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Do We Earn Enough Respect? Charlie Marcotte and Dustin Brown [THA 250]


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Charlie Marcotte is the owner of American Pride Automotive and Founder of Transportation Matters. After serving in the U.S. Army, Charlie and his wife Diane moved to Virginia in 1988 and started their family in 1992. Putting food on the table was the primary goal that started Charlie working on cars (illegally) from a 10′ by 20′ storage unit. A strong work ethic and love of cars allowed those humble beginnings to flourish into American Pride Automotive, with 4 locations serving the Virginia Peninsula. The family unit has always been Charlie’s driving force, with three successful children and a bouncing baby Grandson: Life is Good. Building a solid business is a point of pride for Charlie, but his true passion is Transportation Matters. The transportation Matters mission drives positive social change while delivering a competitive advantage to the independent automotive repair industry—the same industry which has provided Charlie with so much opportunity.

Listen to Charlie's other episodes HERE

Dustin Brown, Brown Auto Experts, 3 Locations in New Mexico, Albuquerque, Village of Los Ranchos and Rio Rancho. Dustin and Nolan Brown are brothers that are third-generation mechanics. Their father Donald started Browns Automotive in 1982.

Key Talking Points

  • Connect your brand to your community
  • What has your contribution been during your entire career?
  • Owning a business and supporting your community go hand in hand- hiring, retention, comebacks, customer relationships, word of mouth growth
  • Transform your reputation in the  industry- break the negative stereotype
  • Charlie Marcotte is 7 years into a 10-year goal of donating $320,000 to local non-profits, he is proud to say that we are ahead of schedule. Success came from the process.
  • Charlie developed a program called State Inspections for our Community. In VA, they have an annual safety inspection, the cost to the customer is only $20. For each State Inspection they perform, they set aside $5 to be given to a local NPO, they call it “making the mundane, meaningful”.  
  • American Pride is Facilitating the gift of a 2015 Ford Escape to the Williamsburg House of Mercy. One of their great fleet customers, Signature Stone, needed a transmission for their ’15 Escape. It’s an expensive transmission and in the end, it didn’t make sense to repair it but the rest of the car was in great shape. Charlie reached out to WHOM and asked if they had a family who could use reliable transportation, with the ability to maintain it - they did. Charlie reached out to a friend, Matt Lacy who owns Lacy Auto Parts, and suggested he donate a transmission, he did. He had their crew install the transmission at no charge. To make this donation a wise business strategy, Charlie will have a film crew coming to the shop to interview all 4 parties. 
  • Video content- keep it simple with a cell phone, quick and natural. It is real and intimate content. Don’t overthink it. 
  • Dustin’s primary charity is the Albuquerque Christian Children's Home. In the past, they were involved with many organizations such as Road Runner food bank, Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots, and Breast Cancer awareness foundation. 3 years ago they decided to stay focused on one local charity and provide support to them throughout the year. This has ensured the collections stay in the community. Consumable drive with customers started this month and will go to the end of the year (Paper/Plasticware, toilet paper, dishwashing, and laundry detergent, and so on, Things the home goes through all year long). Don’t just give back during the holidays, it needs to be done throughout the whole year.
  • Dustin recently completed a training room: The goal is to get involved with local car clinics for new drivers and basic vehicle education such as tire pressure, changing a spare, and checking fluids. With a new training area, they hosted their first tech training event with the help of NAPA. It is also for technicians in the community to do more hands-on training. New driver clinic- changing tire, oil etc.
  • Inspiration is followed by perspiration 
  • Family Service Day- free automotive care and repair paired with the local church, helped over 1,000 families

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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