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Steven Jackson

Automobile sales entrepreneur Steven Jackson was born on October 25, 1960 in Klamath Falls, Oregon to Melvin and Earline Jackson. He graduated from Klamath Union High School.

Jackson began his career in the automotive industry at the age of eighteen working as a detailer for Klamath Falls Honda, before being promoted to salesperson. Jackson purchased his first automobile dealership, General Motors/GMC outlet in Sacramento, California in 1989. He then opened and operated Folsom Buick Pontiac GMC from 1998 to 2007 in Sacramento. In 2008, he opened Toyota of Rockwall in Dallas, Texas which was also the first automotive dealership to earn a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for excellence in environmental design, and named “Top 100 Places to Work” for 2010 by the Dallas Morning News. In partnership with his wife Barbara Jackson, they purchased Toyota Subaru Scion of Corvallis in Western Oregon in 2013. Jackson has served as the principal for the Jackson Automotive Investment Group, which included six dealership outlets Folsom Buick Pontiac GMC and Folsom Lake Volkswagen in Sacramento, California, Toyota of Rockwell in the Dallas Metroplex, Texas and Toyota of Corvallis, Subaru of Corvallis and Toyota of Newport in Oregon. The Jackson Automotive Investment Group has been active in the community and has supported such programs as; Teachers of the Year Annual Car Lease Partnership, Toyota Matching Grant(s) for School Districts; organizations including Meals on Wheels, National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Corvallis, School Supply Giveaway, Timberhill Athletic Club, One Man’s Treasure, Rockwell Independent School District and events including the Teddy Bear Toss program with Oregon State University.

Previously, Jackson served as board member and vice president of the Toyota Dealer Council for The Toyota/Lexus Minority Dealers Association (TLMDA). Jackson’s dealership was ranked #68 on the 2000 Black Enterprise BE Auto Dealer 100 list, and subsequently ranked #52 on the 2007 Black Enterprise BE Auto Dealer 100 list. Jackson was recognized by USA Today and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), as a finalist for the annual 2007 Dealer Innovation Award. He was the recipient of the Toyota President’s Award for eight consecutive years from 2010 through 2017.

Jackson and his wife, Barbara Jackson, have four adult children, including Tabitha, Chelsea, Steven and Jasmine.

Steven Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 12, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.154

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2018

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Steven

Birth City, State, Country

Klamath Falls

HM ID

JAC44

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Get Good Or Get Gone.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/25/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Street Tacos

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Steven Jackson (1960- ) served as president of the Jackson Automotive Investment Group and was an eight-time recipient of the Toyota President’s Award.

Favorite Color

Blue

Damian Mills

Automobile sales entrepreneur Damian Mills was born on August 16, 1973 in Garyville, Louisiana to Carol and Joseph Mills. He graduated from East Saint John High School in Reserve, Louisiana in 1991. Mills, a business economics major, started in the auto industry in 1992 as a salesperson while attending North Carolina A&T State University, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He worked for Crown Automotive Group, where he became one of the top sales associates within the company. He was then promoted to finance and insurance manager, and became the youngest general manager of Crown Dodge. He was then made partner in 1998 at the age of twenty-five.

In 2000, Asbury Automotive, one of the largest automotive groups in the country, acquired Crown Automotive, and promoted Mills to sales director where he was responsible for over twenty-two dealerships in three states. In 2004, Mills became a dealership owner, leaving Asbury and purchasing Classic Ford of Smithfield, in North Carolina. He later established Mills Automotive Group in Smithfield, North Carolina in 2008. The Mills Automotive Group expanded to include: two South Carolina stores; Classic Lincoln of Columbia and Stateline Fiat of Fort Mill; and three North Carolina locations: Classic Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Pineville, Classic Ford-Lincoln of Shelby and Classic Hyundai of Wilkesboro. In 2013, he opened his seventh dealership, Classic Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Goldsboro, N.C, and followed with the opening in 2014 of Classic Kia of Ellicott City, Maryland, the eighth member of his auto stores group.

Mills was credited for his efforts to establish the Chrysler Minority Dealer Association Future Dealers Alliance, to mentor and nurture future minority dealership managers. In 2010, Mills Automotive Group was ranked 224 on the Black Enterprise African American Business Enterprises list. In 2013, Damian Mills was recognized for his auto industry achievements, in the Automotive News “40 under 40” issue. In 2014, he was elected president of the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association, the national trade association representing ethnic minority owners of Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealerships, and he served in this role through 2016. The Mills Automotive Group was ranked 7th on the Black Enterprise BE100 Auto Dealer List in 2014, 6th in 2016, and 5th in 2017.

Damian Mills and his wife Beverly have three adult children including Cierra, Michala and Chancellor.

Damian Mills was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.149

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2018

Last Name

Mills

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

First Name

Damian

Birth City, State, Country

Garyville

HM ID

MIL12

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

8/16/1973

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Raleigh

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Damian Mills (1973- ) was elected president of the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association in 2014. He founded Mills Automotive Group in Smithfield in 2008, and expanded to include eight dealerships in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland.

Employment

Crown Automotive Group

Mills Automotive Group

Favorite Color

Green

Ellenae Fairhurst

Automobile sales entrepreneur Ellenae Fairhurst was born on January 6, 1943 in Dayton, Ohio to Jack J. Hart Sr. and Ellen Nora Hart. Fairhurst graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio in 1961. She earned her B.S. degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1965, and her M.A. degree in social and consumer psychology from the University of Detroit in 1973.

Fairhurst worked as a secretary for Motown Records and for the law firm of Goodman, Eden, & Robb, before she was hired in 1968 as a secretary at the Ford Motor Company. Fairhurst remained at Ford for seventeen years, where she served as a marketing research analyst and was promoted to project manager. She left her position in 1986, and joined the Chrysler Corporation, retail dealer development program. After two years with Chrysler, Fairhurst was named president and general manager of the Cumberland Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1992, she sold her shares in the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership and purchased a Dodge dealership in Huntsville, Alabama. Fairhurst then purchased a Nissan Infiniti dealership in 1999 and became the first African American female in North America to own an Infiniti dealership. The same year, she became the first African American female owner of a Lexus dealership, which was located in Huntsville, Alabama.

Fairhurst’s success as an automotive dealership owner was widely recognized. In 2001, Fairhurst’s “autoplex” was ranked at ninety-five on Black Enterprise magazine’s “Auto Dealer 100” list. The following year, the company was ranked at number fifty-six on the list. By 2013, the “autoplex” was moved to fifty-four on the “Auto Dealer 100” list. Fairhurst has been also awarded the Daimler-Chrysler Five Star Award, and Elite of Lexus Status for most years she’s been in operation.

Fairhurst served on the board of directors for the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association, the Huntsville Downtown Rescue Mission, and the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. Fairhurst is also a member of the National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

Ellenae Fairhurst was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.148

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/14/2017

Last Name

Fairhurst

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Willard Elementary School

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Miami University

University of Detroit Mercy

First Name

Ellenae

Birth City, State, Country

Dayton

HM ID

FAI06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anything with a beach

Favorite Quote

The bad news is not the last news.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

1/6/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

No

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Elleanae Fairhurst (1943 - ) was the first African American female owner of a Lexus car dealership.

Employment

Lexus of Huntsville

Huntsville Dodge

Ford Motor Company

Cumberland Chrysler

Favorite Color

Green

Winston Pittman

Automobile sales entrepreneur Winston Pittman was born on August 31, 1950 in Grenada, Mississippi to Mary Purnell Pittman and W.C. Pittman. Pittman attended Montgomery County Vocational High School in Kilmichael, Mississippi and Mary Holmes Junior College in West Point, Mississippi before he transferred to Jackson State College. He left Jackson State College during his senior year to accept a position with the United Parcel Service.

From 1972 until 1975, Pittman worked as a hub manager for the United Parcel Service in Jackson, Mississippi. He then sought a career in the automotive industry and became a car salesman at Capital Dodge in 1975. Pittman quickly rose through the ranks of the company and worked as a used car manager, a new car manager, and, in 1981, a finance and insurance manager. In 1983, he was promoted to the position of general manager of Capital Dodge. Then, after completing the Chrysler’s dealer development program, Pittman purchased his first dealership in 1988. He purchased Cardinal Dodge, Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky and founded Pittman Enterprises, where he served as president and chief executive officer. Pittman Enterprises grew to include dealerships in Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Pittman was named Black Enterprise’s Dealer of the Year in 2002 and, from 1994, was consistently listed on the magazine’s “Auto Dealer 100” list. Pittman also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers in 2006, was named a legendary and exemplary leader by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2010, and was the recipient of the Isaac Murphy Businessman of the Year Award in 2013.

Pittman served as president of the Toyota/Lexus Minority Dealers Association and as chairman for the National Association of Minority Automotive Dealers. He was also a member of the Dodge National Dealer Council, the Lexus National Dealer Council, and the DaimlerChrysler Minority Dealers Association. Pittman volunteered his time as a board member of Fifth Third Bank, the University of Louisville’s Board of Overseers, the Lake Forest Country Club, Duquesne University Boy Scouts of America, and Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Pittman and his wife, Alma Dent Pittman, have three children: Winston, Misty, and Jabari.

Winston Pittman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.128

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/14/2017

Last Name

Pittman

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Jackson State University

First Name

Winston

Birth City, State, Country

Grenada

HM ID

PIT35

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui

Favorite Quote

If you ever see a turtle on a stump, they didn't get there by themself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kentucky

Birth Date

8/31/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Louisville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried corn

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Winston Pittman (1950- ) was the founder, president and CEO of the automotive group, Pittman Enterprises.

Employment

Pittman Enterprise

Favorite Color

Blue

Sanford Woods

Automobile sales entrepreneur Sanford Woods was born on February 11, 1949 in Dermott, Arkansas. Woods received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico in 1971.

In January 1973, he was hired by the Chrysler Corporation in Denver, Colorado as an administrative trainee and was then promoted to four different sales districts in five years. In 1978, he was promoted to the zone office in Denver where he held three mid-management staff positions: truck manager, business management manager, and field operations manager. In 1982, Woods was promoted to regional manager of Chrysler’s Detroit Import Operations Group. Then in 1983, he was promoted to Chrysler’s Home Office in Highland Park, Michigan where he handled dealer placement activities for the western half of the United States. From Highland Park, Woods was moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota as the assistant zone manager in 1984. Two years later, he was promoted to manage Chrysler’s largest sales zone, Washington D.C. In 1989, Woods ended his sixteen-year career with Chrysler to establish the automotive dealership Brandon Dodge, located in Tampa Bay, Florida. His business grew to include ventures in real estate development, restaurants, and automotive collision centers. Woods consolidated his dealerships and became president of Lexus of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Infiniti of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Treasure Coast Lexus, Ft Pierce, Florida, And Treasure Coast Toyota, Stuart, Florida.

Since 1994, Wood’s company consistently appeared in Black Enterprise’s “Auto Dealer 100” list as one of the top twenty dealerships in the country. The dealership ranked at number twelve on Black Enterprise’s list in 1997. In 2008, he was listed in Who’s Who Among African Americans. Woods also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Minority Auto Dealers in 2015.

Woods was involved in many professional organizations within the automotive industry. He served as a member of the board of directors for Toyota Lexus Minority Owners Dealership Association and as vice chairman of the National Association of Minority Auto Dealers.

Woods has three children: Amber Cherrel Woods, Terlyn Denise Woods, and Sanford Levert Woods, Jr.

Sanford Woods was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/13/2017

Last Name

Woods

Maker Category
Schools

Alamogordo High School

Western New Mexico University

First Name

Sanford

Birth City, State, Country

Dermott

HM ID

WOO12

Favorite Season

Indian Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Grek Isles

Favorite Quote

It is what it is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

2/11/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ann Arbor

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican food

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Sanford Woods (1949 - ) owned four Lexus and Toyota dealerships and worked for the Chrysler Corporation for sixteen years.

Employment

S. Woods Enterprises

Favorite Color

Black

Perry Watson

Automobile sales entrepreneur Perry Watson was born on April 16, 1951 in Muskegon, Michigan to Perry Watson, Jr. and Roberta Burns. He graduated from Muskegon Heights High School in Muskegon, Michigan and received his B.B.A. and M.B.A. degrees in marketing from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1973 and 1976, respectively, and later graduated from the Chrysler Corporation’s Minority Dealer Training program in 1993.

In 1977, Watson joined the Xerox Corporation as a copier salesman and was promoted to regional sales manager in 1980. Watson was also a member of the Detroit United Concerned Employees group at Xerox, an organization of African American Xerox employees. After thirteen years with Xerox, Watson participated in the Chrysler Corporation’s Minority Dealer Training program. After he completed training, Watson was selected to manage North Star Dodge in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota in 1992. He rebranded the dealership to Brookdale Dodge and remained as manager for nine years. In 2001, Watson became the third African American in the United States, and the first African American in Indiana, to own a Lexus dealership. He owned Lexus of Mishawaka, Indiana and sold Brookdale Dodge in 2004. Watson was also a guest professor of marketing at Western Michigan University and taught courses in the Entrepreneur Lecture Series at the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University, South Bend.

Watson received the Upward Bound Program Honor, the City of South Bend Drum Major Community Service Award in 2008, and the Mid-Eastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program’s TRiO Achiever Award in 2012. Both of his dealerships have earned multiple awards for customer satisfaction and market leadership in sales. Watson was also named a top 100 dealer by Black Enterprise for twenty three consecutive years, and received the South Bend Rotary Club Distinguished Citizens Award in 2014.

Watson was a member of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the Indiana Auto Dealers Association, and became chair of the National Association of Minority Dealers in 2015. He was also the vice president of programs for 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend and a member of the Entrepreneurial Advisory Committee for the Beacon Health System Memorial Hospital, and served as chair of the board of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Indiana. Watson was also active in the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, and Jack and Jill of America.

Watson has four children.

Perry Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/11/2017

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Western Michigan University

Haworth College of Business

First Name

Perry

Birth City, State, Country

Muskegon

HM ID

WAT17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anguilla

Favorite Quote

You can't get what you don't ask for.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

4/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

South Bend

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French fries

Short Description

Automobile sales entrepreneur Perry Watson (1951 - ) was a regional sales manager for the Xerox Corporation and became the third African American in the United States, and the first African American in Indiana, to own a Lexus dealership, Lexus of Mishawaka.

Employment

Lexus of Mishawaka

Brookdale Dodge

Favorite Color

Blue and black