Suzanne Moses Persinger, 36
General manager and partner, Moses Auto Group
With apologies to the Bobby Fuller Four, Suzanne Moses Persinger tried the law, but the dealership won. She tried the law, but the dealership won.
“I worked in the dealerships every summer growing up,” said the general manager and partner of family-owned Moses Auto Group, which holds 13 franchises across eight rooftops and is headquartered in St. Albans, W.Va. Moses Persinger, who is one of three sisters, said working in her family’s dealerships had some appeal but not as much as did the law. So after college and law school at Ohio State, she “clerked for a federal judge, and then I went to a large law firm in Charleston [W.Va.] and practiced for a year.”
She loved the clerkship, but the general litigation defense with the large law firm? Not so much.
“It just wasn’t a good fit,” Moses Persinger recalled. “It had always been in the back of my mind to get back into the car business. I thought it might be a good time to try it.”
But as timing goes for major career decisions, hers couldn’t have been much worse.
“Unfortunately, that was in 2008. Dad was running a Cadillac-Buick-GMC store, and we ultimately had the letter that we were still going to be dealers. But even not being [deep] in the business at that point, it was a pretty stressful time to get started.”
Armed with her brief experience with the law, Moses Persinger worked with her father and others in the group to cut costs and survive the biggest automotive downturn in their lifetimes. And she learned much from the experience — lessons that she says make her a more valuable general manager and partner today.
“Just knowing that I was there for one of the roughest times in the car business, and that we made it through, has helped immensely,” Moses Persinger said. “As a result, we learned how to do things in a more economical way than we had before, and I think we’ll just stay with that going forward.”
She said her experience as a lawyer broadened her outlook beyond the dealership.
“It definitely gave me some confidence, working with lots of different people with different opinions,” the mother of three said. “I think it’s definitely helped quite a bit. It also gives you a different perspective on the world.”
— Larry P. Vellequette