Point and the auto business. ….
Point and the auto business. He became partners with Presser and Presser’s son Jeff, and joined High Plains Motors in 2007.
“Mr. Presser taught me the car business like I was one of his kids, and I am forever thankful for his mentorship,” Johnson said. “Marvin passed away in 2015 but left us with a great business and many life lessons to live and teach to others.”
Today, he and Jeff Presser own the business and have grown the operation to include Glasgow Auto Sales, a Buick, Chevy and GMC store in Glasgow, Montana. A third partner in the Glasgow dealership, Paul Wemmer, serves as general manager of the store.
“I work in both stores each week and enjoy every minute of it,” Johnson said. “The automotive industry has its ups and downs, but I have the attitude that if you do things right, everything will work out.”
Johnson is currently chairman of the executive board of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association, which recently increased the board’s term from one to two years for better continuity of leadership.
“Just like the dealership will not run well without our great employees giving it their all every day, the association would not be successful without the hard work of Bruce Knudsen, our executive vice president, and his team in Helena,” Johnson said. He added, “The association has become financially stronger during my tenure, although dealership numbers continue to decrease in Montana. We are a laser-focused group, working diligently on issues that affect all dealers. Since Montana is such a big state, we rely on technology to reach our dealership body and zero-in on their concerns.”
Johnson views serving the community as one of the most important jobs at his dealership. “My wife and I have taught our kids, Kaylee and Aaron, to live a life of community service,” he said. “They are the first people to raise their hand to help or chip in and that makes me very proud. And he brings that same commitment to his business. “You can find me, my business partners or one of our employees helping out with community functions or events almost every day of the year,” he said.
Johnson is actively involved in supporting youth sports, chamber of commerce initiatives, school activities, civic organizations, church groups, local government and city beautification projects.
“Much of what I do is focused on building the community through our youth,” Johnson said. “Where we live is full of great people but is very impoverished. The opportunities to become successful often get lost on young people, so I try to work on programs that help kids have a chance to succeed.”
Some of the groups he supports include Wolf Point 100 Club (board of directors for this organization that raises money to help local health care facilities), First Lutheran Church in Wolf Point (member of church council and education director/teacher), Wolf Point Soccer Association, Wolf Point Schools (career day speaker and volunteer for various programs) and Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
“I also help with any local civic or community functions that bring entertainment or business to town,” Johnson said.
Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity, donated by Ally.
In its 12th year as exclusive sponsor, Ally also will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice.
Nominees will be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes. com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
Johnson was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Bruce Knudsen, executive vice president of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association. Johnson and his wife, Michelle, have two children.