Jay R. Mortensen, CEO and founder of DealerPeople®, oversees the direction of the company, ensuring that it remains consistent and persistent in its goal of helping dealers improve through people, training and tools. Hands-on with his involvement in the company, Mortensen not only plays a role in the development of the site itself—ensuring that it continues to have the functionality and content that is most needed—but he is also heavily involved with training provider partners and fostering a solid relationship of revolutionary training for the dealerships of America. In 1993, while taking classes at the University of Utah and simultaneously selling cars for Larry H. Miller Toyota, Mortensen was offered a promotion to become a finance manager, which required him to leave the university. After taking the position, while leading the sales department as a general sales manager, he was given the elite opportunity to attend dealer academy which was taught by Larry H. Miller himself. Mortensen has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for more than a decade; he currently serves as a block captain for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, an emergency preparedness effort for local communities; and is an ongoing volunteer with Stop Hunger Now.
What do you do best?
Aside from working virtually every job in the dealership world, and having reached record car sales across makers – while consistently winning awards for sales achievements – I truly think my greatest ability is to see the big picture, identify industry needs and gaps, and problem solve to create solutions. Once I get really focused on something, like DealerPeople®, I can clearly envision what it needs to become and what the end game will look like.
What makes you the best?
To be honest, I have always been interested in helping others and giving back wherever I can. I have mentored many in the business, which came from my drive to get people from a struggling wage to six figure salaries, comfort and prosperity on a larger scale. This is one of my favorite parts about the dealership industry – anything is possible, no matter people’s background or education. But, we all need the tools, resources and guidance to help reach our dreams. My drive to do more for more people was the impetus for DealerPeople, and it is the driving force behind my efforts to make the dealership community better each and every day.
What are your aspirations?
One of my biggest aspirations is to bring the prosperity that can be found in the dealership world to more people – to help dedicated workers achieve financially, while pushing the industry to improve from the inside out. By helping people find and keep jobs, where they will be trained to succeed, dealership turnover rates will drop and families will eventually have more stability.
One of the core reasons DealerPeople was created was to be able to help others on a larger scale. We fully intend to carry that mission and do just that.
For me personally, other than my family and their successes, DealerPeople is my biggest success. Much of that is because what it took to get here. I left the stability of a lucrative 16-year career to take a leap of faith that I truly believed in. I knew something had to be done for the greater good of the dealership world. The launch of this company was a way to start my own venture, while impacting widespread change. The overall industry acceptance of the platform has been overwhelming, and I have never looked back or reconsidered my decision.
Most Challenging Moment?
The most challenging time of my life was in 2001 when my wife of 11 years passed away from cystic fibrosis. It was completely sudden and unexpected. We had just moved to California and given up a wonderful position within the Larry H. Miller Group of Dealerships. We were excited for a new career challenge with SouthWest Dealer Services and to have the opportunity to live in California even though we didn’t know anyone at the time. Two months later she passed away and her death was indescribably difficult. I had never imagined I would be a widower-especially at the age of 32. Two weeks after she passed, the Larry H. Miller Group called and wanted me to return. It would have been much easier to go back to Utah where I had lived nearly my entire life, where my family was, where I felt comfortable, and where the good people of Larry H. Miller Toyota were willing to take me back with open arms. But I knew that I needed to stay in California and start a new venture - a new job that required me to cold call dealerships over and over again. In hindsight, 2011 helped me to shape myself into the person I am today. I realized there was very little that I couldn’t handle and that eventually, anyone can press forward to a new day, regardless of what obstacles come their way.
*In happier news, in 2003, I remarried and we have 4 wonderful children!
Decide what you believe in and stay true to it. Sticking to my core values and being authentic with others has always been my personal motto. Conducting ourselves based on consistent, honest values allows us to achieve things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to accomplish. As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” If we identify our convictions and stick to them we can make much happen in the course of a lifetime.
Favorite People/Role Models?
I’ve always been inspired by people that have done what is right-no matter the cost. Everyday there are ordinary people whose values and standards propel them to make extraordinary decisions, for no other reason than because it is the right thing to do. I don’t necessarily marvel at a Hollywood star as much as I do at a parent that is working two jobs to keep food on the table or an adult son or daughter caring for an ailing parent. I’m impressed by the people that serve others, that put their own welfare secondary to others— the true unsung heroes.
We have many family favorite vacations spots including Disney World and Hawaii. I love all the scuba destinations around the world--especially in the Caribbean. England is a special place because I have family there and South America, specifically Chile, has a very special place in my heart since I lived there for two years.
DealerPeople® is definitely at the top of my list. What can I say? The user experience and the tools available have made this far-off dream of mine a great reality that can stand up to the most efficient, modern business platforms available.
My passion is my family and anything that has to do with them. We love traveling and anything that has to do with the beach.
Beyond that, I’m very passionate about the car dealership world. After all, how exciting is it to help someone with a new (or newer) car? Who doesn’t like a new car? Who doesn’t get excited when they get behind the wheel of a brand new car with the new smell and the technology that keeps getting better and better? People connect with their cars - they love their cars. It’s a wonderful experience, to be a part of that. Creating DealerPeople has simply provided many more exciting opportunities of joining the car sales force to anyone willing to put forth the effort, whether it’s someone with a high school diploma or someone with a college degree. That’s why the car business is so fun and exciting – and through DealerPeople, it will now be more accessible to dealership owners and potential employees than ever before.