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Jesse Peterson

Jesse Peterson

Eide Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
Bismarck, North Dakota

“I find it very rewarding to watch our employees grow and develop in their careers and in their personal lives”

“I find it very rewarding to watch our employees grow and develop in their careers and in their personal lives,” nominee Peterson said. “Seeing them get married, start families, buy or build new homes, save and build their savings and net worth – and knowing we are a big part of their success feels great.”

A 1998 graduate of Monticello High School in Monticello, Minnesota, Peterson received a degree in automotive marketing and management from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan, in 2002, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

He came from a family of car dealers; both his father, Dave Peterson, and grandfather, Allen Eide and aunt, Sandy Christian, owned stores in Minnesota and North Dakota, respectively. Christian is currently Peterson’s partner in all four stores. “I started at the age of 13 in my dad’s Ford dealership in Monticello,” he said. “Minimum wage was $4.35 then and that's what I was paid. My dad wanted to keep me busy so I didn't get into trouble. He also wanted to expose me to the business at an early age to see if I wanted to pursue a future in it.”

And he did, first as district sales manager for the American Honda Motor Company in Chicago, IL and Norfolk, Virginia from 2002-2004, and then at his grandfather’s dealership in Bismarck in 2005. “My grandfather was a true legend in the automotive industry,” Peterson said. “He understood how to make things happen. He put me in a position to succeed and gave me an opportunity to be a dealer.”

Peterson also credits his father with showing him how to take care of customers and employees. “My dad had the foresight to send me to Northwood University and also to make sure I got experience in different departments of a dealership, besides the one he owned,” he said. His two years working at Honda right out of college provided invaluable insights into how manufacturers work and think.

Today, Peterson is part owner of Eide Motors, which oversees four dealerships in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Pine City, Minnesota, representing new-car brands Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Ford, Lincoln, and Hyundai.

“I have been lucky to have great partners that allow me a lot of leeway to try new things and fail,” he said. But there are also many successes and his business has been growing steadily. In fact, Peterson was named to Automotive News’ annual list of 40 Under 40 in 2018, which profiles industry standouts who are poised to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Peterson is also proud that his company gives back to the community in many different ways. “Our campaign to raise funds for the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation netted more than $60,000 over eight years,” he said. In addition, he is donating a Zamboni to the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District to keep the ice smooth for skaters, and he sponsors numerous events that add to the local quality of life.

“I have been extremely lucky in my life and my career,” Peterson said. “I have been in the right place at the right time many times. I have learned from great people who wanted me to succeed and made sure it happened. And I have had, in my opinion, the best people work with and for me.”

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