 squadrons is notable. During this campaign Task Force 58 was attacked by the aircraft of the Japanese Fleet in successive waves. Lt. Commander M.P. Long and the USS Enterprise Hellcat (task force) fighters joined the Combat Air Patrol in intercepting the Japanese attacks and bombing Orote Airfield on Guam. Throughout the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Task Force Fighters carried out strikes on Guam and the Pagan Islands neutralizing enemy airfields and destroying defense guns and military installations.
Due to these dangerous yet successful missions Mr. Long was a highly decorated soldier, receiving the Air Medal and Gold Star award for multiple meritorious achievements and heroic acts during aerial flight; and the Navy and Marine Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing a mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions.
In September 1945, Mr. Long was honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. One month later, he and R. Doenges purchased Vollmer Brothers Ford and changed the name to Doenges-Long Ford, thus beginning more than a half century legacy of car dealerships.
By 1964 he bought out Doenges, changed the name to Phil Long Ford, Inc. and moved the dealership to what is now known as Motor City.
In 1975, Philip Long brought in Jay Cimino as his partner, general manager and eventually company CEO. Ask anyone who knows Jay Cimino, and it’s immediately clear how deep his contributions to the fabric of communities throughout the Front Range run.
Mr. Cimino’s story begins in 1936. Born and raised in Trinidad, Colorado. He spent his high school years in Parochial School, excelled in football, baseball and track & field. After graduating in 1954, Mr. Cimino joined the Marine Corp. and served in the MP / Security outfit and was known throughout his company as a “jack of all trades”.
After the Marine Corp., Mr. Cimino attended Trinidad Community College in Colorado, receiving his Associates degree. He then went on to attend the University of Denver, made the Deans List and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Immediately after graduating from the University of Denver, he married Emily Roitz and went to work for BF Goodrich as a Territory Manager for the Front Range (Colorado, New Mexico & Kansas), remaining until 1965 when he moved to Pueblo and worked his way up from a finance clerk to New Car Manager at Jess Hunter Ford. In 1972, Jay moved his family to Santa Fe, NM and took on the role of General Manager and Partner of the Santa Fe Buick, Pontiac, GMC dealership until 1975. Under the direction of his friend and mentor Mr. Philip Long, Jay joined Phil Long Ford in 1975 as the General Manager. Over the years he earned multiple promotions ultimately leading to his current position as President and CEO of the Phil Long family of Dealerships, which now consists of 10 franchises and 25 establishments in Denver, Colorado Springs, Trinidad, and Raton, NM.
Sadly, Mr. Philip Long passed away in July of 2001, but his life’s work and legacy continues to flourish through his reputation and passion for solid business practices, solid long-term relationships and commitment to the community as well as the military community. To pay tribute to Mr. Long and where the legacy began, Jay campaigned for and received Colorado Historic Landmark status for the “Phil Long Ford” signature sign on top of Motor City.
It is clear why Mr. Long put the company in the hands of his partner and friend, Jay Cimino – CEO and President of Phil Long Dealerships. Mr. Cimino’s giving nature is a true reflection of the man he is in both his personal and business life. Committed to improving the quality of life for all citizens, he nurture’s ideas that benefit our employees as well as the community.
Jay is a man of creative nature; he inspires new thoughts and processes, and improves on those already existing. For the Phil Long employee, Jay has always encouraged a healthy environment. Phil Long has three fitness centers within the dealership group; one located at Ford of Motor City, another at Ford of Chapel Hills, and another at Ford of Denver. We also have an on-site health and wellness director whose focus is fitness, nutrition, weight management, exercise and personal training programs, tobacco cessation classes, and more. Currently in progress is the building of the on-site health clinic which will be located inside the Ford of Motor City Dealership next to the fitness center. The clinic will be free to our employees and their families and will have an on-site doctor, physician’s assistant, and nurse practitioner. In addition to excellent health care benefits and programs, Jay and the Phil Long leadership team continue to carry on longstanding traditions such as employee picnics, holiday parties, and thanksgiving turkeys for all employees, as well recognition and celebrations for longevity and professional achievements.
In 2008 Jay implemented a partnership with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). The idea was simple… Reduce * Reuse * Recycle. A team of Phil Long Ford Master Technicians dismantled, rebuilt, and restored eleven battered and bruised Crown Victoria patrol cruisers to brand new condition, ultimately saving tax payers more than $200,000. This is truly an innovative concept, as Phil Long is the first Ford Dealership in the Nation to offer this unique service.
His leadership gave life to the Phil Long Community Fund (PLCF) in 1991, which provides grants for 501c3 youth based organizations. The mission of the PLCF is to sponsor activities and resources that champion the self-esteem and performance of youth in their pursuit of excellence in education, sports and recreation. Since its inception, the Phil Long Community Fund has granted over 2 Million Dollars to youth organizations across the Front Range.
The Phil Long Community Fund teamed up with John Walsh (from America’s Most Wanted) to host the DNA Lifeprint & Safety Days. With help from the police, fire, sheriff and ambulance departments, we provided families with an opportunity to safeguard their children through DNA & fingerprint sample kits. Over a 4 year period, the PLCF provided more than 4,000 children with DNA Sample Kits.
Jay inspired the idea of the “Fantasy Playground” project. With support of his friend Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos Charities, the first “Fantasy Playground” was built in 1996. Since that time 15 Fantasy Playgrounds have been built, some traditional and some not so traditional such as the Memorial Park Skate Park, and the St. Mary’s Grace Center for Athletics.
- 1996 ~ City Park – Denver
- 1997 ~ Palmer Park – Colorado Springs
- 1998 ~ Cornerstone Park, Highlands Ranch – Denver
- 1999 ~ Memorial Park – Colorado Springs
- 2000 ~ Knapp Elementary School – Denver
- 2001 ~ Cottonwood Creek Community Park – Colorado Springs
- 2002 ~ Fulton Elementary School & Community Park, Aurora – Denver
- 2003 ~ America the Beautiful Park – Colorado Springs
- 2004 ~ McGlone Elementary School, Montbello – Denver
- 2005 ~ St. Mary’s High School Grace Center for Athletics – Colorado Springs
- 2006 ~ Byers High School, Byers – N.E of Denver
- 2007 ~ Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center / Boys&Girls Club – Montbello, Denver
- 2008/2009 ~ Memorial Park * Skate Park – Colorado Springs
- 2010 ~ Swing High Universally Accessible Playground – Memorial Park, Colorado Springs
- 2011/2012~ Fort Carson Resiliency Campus Water Park – Fort Carson, Colorado
Children from each community selected for a playground have creative input on some level of the actual design. Phil Long employee’s rally around this project and turn out in full force along with hundreds of community volunteers. 3 days of teamwork from people of all different walks of life create a safe place for children to play.
When the September 11th attacks occurred, Jay stepped forward with donations and assistance to the American Red Cross through the Phil Long Family of Dealerships. His actions led the way for the media and thousands of other businesses to band together in a time of national crisis and raise more than $600,000 in a 12-hour period. As the first anniversary of 9-11 approached, Jay brought the community together for a Patriots Day Silent Memorial march encouraging Phil Long employees, city administration & business community to participate in this statement of solidarity and patriotism in Colorado Springs and in Denver.
Jay Cimino’s resolution to champion our civil servant heroes reaches out to the International Association of Firefighters to provide vehicle and volunteer assistance for the annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial, annual contributions to the Colorado Springs and Denver Police Association, and community service activities, such as community CPR and First Aid training days with American Medical Response.
The Phil Long Family of Dealerships supports the troops and their families. Through every war since the dealership opened 65 years ago Phil Long Dealerships has provided emergency automobile assistance to soldiers and families of deployed soldiers. After 9-11 Jay reinstated a program called “Operation Home Support” which provides assistance for mechanical services and other transportation emergencies, roadside help, vehicle rental and when needed vehicle replacement. In addition, spouses receive the same discount pricing that Phil Long Associates enjoy on all service and parts and other maintenance. Jay resolved to keep “Operation Home Support” intact until all of our soldiers return home.
In 2004, the Phil Long Family of Dealerships partnered with Ft. Carson and hosted the 229th Army Birthday Ball. Over 3,000 guests attended (1,000 civilians and 2,000 soldiers), with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard B. Meyers as our keynote speaker. The gala made history as the biggest event of its kind to ever be held in Colorado Springs, and also received recognition as the 2nd largest Army Birthday Ball in the nation, second only to Washington, D.C. In addition to the Ball, to acknowledge all active, reserve and veteran military forces for their dedication to ensuring freedom for all, we created the “Defenders of Freedom” community exhibit. A dramatic journey of past and present wars and conflicts, the exhibit showcased “Legacy Lane” featuring memorabilia, a memorial for fallen soldiers, audio/visual displays of combat soldiers and veterans sharing their experiences highlighted by a 60’ pictorial wall of dramatic, unpublished military photos, and a full static display of military armor, weapons, tanks and helicopters. The “Defenders of Freedom” exhibit also produced the military appreciation signing wall, which went on tour throughout Colorado in order to gather messages from the community. The signing wall was then presented to General Wilson and the troops at Ft. Carson for permanent display.
While his contributions have touched many communities throughout the Front Range, Jay’s love for his hometown is apparent through his giving nature; inspiring growth and change in the city of Trinidad. In 2010, Jay opened Phil Long Ford of Raton, NM, and Phil Long Toyota of Trinidad. In addition to bringing new business into Trinidad and Raton, NM, his passion, optimism and positive energy led him to conceive the idea of the Trinidad Community Foundation (TCF), and then provide the seed money for the foundation. It also led him to create the Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness, and Community Center in Trinidad. Mt. Carmel HWC center is committed to bringing excellence, integrity, innovation, and the highest quality, patient centered integrated healthcare to Las Animas County and rural southern Colorado. www.mtcarmelwellness.org. In 2007, to thank Jay for his vision and contribution to the revitalization of the “City of Champions / City of Opportunity”, the City of Trinidad honored him and his wife Emily by naming the new city park the “Jay Cimino Downtown Family Park and Playground”.
Compassion for people runs deep with Mr. Cimino, not just in the community but also for the 900 + employees of the Phil Long Dealership group. His focus to create an environment that encourages a healthy body and mind started with hiring an on-site Health & Wellness Director, he then built 3 gym facilities within the dealerships. The health and wellness director provides personal training, weight loss & management programs, nutrition & diet programs, tobacco cessation classes, yoga classes 2x per week, and more. During the summer of 2013, Jay opened the first on-site health clinic for employees and family members. The clinic is staffed with a Doctor, PA and RN, and offers non-emergency treatment as well as managed care, and pharmaceuticals. The on-site clinic is located in the main Ford Dealership in motor city in Colorado Springs.
It’s not hard to see why Jay Cimino was named the 2013 American Red Cross (Pikes Peak Region) “Humanitarian of the Year” as well as many other awards.