Willis Auto Campus
Jun 14, 2019
Rich Willis, President
Willis Auto Campus

Rich Willis was born in 1952 in Smyrna, Delaware.  Rich graduated from High School in 1970 and left the state of Delaware to attend Simpson College in the Fall of '70.  He graduated with a Business Administration Degree in 1974.  While attending Simpson College, he began working for Chuck Betts, at Betts Cadillac in downtown Des Moines.   Upon graduation, he became a full time employee.  Rich's father was a Chevrolet dealer in Delaware and so working for Chuck Betts in the automobile business was nothing new.  However, he attributes his father and Chuck Betts for much of the success he has had in the automobile business.

In 1988, he began to purchase the Cadillac business from the Betts family.  In 1990, when Lexus came to the marketplace, Chuck and Rich applied for the Lexus franchise and were awarded such and began selling them in 1990.  In the year 2000, he completed the buy-out of the Cadillac and Lexus franchise from the Betts family.  Since then, he has added several more franchises including Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, INFINITI, MINI, Willis Powersports and Big O Tires. 

Over the years Rich has been involved in many community activities and boards, including Simpson College, Blank Children's Hospital, UnityPoint Health Des Moines, John Stoddard Cancer Board,  board of IMT Insurance, Principal Charity Classic, Boys and Girls Club, Chair of the United Way Campaign for Central Iowa.  Willis Automotive has been a sponsor of the Des Moines Performing Arts’ Broadway Series for the last 12 years, as well as raise money annually for the National Kidney Foundation.     

Rich and Kim were married 6 years ago in 2012, have 2 sons, 2 wonderful daughter-in-laws, and 6 fantastic grandchildren (with an equal balance of 3 boys and 3 girls). “Rich's dedication to his company, his community, and his family isn't slowing down, either. His two sons, Matt and Jason, have worked their way up through the ranks of Willis Automotive, following in their father's footsteps. Through Rich's continued leadership and mentoring, the Willis family and Willis Automotive look to continue his tradition of integrity, involvement, and business success for decades to come."