Selected Idaho's 2015 TIME Dealer
The nomination of Gregg Middlekauff, owner of Middlekauff Ford Lincoln in Twin Falls, Idaho, for the 2015 TIME Dealer of the Year award was announced by TIME.
Middlekauff is one of a select group of 55 dealer nominees from across the country who was honored at the 98th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in San Francisco, California, in January 2015.
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long- standing commitment to community service. Middlekauff, 63, was chosen to represent the Idaho Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 55 auto dealers from 17,000 nationwide – nominated for the 46th annual award.
“I loved cars since I could walk and could name every car on the road at age 4, better than anyone in my family,” nominee Middlekauff said. “I had always dreamed of being in the car business and imagined running a dealership vividly in my mind many nights.”
But Middlekauff was to take a different path before realizing his dreams. A 1968 graduate of Medford Senior High School in Medford, Oregon, he earned a B.S. in accounting from Oregon State University in Corvallis in 1972, where he was a member of the accounting honor society and Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He became a CPA and landed a job at Ernst & Ernst in Los Angeles, California. He asked his company to allow him to audit a car-dealer client and was hooked. “I absolutely felt at home with the lot, the cars, the smells, the atmosphere and the excitement.”
So he left his job and went to work at his brother’s Ford store, eventually moving to dealerships in Arizona and Texas, moving from sales to finance and insurance (F&I) to eventually general manager. He was able to buy out a Ford dealer development store in Salt Lake City, Utah, before moving to his current location in Twin Falls in 2000. His son, Matt, graduated from the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy in 2010 and helps him run the business, which also includes a Honda dealership.
“It is now about loving the businesses, giving back and bringing my son into the business,” Middlekauff said. “I feel fortunate that I have the flexibility and money to spend a great deal of my time supporting the community. I particularly like to help young people get a good start in life with education and, even more importantly, with healthy self esteem.”
That’s why he is particularly proud of his work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where he has served as board president of his local chapter in the Magic Valley for the past six years. “I am very involved in all aspects of the clubs,” Middlekauff said. “I have always given freely of my time and money to help anyone I run into in need, however, when you can change a child's life for the better you can actually change the world.” Under Middlekauff’s leadership, the group expanded. “We went from serving 100 kids to more than 1,700 in a year and donations grew from a couple of hundred thousand to more than a million dollars,” he added.
Middlekauff has donated to numerous organizations and offers assistance to those in need, helping out with education, healthcare, food expenses and car repairs. A member of Rotary International and the Optimist Club, he has also served as president of the Idaho Learning Center, which benefits children with learning disabilities. The groups he supports include Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Danny Marona Performing Arts Scholarship Fund, Magic Valley Symphony, Future Farmers of America, Twin Falls Animal Shelter, Southern Idaho Learning Center, plus area hospitals, high schools, colleges and many other organizations. The Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce awarded him their Curtis T. Eaton Award for exemplary community service in 2014. Gregg and his wife, Sallee, have two children.
“I have a wonderful family and a purposeful life fueled by my retail automotive career,” Middlekauff said.
Middlekauff was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Kevin Hanigan, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Automobile Dealers Association.