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Wayne Evans

Prairie Motors Inc.
Stanley, North Dakota

“The most rewarding aspect of my automotive career is connecting with people. From our family to our employees to our customers, people make everything we do possible. And the small-town atmosphere of our dealership gives us the opportunity to stay connected for generations.”

Evans earned an associate’s degree from the North Dakota School of Forestry in Bottineau (now Dakota College at Bottineau) in 1968 and went on to Utah State University in Logan, where he received a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management in 1970. He also served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1972. 

After his Army service, Evans worked as a park ranger at a wildlife refuge in Wisconsin before moving back to North Dakota to join his brother, Gary, at Prairie Motors in Stanley and three other partners in 1973. In 1984, he and his brother bought out the other partners and Evans became general manager. Today, the two brothers continue to own the store, Evans and his son Matt, who is the next generation to join the family business, run the day-to-day operations. 

“As the owner, I have done every job in the dealership, including the selling and delivering of vehicles, handling building maintenance, bookwork and working with the Ford Motor Company,” he said. “Many changes in technology and vehicles have happened throughout the years, and we have kept up through training and other improvements to adjust to the new Ford advancements.” 

Evans has also worked hard to advocate for dealers and businesses in his state. He has served on the board of directors of the Automobile Dealers Association of North Dakota since 2013 and was named vice chair in 2018, chair in 2019 and immediate past chair in 2020. 

“While chair of the association, I led the rest of the board in crafting state legislation that resulted in one of the most comprehensive and beneficial changes ever made to our Repairman’s Lien law,” he said. “I enjoyed bringing members together to share a common goal and meet the challenges of our everchanging industry.” 

In the civic arena, Evans served on the City of Stanley Planning and Zoning Committee from 1978 to 2017. “I helped mold the city blueprint during my tenure,” he said. In addition, he was a member of the Stanley Commercial Club, which brings together businesses and individuals to promote and enhance the community. 

Evans also gives back by sponsoring events, volunteering and supporting local driver’s education programs. 

“I thank my wife, my brother, my family, my employees and my dedicated customers, who have helped us build our business into what it is today,” he said. “The support of the community and surrounding area has allowed the dealership to thrive and has made the long hours and hard work enjoyable.” 

Evans was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Matthew Larsgaard, president and CEO of the Automobile Dealers Association of North Dakota. He and his wife, Diana, have two children.