Interview with, Chris Hemmersmeier, president and CEO, Jerry Seiner Dealerships
This article is part of a series featuring business executives who choose to live and work in Utah. If you know of an executive we should interview, please contact us.
After 37 years of doing business in Utah, Jerry Seiner has become a household name. The Seiner Dealerships now includes 10 franchises, including Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Kia and Isuzu Truck in four locations throughout the state.
The leadership torch was passed from Jerry to his son-in-law Chris Hemmersmeier, who acquired majority ownership in the dealership’s franchise.
Over the years, Hemmersmeier has taken on various roles at the dealership. Staring out in sales he quickly moved through the ranks, being named General Manager of Jerry Seiner Chevrolet, next as executive general manager and vice president of Dealerships and ultimately as president and CEO of the Jerry Seiner Dealerships.
The Seiner Dealerships now employs more than 350 people dedicated to providing excellent customer service with a strong commitment to the community.
How did you get started in the industry?
My father-in-law, Jerry Seiner, was a dynamic individual who owned several dealerships in the Salt Lake Valley. After several discussions, he convinced me to move to Utah from Chicago, Illinois and try my hand at selling cars.
What top two recent professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
One of the first initiatives I undertook was to create Seiner Management, Inc., a holding company for each dealership. This allowed the company to consolidate tax benefits and enabled us to function in a more streamlined manner.
I am also proud of the corporate model we have established. The general managers of each dealership have a lot of autonomy and authority over each dealership.
What drew you to Utah?
I was drawn to Utah because of the diverse climate and geography. Utah is a pretty unique place. I especially love Utah in the spring when you can ski in the morning and take a bike ride in the afternoon.
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
Utah has a diverse and growing population. From an economic perspective, the state is well managed and experiencing record economic prosperity. Government leaders are also paying attention to needed improvements in the state’s infrastructure to serve our expanding population base.
What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business, or relocating their business, to Utah?
If I were considering starting or relocating a business, Utah would be at the very top of my list of states. Utah has it all: great climate, diverse geography, educated workforce, reasonable regulations and tax rates.
What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
The primary challenge we face in our business is filling available positions at our growing company. The opportunities are amazing, and we are looking for talented people to help continue the Jerry Seiner’s legacy.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I have a “hobby” of importing wine. As I traveled in Europe, I found many different and interesting wines, not available in Utah. So, I decided to start a company that imports unique, great value wines.
What is your business philosophy?
During difficult times in the car-selling-industry in Utah, we collectively decided not to lay-off any of our employees. If they truly feel valued, they will perform above and beyond what is expected of them.