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  Guest Editorial

See what makes us different ...
and the same!

Posted 11/15/2012

More than 90 percent of ASA-member shops are family-owned businesses, according to our 2011 AutoInc. Readership Survey. Learn what different generations from the same shop are thinking and how their generational differences affect their perspectives inside and outside the workplace. In this month’s “Generationally Speaking” department, meet Douglass Kirchdorfer, AAM, owner of Downing Street Garage in Denver, Co., and Alfredo Acevedo, service manager.

Generation X Baby Boomer

Alfredo Acevedo

Alfredo Acevedo

Who do you trust the most? My parents.

What is the best decision you have ever made? To enlist into the United States Marine Corps.

Best book you’ve ever read? I don’t read books; I read magazines.

How did you get into the automotive service business? I have always had a great passion for vehicles since I was young. My father and I used to make repairs to his ’68 VW Bus all the time and I enjoyed learning every time. I enlisted into the Marines after high school and went into the motor pool as a driver. Once out of the Marines, I got a job with Firestone as a general service lube tech back in 1999.

Is there a professional goal that you’re striving for that you’d like to share with us? My professional goal is to be successful; I do not have a certain position in mind since I am the manager at this present time. The next step would be to own my own shop but I am not sure if it’s a decision I would like to make.

What do you drive? 2005 Chevrolet Suburban

If you had a free weekend by yourself, what would you do? I would like to go to the beach. Being landlocked here in Colorado, it can be depressing sometimes.

What piece of advice would you give a young person who is graduating from high school today? Go to college and get a degree or enlist into the armed forces.

If you could change one thing about the field in which you work – either mechanical or collision repair (or both) – what would it be? I would like to change the [negative] perception that people have of our industry.

What is one electronic gadget that you cannot live without? Cell phone.

Speaking on behalf of your generation, how do you see the future of the industry? The future of the industry continues to go into the computer world. With all the advances in the automotive field, education is an important factor to stay up-to-date with the new technologies coming out yearly.

Douglass Kirchdorfer

Doug Kirchdorfer

Who do you trust the most? My wife, Rebecca. She is my best friend and partner. Together we have built a successful company that is respected by our peers.

What is the best decision you have ever made? Marrying my wife for the reasons stated above.

Best book you’ve ever read? The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. I read this book 20 years ago. It helped me understand how I could move forward from being a technician to a true entrepreneur.

How did you get into the automotive service business? I started working on machines when I was 10 years old. I went into the local gas station in the little town I grew up in and helped the owner for several months in my spare time until he hired me. He was a great mentor to me. A couple of years later I wanted to paint my car and was introduced to the guy running the body shop in the back. I worked there for several years and learned the art of auto body and even helped manage the business. For many years I did both in my own business.

Is there a professional goal that you’re striving for that you’d like to share with us? I’m not a professional sailor but I want to own a sailboat and learn to sail, maybe around the world.

What do you drive? A 1970 SAAB 95 station wagon and am building a 1967 Ford F-100 street rod. I also have a 1969 Harley that I bought from the original owner 38 years ago.

If you had a free weekend by yourself, what would you do? I would work on one of my cars or motorcycles or go for a motorcycle ride.

What piece of advice would you give a young person who is graduating from high school today? Get into a shop that can give you good mentoring and never stop learning. That is the one reason I have stayed in this business. If the early years are rewarding, staying in this business is easier.

If you could change one thing about the field in which you work – either mechanical or collision repair (or both) – what would it be? I would like to see mandatory training and possibly licensing. That would weed out those that are not serious about this industry.

What is one electronic gadget you cannot live without? My iPhone. It’s so much more than a phone.

Speaking on behalf of your generation, how do you see the future of the industry? I think there will always be cars to fix and good shops will always be busy. Staying current with technology will be the challenge. But if you are willing to make that investment, it will pay off in spades.

In future issues, we are inviting different generations from each shop (you don’t have to be related) to participate in the “Generationally Speaking” department. If you are interested, please send AutoInc. Editor Leona Dalavai Scott a quick note at leonad@asashop.org.

 

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