Natural Mechanic Heads California ShopPosted 10/18/2005
By Levy Joffrion
You could also say he's a natural as a mechanic - because as a small boy on a farm in Missouri, he worked on family vehicles.
His dad really didn't trust his work until after he had Dale take their tractor to the dealer in Marshfield, Mo., for repairs. When Dale arrived at the dealership, the owner gave him a wrench and told him to fix it. Several weeks later, after wondering why he never got a bill from the tractor dealership, his father found out that his son had done the work. From that day forward, Dale repaired all the vehicles.
Dale started working for a dealership as a body man when he was 17, but soon decided he would rather make things run well than look good. He worked in a service station until he got married, then went to work as a mechanic at a dealership. Later, in the Army, he graduated No. 1 in an engineering school.
One day, he was talking to the elderly mechanic who had a shop across the street from the dealership and ended up leasing his 30-foot by 30-foot shop.
That was 31 years ago. Dale and his wife, Sandra Sue, opened the doors with $50 in the cash box. Their youngest son, David, took all his naps in the back seat of the family car as his mother ran for parts, took customers home, etc.
Four years after opening the mechanical repair business, they acquired a body shop. Suddenly they went from one employee to eight employees.
About 10 years ago, they leased the building behind their shop and moved the body shop there.
So today Dale Bright's Auto Service offers collision repair as well as mechanical repair.
He has been an Automotive Service Association member for 29 years.
During that time, he has served in various capacities with the association and has garnered many honors. He has served as an affiliate director and on the operations committees of both the collision and mechanical divisions.
In 2002, he received the chairman's award of excellence for his outstanding contributions to ASA and the industry.
Locally, he has served as president of the Independent Garage Owners Association chapter in Chino.
He was elected to the Automotive Service Councils (ASC) State of California board in 1978 and later served as body shop chairman on the board. He also represented California body shops at National ASC and received the "Man of the Year award" from ASC of California in 1987.
Other industry endeavors include serving on the Ford Dispute Settlement Board for three years.
Dale has also been very involved in his community. He has served on the advisory board for the Chino School District automotive program, on the Regional Occupational Programs advisory board for body shops and mechanical businesses, and participated in career days at local schools.
He is active in the Rotary Club and has served as a fund-raiser for the local YMCA.
He received Sam Walton's Small Business Award in 1999 and has received the Soroptimist Clubs "Mister of the Year" award.
Among other honors, his shop has been named the Small Business of the Year by the Chino Chamber of Commerce and the City of Chino. He also has received the Southern California Auto Club's outstanding performance award and its award for accurate estimating.
All the honors came from his "trying to make a difference" in his industry and community. One can't help but think this natural-born mechanic will be "making a difference" for a long time to come.
Shop StatsName: Dale Bright's Auto Service
Location: 5180 G Street, Chino, Calif.
No. of employees: 8
On what he likes best about his job: The satisfaction of doing things other people can't and making a living at it, enabling me and my family to have a good life.
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