Steve VanGorder was born outside of Miami, Florida to a military family that moved many times as he was growing up. His mother is a proud Spanish woman, who for the most part, was a stay-at-home mom. Steve’s dad was an enlisted man in the Air Force. He has one brother Jeff, who is the Sales Manager at the Chevrolet North store in Fairborn. "I learned the art of meeting new friends because of our military lifestyle—moving somewhere new every 3 years," Steve recalls.

Steve studied business law at Boise State University and transferred to Park College after two years. While in college, Steve worked at a local dealership in Idaho for two years. After eventually moving to Dayton, Steve went to work at Jack Huelsman Nissan.... today, Jeff Schmitt Nissan.  After being promoted through the ranks at the dealership, Steve realized that his true passion wasn’t college, or any profession that would result from his studies in college, so he left school in order to dedicate 100% of his focus to his love of the car business. 

"It’s funny when I’m asked, ‘why the car business?’ It wasn’t like at a young age I said to myself ‘I want to be a car salesman.’   Truth is, I got into the car business because my boss at my high school job suggested I sell cars because he thought I had the right personality for it, and he thought I might do well," said Steve.  "I tried it, and he was right.  I was fortunate enough to have a man take me under his wing and show me the ropes. He asked me to give it six months — I struggled in the beginning until I hit my stride.  Thank God I stayed with it...it has been one of the greatest joys and blessings of my life.

Steve has many interests including sports; reading books on self-help (life coaching, fitness, business, etc.); personal fitness training; and most recently taking on speaking engagements for the purpose of sales training and motivation.

When asked about working in auto sales and service in the Miami Valley, Steve pointed out the highly competitive nature of the business, and why it is so important to give the customers 200% of your efforts. "In Dayton alone there are 15 Chevy dealers compared to 10 in phoenix Arizona which is a much larger market.  Because of this some of the most talented car guys come from this area," says Steve.  "The dealers here have evolved and learned to compete in this highly competitive arena.  In fact, many dealers from around the country will recruit sales managers from this area for that very reason."

Steve has great aspirations for his business ventures here in the Dayton area. He has plans to continue buying dealerships and growing the Auto Group. "I really can’t stress enough how much I love what my job brings to me personally," Steve said in a recent interview. "As a result of the crazy TV commercials, I have been asked to make appearances at charity events, and I was even called on to entertain someone’s great grandmother who was in hospice. I sang Happy Birthday to her, because she really got a kick out of my commercials. I’ve been involved with the local dancing with the stars in Dayton competition where we raised money for Habitat for Humanity, and competed for the Man of the Year to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma."

Steve is thankful for his local notoriety, because this has provided him with a way to give back to the community. "I enjoy what I do because it satisfies that team atmosphere that I enjoyed so much from being on a football, basketball or baseball team in school," says Steve. "I have recently found true joy in helping others discover their own talents and abilities. There is something so fulfilling in helping people — employees and non-employees — reach goals they thought were impossible.  

Steve says, Jeff Schmitt Auto Group is always looking for people, who want more out of life, to consider joining their team.  They believe if you are willing to work harder, smarter and with more passion than the average person, you deserve a higher standard of living.

Steve enjoys life here in the Miami Valley, and shares his free time with his long-time girlfriend whom he adores. He says he always enjoys running into people at restaurants or at events you recognize him, even if they call him "Jeff."





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