Wilson earned a B.S. in business administration from Utah State University in Logan in 1983. While many of his college friends took jobs at major corporations on the East Coast, Wilson opted to stay in Logan and establish his career at the car dealership founded by his grandfather, Floyd Wilson, in 1943.
“From a very young age, I pictured myself carrying on the family legacy as the third generation,” he said. “I have always had a deep love for our local community and I considered it a privilege that I was able to stay in Logan, raising my family and contributing to the community.”
Wilson started at the dealership at age 12, pulling weeds, sweeping the lot and washing cars. He was a detailer during high school and while in college, took on management roles in parts, service and the used-car department. After college, he dove into sales and was new-car manager by 1984.
“My dad, who took over the business in 1971, felt it was important that I had experience in all the departments so I understood how each functioned and contributed to the overall success of the dealership,” he said. “This knowledge turned out to be very valuable when I became the executive manager in 1988, a position I held until I took over full ownership of Wilson Motor in 2009.” Today, his son Nate, daughter Paige Johnson and grandson Cooper have all joined the family enterprise.
Wilson steered his business through the Great Recession, which hit right before he assumed ownership, by listening to customers and adjusting to circumstances as they arose. “We had to be willing to change and find solutions not only by focusing on what worked in the past, but on present realities and future opportunities,” he said. “This attitude positioned us well to respond to the pandemic, and continues to prepare us to confidently move forward in an era of uncertainty.”
After his father passed away in 2016, Wilson reflected on the family’s legacy and decided he wanted to do more to serve the public. To that end, he ran for Utah State Senate in 2020 and was able to triumph over a 40-year incumbent in the primary before defeating his challenger.
In the area of community service, Wilson supports local food pantries by providing Thanksgiving turkeys, purchasing refrigerator/freezer units and helping to establish school-based food pantries. In addition, he donated Pumper Cars to every elementary school in the Cache County and Logan City school districts.
“These cars enable children with disabilities to participate more fully in recess and physical education classes, as well as help them safely navigate hallways,” he said. “Having a sister with special needs, there’s a tender place in my heart for organizations that help those with disabilities.”
He also supports Common Ground Outdoor Adventures (maintains and repairs vehicles for the group that enables individuals with disabilities to engage in outdoor activities); Cache Employment & Training Center (services for people with disabilities); Little Lambs Foundation for Kids (provides comfort care kits and necessities to children in need), as well as local high school athletic programs, charity events and fundraisers.
“I am committed to doing everything I can to secure the best possible future for my children, grandchildren and our community,” he said.
Wilson was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Craig Bickmore, executive director of the New Car Dealers of Utah. He and his wife, Kiersten, have 10 children.