NEW ULM Rick Jensen, owner of Jensen Motor, Inc. in New Ulm, was named regional finalist on Feb. 5 in the 2011 Time Magazine's Dealer of the Year Award.
The award is one of the automobile industry's highest awards for new-car dealers. It honors automobile dealers who also contribute to their communities.
The top four regional finalists are selected from 52 automobile dealers nominated from across the nation.
All the nominees attend the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Exposition in San Francisco.
The four regional finalists and the Dealer of Year were announced at the convention.
Thomas Castriota of Hudson, Florida was named the winner.
The Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association nominated Jensen for the competition on Oct. 25.
"I had no thought that I would even get as far as I did, because there is a lot of really good dealers in the bunch," said Jensen, "When the names came up on the teleprompter, I went 'Wait! That's my name,'" said Jensen.
Jensen felt immensely honored to even be considered in the same league as the other nominees. He joked that he was lucky not win, because the regional selection was so unexpected that he had no speech to give if he won. He said that, kidding aside, he was deeply pleased haven been recognized.
One qualification for the nomination is demonstrating a long-standing commitment to community service.
Jensen has served on Rotary International, the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, the Public Utilities Commission, the Airport Commission and the New Ulm Economic Development Corporation. He has also mentored at Christ the King Church, and he has served as youth coach for Pop Warner football, grade school basketball, U12-U16 soccer and Little League baseball.
Jensen's business received New Ulm Industry of the Year in 1999.
"I'm humbled at getting selected. It was a great experience and a lot of fun," said Jensen.
Previously, three Minnesota dealers have been named Time's Dealer of the Year. They are Jim Lupient of Golden Valley, Bill Adamson of Rochester and Jake Krenzen of Duluth.