In a ceremony on Jan. 12, Jim Scott was surprised with the annual Citizen of the Year award.
Many remarkable residents are considered for the annual Citizen of the Year award, but there can be only one each year.
This is the 61st annual ceremony and Jim Scott, of Jarrett-Scott Ford, was the recipient of the coveted honor.
The award was created to single out and honor a civic-minded Plant City-area resident who has worked tirelessly to give back to the community and embodies the characteristics that sets the city apart. The first recipient, Arthur Rice Boring, was the president of Hillsboro Bank and served as a city commissioner, mayor-commissioner, director of the Florida Strawberry Festival and countless other civic roles. The first woman to receive award was Quintilla Geer Bruton, who was selected for the honor in 1961.
Scott was joined onstage by his wife, Leigh, and their two sons, Nick and Connor, and thanked them in his speech. He said without their support, he never would be able to accomplish all that he does.
Scott was presented his award by last year’s recipient, George Banning. Ironically, Banning and Scott have a deep connection. Banning went to college with Scott’s father and both Banning and Scott are Michigan State University alumni.
“Jim and I both graduated from Michigan State University and his father was my fraternity brother,” Banning said. “We were talking about 1960 and that’s about when I started, and that’s about when his father started also at Michigan State. Unfortunately his father couldn’t be with us today but, Jim, he would’ve been proud.”
In 1993, Scott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general business administration and then worked for Ford Motor Company. He also worked for a short period of time doing sales and marketing for the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Pistons before Ford Motor Company transferred him to Orlando in 1996.
In the Sunshine State, Scott worked as a sales representative and called on dealerships throughout the state. It was on his many commutes that he eventually formed a business relationship with the Jarrett family, a friendship that would change his life. Eventually he left the Ford Motor Company to join Jarrett’s organization in 1999. He has since become a partner in the Jarretts’ Ford dealership network and has ran both the Dade City and Plant City locations.
Despite the busy schedule his work demands of him, Scott can always be found around the community supporting local events and organizations. He joked during his acceptance speech that not a single one of his employees was at the ceremony by design. They go above and beyond at work so he is able to then go out into the community and serve. He thanked them for their dedication at the dealership and said he couldn’t do what he does in the community without their hard work.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of Plant City and has served both as president and on its board of directors. He is also an associate director of the Florida Strawberry Festival and has long been the Chairman of the Ambassadors.
He serves on the East Hillsborough Law Enforcement Appreciation Association and has been on its board of directors since 2015. He also has served with the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation’s board of directors since 2018.
Scott was one of the founding members of the Plant City Economic Development Corporation in 2015 and has been on its executive committee since 2017. He recently joined the board of directors for Hillsboro Bank. He was also on the board of directors for the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum Society from 2014 to 2017.
He has been active with the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce for years. He was on the board of directors starting in 2009 and was chairman of the board in 2013. In 2005, he joined the board of directors for the Plant City YMCA and was chairman of the board from 2009 to 2010. He also served with the Tampa YMCA Association Governance Board from 2014 to 2017.
Scott has also made quite an impact outside of Plant City. He served with the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce for many years and was on its board of directors from 2002 to 2004, and he served as its chairman of the board in 2004. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Dade City from 2000 to 2004 and served on its board of directors from 2002 to 2004.
“It’s fitting that George I guess preceded me in this honor because him and I go way back and have been friends for a long time, and we both share the same alma mater, Michigan State University, Scott said. “We’re the only two in the room. Thank you very much, it’s an honor to be up here, I’m very humbled. To the civic clubs that put this event together, thank you, like I said, I’m humbled. To all those previous winners in the room, thank you for being role models to all of us. We’re watching and we are trying to emulate what you have set for us moving forward.”