Jason Mosley, 39
General manager, AutoNation Ford Katy
Living on his own from the age of 14 after his parents split up, Jason Mosley grew up fast. He lied about his age so he could work full time during high school in Houston. After meeting his future wife, he joined the Army at 18 to support them.
"You learn to hustle and take care of yourself and do what you need to do when you start off that early," Mosley said.
Eight years as an Army mechanic put him on the path to where he is today -- running AutoNation Ford Katy in Katy, Texas. Mosley said it was the most profitable Ford dealership in the country in 2012.
It marks quite a turnaround for a store pegged as an underperformer when Mosley was named general manager in 2010. Vehicle sales more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 when the store sold 7,915 new and used vehicles.
It's Mosley's second stint at the nation's largest retailer. He got his start at an AutoNation Chevrolet dealership in Houston, 12 days after returning home from the Army.
Helping his mother buy a car, Mosley felt he was getting the runaround and got "a little cocky" with the sales manager. The manager asked if he thought he could do it better. When Mosley said yes, the manager told him to show up the next morning in a tie and he'd pay Mosley $500 whether he sold a car or not.
After arriving three hours early and selling three cars that day, Mosley asked the manager for his $500. The manager told Mosley he could take the $500 or the $1,100 he'd actually earned.
Mosley never looked back. He made $10,000 his first month on the job and sold 25 cars a month before being promoted. He left after three years to help manage a large family-owned Ford store and then was recruited by Sonic Automotive Inc.
AutoNation came knocking again in 2010, and the challenge of turning around the Katy store appealed to Mosley.
He moved the store's best sales reps to the Internet department and beefed up inventory by buying 2,000 cars from around the country. New-car sales rose, the store took in more trades, and used-car sales doubled in 90 days, Mosley said.
Dealership profit went from $1.9 million in 2010 to $10.5 million in 2012, he said. Mosley now has his sights set on AutoNation Ford Katy becoming the highest-volume Ford store in the nation. The dealership was No. 9 last year, according to Ford.
Ultimately, Mosley is aiming for the COO job at AutoNation.
"Anything is possible within this organization," he said. "At a lot of companies, you could never dream to be the COO if you run one of their locations."
-- Amy Wilson