Jamie Thompson, 38
Assistant controller, Superior Auto Group
But for a second look through a stack of rejected job applications, Jamie Thompson would be living a much different life today.
In 2005, Thompson, a recent college graduate with a degree in journalism, left a job waiting tables in a restaurant to become a billing clerk at Bob Moore Auto Group in Oklahoma City. Her supervisor at Bob Moore later told Thompson that she had pulled Thompson’s application from the “no” pile.
That second chance put Thompson on a career path that she says she hopes leads to dealership ownership.
Now assistant controller at Superior Automotive Group, a 13-store retailer based in Fayetteville, Ark., Thompson has been responsible for the paperwork when the company has sold or bought dealerships. With past acquisitions, Superior has awarded minority ownership stakes to other managers in the company as a stock bonus.
“I’d like to be in on the next one that we buy,” said Thompson, who went back to school for an accounting degree after getting into auto retail.
Thompson briefly left the car business because of its high-stress nature before joining Superior in 2012. In addition to the car dealerships, her department handles accounting for sibling businesses, including the owner’s six tractor dealerships and five wholesale beer distributorships.
In 2019, Thompson created a trend analysis report that incorporated all locations and data from previous years. The report showed that floorplan interest was Superior’s fastest-growing expense. The group renegotiated rates with its lenders and is on track to save $300,000 in 2020, Thompson said.
One of her proudest accomplishments is organizing Superior’s Cars and Canines campaign along with the group’s marketing director. Superior partners with an animal shelter and runs service specials such as free oil changes for customers adopting a dog.
Thompson’s leadership style is inspired by a motto shared with her by Superior co-owner Travis Woods: “It’s hard to hate somebody up close.”
That phrase guides her decisions and interactions with others. It’s important to have face-to-face and open conversations with people, she said.
“People are much more invested in their work if they believe in you as a leader,” Thompson said.
— Whitney McDonald