Sample Essay on Tom Ganley


It is not uncommon for businessmen to run for government. Businessmen, like all other citizens, are affected by the political climate of their country, state, and city or town. They, too, have civil responsibility. What sets them apart from most ordinary citizens, however, is that businessmen have the financial resources and a fair amount of notoriety to participate in politics. Apart from that, businessmen have proof that they are capable of succeeding against adversity and managing or running a business. Thomas Ganley is a businessman who built his automotive business from the ground up and then branched out to find numerous ways to help the state of Ohio, before finally running for the United States Senate and Congress. Tom Ganley is a strong-minded businessman who not only wanted to make a difference but, more importantly, strongly believed that he could make a difference. Ganley’s successful automotive business served as a stepping stone that enabled him to help his community despite the odds being stacked against his favor. 

Main Body

Ganley’s Personal Life

Thomas Ganley was born on December 11, 1942 and died on August 24, 2016 at the age of 73. He lived a full life, which he dedicated to his family, his work, and in the last few chapters, his country. Ganley grew up in a middle-class family in Garfield Heights, Ohio. His father was a mechanic, while his mother was a waitress. 

Ganley was married to Lois Lisy and had four children. The family grew and Ganley had eight grandchildren at the time of his death. Despite being a busy businessman, Ganley was known as a loving father and grandfather. He devoted plenty of time to family, often attending his grandchildren’s sporting events (Mackinnon, 2016). 

Outside of his home, Ganley was also known as a generous person. He was a beloved leader in Ganley Automotive Group and he worked hard to continuously give the people of Ohio work. In addition, he was known in the Ohio community as someone they can look to for help. Ken Ganley, Tom’s son, reminisced that his father often made his private plane available for people who needed it. Ganley has always had a strong concern for his community.

Ganley Automotive Group

Tom Ganley is well-known as the man who built Ganley Automotive Group. Ganley’s work has always been in automotive dealership. He first started selling cars part-time as a high school student. He worked as a sales staff at Frank Nero Lincoln Mercury where he eventually became general manager for some years until he was able to buy his first dealership in 1968. He went on to purchase neighboring car dealerships in and around Cleveland. However, the growth of his business was met with a crisis when the US went through the recession of 1981 to 1982. To protect his business, Ganley consolidated all his dealerships under one company—the Ganley Automotive Group. Within a few years of the Ganley Automotive Group’s establishment, it expanded to become the largest auto company in the state, comprising of 36 dealerships and employing 1,600 employees (Mackinnon, 2016). Ganley Automotive Group grew to carry a wide range of car brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Chrisler, Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. The success of Ganley Automotive Group is a testament to Ganley’s competence as a businessman and leader.

Ganley Automotive Group is currently run by Tom’s son Ken. Perhaps one of the biggest successes of Tom Ganley is that he was able to instill a love for selling cars in his son from an early age. Ken Ganley recalls coming with his father to work, watching him sell cars, and even being a participant in one sale (SBN Staff, 2017). Ken grew up with a strong passion for selling cars like his father did, which allowed Ganley Automotive Group to remain one of the top car dealerships in the country (SBN Staff, 2017). Not only has the company remained the top seller of cars, but it has also evolved into an insurance provider. Ganley Automotive Group is one of Ganley’s most important legacies. 

Ganley’s Awards

Tom Ganley is indeed a man of importance in Ohio. Aside from being one of the major businessmen in the state and a major employer, he has participated in various initiatives directed toward the betterment of the state. As mentioned earlier, he is known for lending his private plane to people in crisis. He also served as the spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Department’s “Buckle-Up Cleveland,” a car safety campaign. He also partially funded and served as the CEO of Crime Stoppers of Northern Ohio. 

Because of his efforts to thwart crime and promote safety in Ohio, he received numerous awards throughout his lifetime. He was named “Man of the Year” Cuyahoga County Police Chiefs Association in 2006 and then by the Cleveland Police Historical Society’s Man of the Year, the “Gold & Silver Award” Northern from the Ohio Law Enforcement Community, and he was also recognized by the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate for outstanding accomplishment, as well as received the highest civilian award from the FBI, the Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award from the FBI in 2007 (“Tom Ganley Profile,” 2010).

Tom Ganley received the Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2007 for helping bring several members of an organized crime syndicate in Ohio (Feran, 2010). The matter was made public when Ganley ran for Congress and used this fact as part of his campaign. According to Ganley in his TV advertisement, the organized crime syndicate tried to extort money from his business in the 1980s and when he refused to give them money, threatened his family (Feran, 2010). Research by PolitiFact, a site that verifies sources and facts, revealed that Ganley cooperated with the FBI, making him instrumental in the arrest and indictment of a handful of criminals (Feran, 2010). Ganley wore a wire and met with the extortionists. He then proceeded to ask questions that helped the FBI bring the said criminals to justice. Ganley’s cooperation with the FBI further enraged the crime group, prompting them to set a contract to have him killed in exchange for money (Feran, 2010). Ganley and his family remained steadfast in the face of danger—he even testified against them at trial (Feran, 2010). This prompted the FBI to designate agents to live with the Ganleys to protect them. However, this also earned Tom Ganley the highest civilian award—the Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award.

Lawsuits Against Ganley

Ganley’s leadership, naturally, did not come without struggles. His reputation was not flawless. Ganley was the subject of a lawsuit in 2005. Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro filed a lawsuit against Ganley for alleged deceptive and unfair business practices. The dealership was accused of selling cars that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina after they advertised special deals on cars from the state just two days after the hurricane (Eaton, 2010). The allegations were later proven false after an extensive investigation. Other lawsuits were filed against Ganley himself for age discrimination, racial discrimination, as well as gender discrimination. In 2010, he was sued again for sexual harassment and then of employment discrimination by a woman who reached out to him with an intent to volunteer for his US Senate campaign (Eaton, 2010). The accuser sought out compensatory damages worth more than $25,000. Ganley denied this accusation and his lawyer dismissed it as an attempt to extort his client of money (Eaton, 2010). This case received much media coverage because it coincided with Ganley’s congress bid. However, the case was dismissed, as was most of the cases. The only case Ganley agreed to pay a settlement was in a racial discrimination case in 2007 when a salesman complained that their manager was discriminating against black employees as well as used slurs (Schoenberger, 2011). Ganley agreed to pay the settlement of $300,000 and then commanded all employees to go through training against racial discrimination (Schoenberger, 2011). Despite these lawsuits, Ganley remained an outstanding business leader who continuously committed himself toward improving his community in Ohio. 

Ganley’s Stint in Politics

Ganley’s first experience in politics is when he decided to run as Ohio State Senate representative under the Republican Party. He announced his candidacy in 2009, believing that he would be able to win the seat to be vacated by then Ohio State Senate representative George Voinovich. Ganley’s reason for joining the race is that he believes that the Senate needs a businessman. According to him in his candidacy announcement:

I am a businessman, not someone who ever thought about being a professional politician, but maybe that's what's needed in Washington now–someone who understands financial responsibility and what it takes for a business and a country to be competitive. Someone who has built a business from scratch. Someone who knows how to create jobs. Someone who has met a payroll and knows his employees are dependent on him (Naymik, 2009).

This statement makes clear Ganley’s principles and position in politics. He saw himself as an outsider in politics, being a businessman rather than a career politician, and he wholeheartedly believed that this was an advantage. He recognized that Ohio was struggling with an economic crisis, which he believed he would be able to resolve as a senator (Naymik, 2009). 

Unfortunately, Ganley’s senate bid was not supported by the Republican party. His opponent in the party primary, Rob Portman, had the support of the party (Naymik, 2009). With such sparse support from the Republican party, Ganley announced that will no longer run for Ohio State Senate representative (“Ganley out of Senate race,” 2010). He made the decision in February 2010, just seven months after announcing his bid. 

Although Ganley waved the white flag early in the US senate race, he did not yet give up on becoming a politician. Shortly after ending his bid for senate, Tom Ganley ran for the US House of Representatives in the 13 th District of Ohio (“Ganley out of Senate race,” 2010). For this position, he had to run against the incumbent representative Betty Sutton, a Democrat. In May 2010, Ganley won the Republican primary. However, the race against Sutton was not an easy one. There were attacks against Ganley that attempted to paint him as a dishonest car salesman. His TV campaign, too, was questioned and accused of being untrue (Feran, 2010). However, as PolitiFact established, the statements he made in the advertisement were all accurate (Feran, 2010). Furthermore, as Ganley confidently predicted, he had a well-established name in Ohio—people knew him not only as someone they can trust but also as someone who cares and has done plenty to help the community. These, unfortunately, were not sufficient to defeat Betty Sutton in the bid for the Ohio seat in the US House of Representatives. Sutton defeated Ganley by a wide margin.


Thomas Ganley’s story as a businessman, as expounded on in this college essay , who started from the bottom and then worked his way up into an affluent entrepreneur is not uncommon. He worked on the ground as a car salesman before he was able to afford his own dealership. He is not part of the world’s richest, but he certainly made an indelible mark in Ohio. His contributions to the state of Ohio are not limited to his legacy as the founder of Ganley Automotive Group, but include his efforts to make the state better and safer for its citizens. He did not hesitate to use his personal funds to help others or start initiatives that he believed the state needed, nor did he hesitate to donate his time to promote safety, he also did not buckle at the threat to his and his family’s safety and worked to help bring criminals to justice. Perhaps for many, Tom Ganley is known for his failed attempts to run for senate and congress. However, those were only a small part of Ganley’s legacy, and proof that successful people also fail. Ganley was someone who deeply cared for the world around him. More importantly, he was not one to run from a challenge even when the odds were not in his favor, especially when he knows that he is doing it for the right thing. Although he was a great businessman, he never lost his heart and continued to dedicate his life to noble causes. 


Eaton, S. (2010, Oct. 4). Tom Ganley’s sex assault accuser lodges employment discrimination claims. . Accessed June 11, 2022.

Feran, T. (2010, Sept. 30). Tom Ganley’s first video ad touts role in FBI investigation. PolitiFact. Accessed June 11, 2022.

“Ganley out of Senate race.” (2010, Feb. 17). The Columbus Dispatch. Accessed June 11, 2022.

Mackinnon, J. (2016, Aug. 25). Tom Ganley, car group founder and one-time Republican candidate for Congress, dies. Akron Beacon Journal . Accessed June 11, 2022.

Naymik, M. (2009, Jul 1). Tom Ganley kicks off bid for U.S. Senate. Accessed June 11, 2022.

SBN Staff. (2017, Sept. 1). Ken Ganley loves selling cars and shares his passion with the team at Ganley Auto Group. Smart Business . Accessed June 11, 2022.

“Tom Ganley Profile.” (2021, Jul 25). The Morning Journal.

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