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Jeff Teague

Jeff Teague

Teague Ford Lincoln
El Dorado, AR

"The only way I could afford a dealership was for my father to help me purchase a distressed entity then build it up," nominee Teague said. "I have done that four times in the automotive business. Like planting a seed in the ground, it is most rewarding to nurture a struggling business and watch it flourish, knowing the fruits of my labor will provide jobs for families and contribute positively to the community I call home."

Teague, a 1973 graduate of Dumas High School in Dumas, Arkansas, earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 1978. He always loved cars and dreamed of owning a car dealership. "I was disciplined in church when I was a child for pretending the hymnals on the back of the pew in front of me were the gas pedal, brake and clutch," he said. Teague took a job in auto sales and then with Arkansas Power and Light while looking at many dealerships with his father. They found one in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas in 1981. "My father mortgaged everything he owned and made me a 50-50 owner in the Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership," he said.

Teague was determined to make it successful and protect his father's investment. He turned the store into a thriving enterprise and eventually added Buick, Pontiac and GMC franchises. "My method of operation has been to envision the potential in a business, hire good people, and to build it into a financially viable institution," he said. Teague later sold the dealership and purchased a Chevrolet store in El Dorado, Arkansas in 1990 and soon added Oldsmobile and Toyota. In 1999, he built a new facility and brought in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.

A pilot for 26 years, Teague has put his flying skills to work for people in need. He has flown church staff for charitable initiatives and was retained on standby by a local liver transplant patient. He also flew to New Orleans to bring home a child who was a victim of domestic kidnapping. Pilot Teague has also contributed greatly to the South Arkansas Regional Airport Commission, where he has served as chairman since 2007. "My goal is for our local airport to reach its maximum potential," he said. Under Teague's leadership, the airport has grown to offering daily flights to Dallas, Memphis, and Hot Springs.

A member of Rotary International, El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, El Dorado Economic Development Board and Batesville (Arkansas) Chamber of Commerce, Teague is proud of serving with his wife's family at the Citizens Bank of Batesville, where he was elected to the board in 2008 and currently serves as its board chair.

Teague and his wife are patrons of South Arkansas Arts Center, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. He sponsors Boys & Girls Clubs baseball and soccer teams, Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries, Main Street El Dorado MusicFest, Union County 4-H, Salvation Army and the South Arkansas Historical Foundation, to name a few.

Teague was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Dennis E. Jungmeyer, president of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Sarah, have three sons.