Jeff Field is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 3, 2024.
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The award recognizes the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Field was chosen to represent the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“Like any successful business owner, I am fortunate to have a strong support staff and employees committed to our mission,” nominee Field said. “I believe in leading by example and bringing out the best in those around me.”
Field, who attended Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee, started his automotive career in sales at Mitchell Motors in Pensacola, Florida, in 1987. He soon was named finance manager and then moved to Dobbs Ford in Memphis in 1990, where he rose through the ranks to general manager of the dealership. In 2003, he was offered the opportunity to work for the Penske Automotive Group and ran stores in Southaven and Memphis before partnering with Kent Ritchey to purchase a Dodge and Nissan dealership in Southaven.
“This venture opened the door for us to buy other dealerships, which are now part of our Landers Auto Group,” Field said. Today, the partners run 10 stores in Mississippi and Tennessee, representing Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Jaguar, GMC, Land Rover, Nissan and Volkswagen.
“I do not believe that I could be where I am today without prayers, hard work, dedication, and the support of my wife and family through the years,” he said. “It is humbling to run a business where employees can experience life-changing opportunities due to their hard work and dedication.”
A longtime member of the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association, where he joined the board in 2017 and was named secretary-treasurer in 2021 and chair from 2022 to 2023, Field advocated diligently with legislators on behalf of car dealers in his state.
“I was instrumental in helping form and implement the association’s strategy for multiple landmark legislative actions,” he said. “Our efforts ensured that dealers are reimbursed at retail for warranty work, including parts and labor, creating a stronger warranty reimbursement law than surrounding states. In addition, we championed a bill that prevents automobile manufacturers from unfairly competing against franchise dealers in the state of Mississippi, a huge win for the dealer body.”
In the area of community service, Field is focused on creating and fostering business opportunities in his region. He is a member of the Southaven Chamber of Commerce and served as board chair from 2017 to 2019. He also supports the Mississippi Economic Council, and his dealership was a sponsor of the group’s Hobnob Mississippi event, a networking initiative for business leaders, legislators, and professionals.
In addition, Field currently sits on the board of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, which promotes business and economic growth in his community. “We have sponsored career expos for the organization, with more than 3,000 students participating each year,” he said.
Field is proud to host DeSoto County first responders at Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram each year on September 11 during his company’s First Responders Appreciation Lunch. And he also sponsors the Affordable Christmas program of Trinity Baptist Church in Southaven, which supplies gifts for children in need.
“Making a difference for the customers and communities we serve never gets old,” Field 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 13th 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.
“At TIME, we are proud to uphold the decades-long tradition of honoring automotive dealers who make a positive impact and show dedication to their communities through our TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said TIME CEO Jessica Sibley. “We are excited to keep this tradition of applauding these community contributions together with our partners at Ally.”
Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to not only the industry but to their respective communities through volunteerism, sponsorships, and supporting charitable causes, no matter the market climate. Whether their clients are purchasing a first car or upgrading for a growing family, these selected dealers have successfully extended their relationships beyond the showroom and have been steadfast in driving their communities forward.”
Field was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Marty Milstead, president of the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife Susan have four children.