Dave Kemnitz, D & H Enterprises, Concord, CA
In his own words:
At the age of 15 I worked for a guy who owned a race car. I became part of his pit crew and we ran it every Saturday night. It was during that period of time that I became hooked and subsequently enrolled in all of the auto shop classes in high school! I am sure that you have heard that my wife Mary likes fast cars and she was part of the same group that hung out at the speedway and ran powder puff. It wasn’t long until I caught her eye and the rest is history.
I feel Like ASCCA brought us out of a cave, we knew how to fix cars, we had a good business plan, but building all of these ASCCA relationships is priceless, not to mention all of the discounted endorsed vendors that we have access to! ASCCA opened many doors and brought us to the next level of success.
After spending time in the Navy I enrolled in the College of Alameda’s automotive program and after completion went to work at a local dealership. I moved around a bit & was never really happy with the dealer’s ethics and lack of customer service. I figured there had to be a better way and in November of 1995, I opened my own business in the back of a Tow Truck Company. Fortunately Mary was employed in the Health Care field and had a healthy income or we would have starved to death the first few years. As my business expanded, Mary and I looked to relocate and found the Monument location. Mary had been steadily showing more interest in the business and growing weary of the medical field and decided to join me. Our son Derrick was also looking to settle into a career and came on board as well. Mary settled into writing service, marketing and personnel management, Derrick went to night classes at Tech Help, studied under Doug Mueller and soon became a Master Technician. Derrick’s wife joined us as well, writing service. In a nutshell, with the help of my family, I managed to achieve my dream of owning my own shop.
We have worked long hours and very hard days for many years. We seldom left the shop and would not even consider getting to know or even fraternizing with any of the local auto shops. I guess we did not want to share any of our secrets of success! We were invited to a meeting by a shop next door and reluctantly decided to go. We met ASCCA Members Allen Pennebaker of Orinda Motors and Andy Hagen of Hagen’s Automotive. They welcomed us with open arms and were eager to share business experiences, plus Mary got really excited about ASCCA Mt. Diablo Chapter 20′s discussions that night about building relationships and helping the less fortunate. She had been looking for an area to volunteer in.
Some advice I would offer to any new members out there or members looking to get more involved are to attend the meetings and get to know your fellow members. Once you get comfortable in your Chapter, get involved in leadership. Give back to the Industry that supports you!