ASCCA Members of the Month

May 2015

Jim and Mary Payne from The Driving Machine in Cupertino are the members of month for May. They have worked hard on Chapter 42 events for many years, including organizing trade shows. Jim is a past board president, and Mary helps organize every meeting. They have hosted multiple shop nights. They continually assist when letters need to be written for legislative concerns. In addition, they have been ASCCA members for 25 years.

April 2015

Rory Balmer of


February 2015

Darren Gilbert of Gilbert Motor Service in Alhambra, CA.

Darren is very active in Chapter 5 and currently serves as chapter president. Darren has brought in several new ASCCA members and promotes our association every chance he gets. He lobbies for ASCCA members at our annual legislative days and attends all summer conferences. Darren also sets up classes for members and is always willing to help others.

January 2015

David Kusa owner of AutoTrend Diagnostics in Campbell, CA.

Dave is very active in Chapter 42 and currently serves as a board member and chapter representative. He has also helped several new shops become ASCCA members. Dave advocates with local legislators on behalf of small businesses and their employees. He contributes to TeamTalk and is a huge resources for members.

As the owner of a small family shop he has demonstrated his ability to both operate a successful business, maintain a quality family life and make major contributions to his local chapter and the state organization. As a member of TeamTalk, and as a leader in the Chapter Representatives, he actively participates in and contributes to those discussions. He maintains an organized and disciplined approach to solving issues that come before those bodies. His reasoned approach has often calmed others and given a positive direction to discussions. Dave consistently takes part and assists others in communicating with local and state legislators to inform them of viewpoints of which they are not aware, especially as they effect small automotive business owners and their employees. His shop has a spotless record with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and Northern CA ‒ AAA. His Diamond Certified ratings are exemplary and his shop receives high ratings from his customers and Yelp reviewers. At every opportunity he talks with other shop owners about the benefits of membership in ASCCA, and has personally assisted several shops in becoming members. Dave is a huge resource for our local members, he brings back information he gleans from his frequent interactions with other shops and is always willing to share his knowledge with others. AutoTrend Diagnostics, thanks to Dave, makes use of most of the member benefits available through ASCCA and is a huge advocate to other shops to make use of the programs. Dave sets an outstanding example to be emulated by other shop owners on how to run a successful business and be an active and valued member of the local community.

December 2014

John Eppstein, owner of John's Automotive Care in San Diego.

He has been in the automotive industry since 1985. John is active in the community through the Boys and Girls Club. He is a board member of ASCCA and also serves on the ASCCA Endorsements Committee. John is a member of ASCCA Chapter 24 and has served as its secretary, vice president, and chair of the Meetings Committee. He is also on the ASCEF Board of Trustees and his shop is an ASCEF Cars for Careers donation site.

November 2014

Steve Elstins, owner of West Coast Muffler in Concord.

Steve was nominated by Chapter 20 because his passion to make a difference in the industry is appreciated by everyone. He has organized a Father's Day car show for the last 20 years and donated the proceeds to charity. Steve is also an ASCCA board member, chairs ASCCA's Education, Training and Information Committee, and is a member of ASCCA's Summer Conference and Government Affairs Committees. Steve does a lot for ASCCA members so thank him next time you see him!

October 2014

Jonathan Summers of the California Smog & Automotive Institute in Riverside.

He is a member of ASCCA Chapter 14-Inland Empire. Jonathan has been an ASCCA member since 2012. He and his wife run a school that conducts automotive training for young technicians. He is also the owner of an auto repair shop and is an active supporter of the ASCCA.

September 2014

Raul Salgado of Raul's Auto Repair in Azusa and Covina

He is a member of ASCCA Chapter 5 (Foothill). Raul was inspired to become involved in automotive repair by ASCCA members, particularly Gene Morrill and Craig Johnson. He was able to own and run his very successful repair shop through hard work, training, and by having the right people working for him. From being an ASCCA member, he has gained a network of friends and created the best shop. He advises new ASCCA members to get to know their fellow ASCCA members and get involved with their local chapter. If you are not a member, Raul says to become a member as soon as possible!

ASCCA Members of the Year Larry and Laurie Moore!

Larry and Laurie Moore, of Larry's AutoWorks in Mountain View, the ASCCA Members of the Month in September 2013, were recognized at the summer conference as ASCCA’s Members of the Year. The Member of the Year is chosen from among all the Members of the Month in the previous fiscal year.

In their own words:

“I got into auto repair because I was really hard on cars and they would break and since I was a student, I could not afford to pay to have them fixed. I worked my way through college building VW engines in my garage and eventually for a local engine building company..."

**Please scroll down to the bottom of this page (to their member of the month profile) to read more.

June 2014

Pete and Darlene Peterson, retired members from Chapter 14 (Inland Empire).

Husband and wife duo Pete and Darlene Petersen got married in 1954 after Pete served in the Korean War. They have been supporting each other ever since in their community, church, and personal activities. In 1957 Pete worked for an Oldsmobile dealership. In 1968 he opened Quality Automotive and worked there until he retired in 2004. Since 1977, Pete has taught over 1,000 auto repair students as a faculty member at San Bernardino Valley College.

May 2014

Paul Grech, Allied Engine & Auto Repair, San Francisco, CA

Paul is the president of Chapter 21 (San Francisco). He’s pictured with his 1936 Ford pickup.

In his own words:

"I became involved in automotive repair because I watched my dad work on his cars from the age of four and when I was 16 my dad gave me a 1936 Ford truck. I was able to get a license at 15, but I wasn't able to keep it very long, because I had five tickets before I had a license, so I lost my license for six months. During that time without a license, I was able to put an Oldsmobile motor, a Caddie box and a nine inch Ford rear end in the '36, so it was a very dependable hot rod and I still have it.

The road to owning my own repair shop began when I was 12. At that time my father's cousin was the manager of the seven western states for Vespa motor scooters. I use to assemble them out of the crate. When I was 14 someone bought the distributorship and my father's cousin and I got canned, so I got an after-school job in a garage working on Vespas. At 18, I went to work for an independent garage and worked there for 11 years, but between the garage’s two partners they had four sons, so I did not see a long term future for me there. Fortunately, a great opportunity popped up and I was able to walk into Allied Engine for 2,500 bucks in 1973. Everything was cheap then, rent was cheap, water was cheap, phone was cheap . . . everything was simple then and it was easy for me to make money at what came naturally to me.

Being an ASCCA member has benefitted me and my business. For example, the first ASC convention I attended was in 1977 in Lake Tahoe. The speaker advised us to buy our property if we wanted to be in business down the road. At the time I had made and saved a ton of money, so I listen and bought the building even though, at the time, rent was really cheap. Another example occurred in 1985, when I needed to get an office computer and I was able to ask my fellow ASC associates, who had gone through the process, what questions to ask in choosing a computer system to run my shop. I was able to make the right decision on their advice, and my first shop computer lasted me 15.

I would advise new ASCCA members to go to as many meetings as you can and talk to as many members as you can. Pick their brains, watch how they run their shops, watch how they act and behave, and pick out the best parts of them and instill them in yourself, and you will succeed.

April 2014

Glenn Davis, GDA Enterprises, Upland, CA

Glenn is a member of Chapter 14 (Inland Empire) and chairman of the ASCEF.

In his own words:

"Thank you all for your kind words,I never imagined the path I would take when I first attended an ASCCA meeting in Chapter 5 back when I was a 22-year old shop owner. The evening is still etched in my memory as if it happened last night. Through the years (into my 30th year now as an ASCCA member), I have met and been mentored by the real icons of our industry. I learned the fine art of leadership from the likes of Larry Moore, Tom Ward, Chet Stilbower, Ron Dyrness,Jim O'Neill, Allen Cherko, Dan Fogle, Mike Mahneke and Robert Salerno. I hope one day I too will be able pass those things on to the next generation of ASCCA shop owners and leaders.

ASCCA has been around since 1940. Lots of names, lots of faces have come and gone, lots of battles (Trevor Law Group, CARB super warranty, SB 1146 - the nations fist right-to-repair legislation, SB750-BMW key coding) and others have been fought and won on the backs of the best grass roots government affairs efforts our industry has ever seen. Did I mention that the inventor of the OBDII connector was an ASCCA member (Jack Heyler)? ASCCA members did all of that! We continue today with this commitment to our industry and our members.

Because of our commitment to our industry, ASCCA is the only state organization of its kind to hold a seat on the national board of NASTF (National Automotive Service Task Force). Our own Allen Pennebaker (former ASCCA president) serves as president of this prestigious group. See.. ASCCA has extended to national prominence (again).

Ours is a fraternal order of professional-minded business owners that know servicing and repairing our customers vehicles should be done with respect, dignity and honesty. Our 10-point code of ethics remind us each day to strive to hold to the intentions our founding fathers had envisioned on that cold garage floor back in 1940.

We are unique. ASCCA has a larger network of local chapters than any other trade association of its kind. This is where the ASCCA Advantage is on display for everyone to observe and be part of. That web of inter-connectivity that binds us for the last 74 years. The chapter experience is where the we stay informed, get involved and strive to become great leaders. ASCCA would be just another trade association without this network of members.

I would be derelict in my duties of I didn't mention the real back bone of ASCCA... the women of ASCCA. Names like Carol Bartel and Moonyean Kistler, two of the finest Government Affairs Chairs ASCCA has ever had. Carol.. the ONLY two-time female president. Of course where would we be without the ASCETTS. They used to be called the women's auxillary (a very outdated phrase). Without these women (Dee Cherko, Pat Dyrness, Laurie Moore, Elaine Salerno and others) ASCEF would never have been a reality. ASCEF has given out hundreds of thousand of dollars in awards since it's inception. Their vision of creating the next generation of technicians and shop owners through scholarships truly make them candidates for the ASCCA hall of fame in my mind.

One last thought. For those of us blessed enough to know Maxine Jones...The First lady of ASCCA, we could not have done all of the things we did without her energy. She was and still is Janey-on-the spot. She has been there for ASCCA for most of ASCCA's existence and will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Thanks again."

March 2014

Junior Tamayo, Jay's Auto Center, Torrance, CA

In his own words:

"I have been a proud member of the ASCCA for over 40 years and I am happy to share my story.

I have always been a "pliers and wire" kinda guy; as a child I loved working with my hands, helping my uncles with whatever they were working on, whether it be tinkering with a motor or fixing a leaky faucet. I was inspired to work hard as I got older mostly because I was married with three kids by the age of 27. I began working for Jay's Automatic Transmissions in 1969 as a grunt worker. My job was to stay out of everyone's way and keep busy with whatever I was told to do. I really enjoyed working for Jay the original owner and he saw potential in me.

Many nights when my co-workers would go home I would stay and read the work manuals on how to rebuild a transmission. The next morning all of the work would be done. This eliminated some jobs for my "ex co-workers". Not my intention but it was what it was: I was educating myself in the automotive industry and it just so happened Jay didn't need all those employees. Eventually Jay made me the manager and I did all the hiring and firing until finally in 1974 Jay sold the business to me! I have worked hard and it has paid off as my kids grew up in a loving, successful household.

As an ASCCA member, I have gained information on rules and regulations in advance while the information was still in discussion mode. ASCCA has helped me to establish successful processes in my business.

The advice I would offer a new ASCCA member is to get involved and take advantage of the many benefits offered by this helpful organization."

February 2014

Ken Breshears, Keith's Auto Repair, Redding, CA

In his own words:

"At 10 years of age my first job was detailing cars and working the pump island at my father's Chevron service station during the summer. Later, when he became the AAA towing contractor for Shasta County, I would help the drivers on snow days and help the technicians during the summer. In high school I found employment in a restaurant and became a sous chef by age 18. By age 20 for many reasons I returned to the family business, a high volume Chevron station with a busy back room repair business. I became the manager by the end of that first summer, in 1983. The automotive repair business was changing and I was excited to learn all aspects of the industry, such as customer service, business management, new technologies and much more.In 1992 my father expanded and opened a general repair and smog check facility, Keith's Auto Repair. I was still running the service station with lube bays and food mart. In 1995 I was sent to run the shop and increase sales. The shop was relocated in 1997 and on May 1, 1999 my wife and I bought Keith's Auto Repair from my father.In 2001 during a membership drive I was approached to join ASCCA. I had learned it was important to support associations that would look out for my interests and be my VOICE. Chapter 99 did a very good job of providing informational general meetings covering important topics including hazardous waste, Bureau of Auto Repair, workers comp, CC processing, business management, labor laws and much more. I found friendships that have been very beneficial. Those who are not a business owner can never truly relate to the issues that we deal with daily; it has been a great comfort to have a group of businessmen and women who can relate to this ever-changing industry.In 2011 I was asked to become a board member, and reluctantly I agreed. Toward the end of that year our long-time chapter leader Steve Lustig became ill and I was asked to step in for a few months and organize a meeting or two. Steve was the one that made sure this chapter stayed together, and he is missed. I am presently in my third year as chapter president. I have a strong, stable board and continue to provide informative general meetings for our members.

The advice I would give to new members would be to take full advantage of our resources and members. Spending a little time once a month can help your personal and business life prosper."

January 2014

Robert Salerno, Salerno's Auto Service Center, Redlands, CA

In his own words:

"I was inspired to get into automotive repair early on. If my mother was alive today, she would tell you that starting at the age of two I took everything apart just to see what made it work. My dad at times wanted to terminate my life because he found some of those things in pieces. At age 15, for $50 I purchased a 1930 Model A sedan with a damaged engine. With the help of Sears, Roebuck & Company, and reading some books, I was able to overhaul the engine. With financial support from my lawn business I got that fine vehicle running. I also worked for a body man and painter at a local Pontiac dealership, in exchange for their free labor to paint my car. Then there was an opening for a new car-get ready helper. So my love of automobiles and of taking things apart became my road to a lifelong career.

I became an automotive shop owner because my parents didn't like the idea of my being an automotive mechanic. The long hours I spent redesigning four-cylinder engines into V8s, lowering vehicles, along with the loud exhaust became total frustration for my parents. Then there was marriage and children. I still had a desire to do something I liked. My first love was working on vehicles, and with the approval of my first wife we borrowed money to open a service station. That was 37 years ago and since then I have owned several service stations, until eventually I felt the need for a larger shop. March 10, 2014 will mark 48 years in business.

Here's how I got involved with ASCCA. Never be in a meeting and have to go to the bathroom! What happened on April 15, 1980 was the beginning of 34 years of involvement with ASCCA. I was at an ASCCA meeting and at the end our executive director John Goodman said to me and the membership that I would be a leader of the association. Like a lot of shop owners, I said, "No way, I do not have the time." "Yes, you will make the time and effort," said the person next to me (now longtime friend and adviser Dale Bright). Three shop owners were installed that evening and I was the last one chosen. What happened was I came out of the bathroom to find a group of people standing up and applauding my return to the room. I asked what had happened. Dale replied, "You have been voted in as a chapter board member." At another meeting later on this happened again -- I took a bathroom break only to come back and hear President Pete Peterson state that I had been voted in as mechanical governor (chapter representative today).

Nine years later I was elected to the State Board. In 1991 was voted to serve on the executive committee. After 14 years I retired to become a chapter representative and serve on my chapter board. I gained friendships throughout the United States, knowledge of how the government operates, and had the benefit of belonging to an organization of people with the same professional concerns as me. With this backing I walked into representatives' offices and had them shake my hand and listen to our presentations. Senators and assemblymen were calling me asking for my input on items of concern to small business owners. Also, I have profited and gained so much knowledge from many shop owners over the years just by the discussions we have had in our meetings. The best business decision I ever made was joining ASCCA because it has made me a better business owner and a better person.

The group of shop owners that we have now are more knowledgeable than us old timers. My love for our association is still strong and I am proud to be part of ASCCA. Without the work of volunteers we wouldn't be as strong as we are. Without membership we are just alone in our shops. When you look around the table at meetings and conferences you can see we are all individuals working together. I stated one time at a meeting that we are not competitors -- we are comrades in the same industry. We must all work together to make a better image for the automotive industry. Amen!"

December 2013

Zarkis Martirosian, Bud Eberwein Automotive, Fresno, CA

In his own words:

"I got involved in automotive repair because my uncle owned European Motors in San Jose for many years. At age 12, the idea of being able to repair something or build something was very intriguing to me. I also wanted to some day own a business like his.I graduated with an AS degree from Fresno City College and went to work for Bud Eberwein Brake Service at age 20 in 1972. The day Bud interviewed me, I told him that one day I would buy him out. I worked for Bud for six years as a mechanic, then eight-and-a-half years managing the shop. I bought the shop from him in 1985. The business expanded and outgrew the building. Our current shop was built in 1987. I made Bud Eberwein Brake Service a full-service automotive shop in 1995.What have I gained from ASCCA membership? Besides camaraderie and the development of deep friendships, ASCCA made me realize that being a business owner is not just about turning wrenches. While running that part of a business is OK, you have to be aware too that political and regulatory affairs can destroy your business. That awareness helped me decide to get involved in our ASCCA local chapter, to help protect my interests and the interests of my fellow shop owners.I advise new ASCCA members to get involved in how the political and regulatory process works and understand how they can affect your business. Don't just depend on others to do it. Your voice is very important. Do not be intimidated by thinking you don't make a difference. Get involved in your local chapter and help build a network among your colleagues. That way, any time mechanical problems or other business issues arise, you can help each other."

November 2013

Phil Fournier, Phil's Auto Clinic, Hemet, CA

In his own words:

"I was working on my dad's lawnmower before I was a teenager. I built my own go-cart when I was 11 years old. I barely considered any other career even though my dad was a geophysicist with a degree from the Colorado School of Mines and my brother was studying mechanical engineering. I got my first job in a salvage yard at age 13, busting tires.My brother, the mechanical engineer, lost his job when nuclear power went south after Three Mile Island. My dad decided that purchasing the auto repair business where I worked would be a good idea and give my brother a job. That was 1984 and as they say, the rest is history. We learned of ASCCA early on, even before we took ownership of the shop, through the Tim Runner/ASCCA trade shows that were held in Anaheim near the Disneyland park. I went to that trade show starting in 1983 and began to get to know some of the ASCCA members. In 1987, ASCCA honored me (at the time not even a member) for earning the top score in the state of California on the ASE tests. I still display that plaque on my wall, one of my proudest achievements. We joined ASCCA in 1989 to take advantage of the workers comp program, which at that time had a great rebate program through State Fund. But I soon came to see the value was in the interaction and the information sharing. Training opportunities, plusses and minuses of this and that, pending laws, all of this is still a very valuable part of the membership that non-member shops mostly miss out on.New ASCCA members should get on TeamTalk. Get to the Team Weekends if you can and get to know other ASCCA members. I lament that we can no longer afford to run those trade shows like we once did (I understand the changes that have taken place that prevent it) but I advise new members to get to know the old-timers and learn from them."

October 2013

Danny Iwama, J & S Auto Service, Los Angeles

In his own words:

"I've always been mechanically inclined. I was the bane of my father, because I would take anything and everything apart. I don't think there is a mechanic in the field that hasn't taken their bicycle apart and put it back together again. In high school during the late '60s while attending an LAUSD school we were given many choices for electives and I took Auto Repair. I loved cars. I enjoyed reading Road & Track and about Can-Am and Formula 1 races.

During the 1990's I was a member of the Compuserve "For Techs Only" forum. I read the postings of Charlie Mulchahy, Phil Fournier, Jim O'Neil, Greg Kelly, and Scott Brown in regards to being a member of a trade organization. It was during a BAR meeting in Long Beach just before BAR97 was rolled out that I decided to join ASCCA.

It was a good time to join ASCCA because the LA City Council was forcing their "beautification program" onto all shop owners in Downtown and South Los Angeles. The city was requiring shop owners to build a block wall around their entire facility. Through the efforts of our local ASCCA Chapter 10 South Los Angeles, we were able to prevent the city council from implementing their program.

I inherited my shop from my father who owned the shop since 1968. I took over during the early 80's. My father bought the shop from Harry Furuya who was a member of IGO.

Every owner should participate in their local Chapter. They should share their knowledge and strengths. Whether they are knowledgeable in management or technology, any information is beneficial to our peers.

I was fortunate to be asked to join the Government Affairs Committee. I have been able to help direct the BAR programs that most impact my business. Through this association, I've been able to address the current BAR Chief directly, and to interact with the Program Representatives in charge of various programs. If not for my connection with the ASCCA, I would have no control over the direction my shop and industry would take."

September 2013

Larry and Laurie Moore, Larry's AutoWorks, Mountain View, CA

In their own words:

"I got into auto repair because I was really hard on cars and they would break and since I was a student, I could not afford to pay to have them fixed. I worked my way through college building VW engines in my garage and eventually for a local engine building company.

While finishing up my college education, the shop owner I worked for decided to get out of the business. He offered me the business at a great price. I begged and borrowed enough money to buy the business. I immediately discovered that what I learned in college about business had almost no application in my small shop. Luckily the previous owner had done a very good job of setting up the production processes which helped me survive long enough to figure it out the business side.


Laurie joined me in the business after we both worked briefly for another company in a different industry to get some perspective on our business.

We learned about our local chapter when an insurance agent told us how much money we could save using the ASCCA insurance program. I attended a couple of meetings and found out that the shop owners who attended were a wealth of information for things I thought I had to figure out on my own, or thought I had figured out but found out they had much better answers!

Becoming a member of ASCCA took our business to a whole new level - it gave us people we could call who knew exactly what we were going through, and who usually had the answers we needed. Never having worked in the industry other than at the shop we ended up owning, we had no friends in the business, so ASCCA really helped us propel the business forward. We ended up joining the local Chapter Board and then I was elected to the ASCCA state Board. This introduced us to some of the top shop owners in the state, who then became additional resources for us. I can safely say that without joining ASCCA our business would not be what it is today.

The best advice I can give a new member is GET INVOLVED! I believe that is the true value of membership, having the resources of all the other ASCCA members, especially through the medium of team talk and the local meetings. There is nothing like having dinner with other shop owners to get ideas and solutions for the improved and successful day-to-day operation of the business. Not to mention you will probably make some great new friends!

August 2013

Jack Scrafield, North Hollywood Auto Repair, North Hollywood, CA

In his own words:

"I originally joined ASCCA Chapter 5 Foothill in 1985 as an associate member as I was managing the Los Angeles operations for Mission Uniform Service. Through ASCCA Chapter 5 Foothill I developed many business relationships and numerous friends in the industry. In 1990 I left Mission to pursue another career.

In 1998 I was approached by a good friend that owned No. Hollywood Auto Parts and No. Hollywood Auto Repair. My buddy wanted to focus his efforts on the parts business and asked if I would consider buying his repair business. Since I was the one that enrolled him in membership at Chapter 5 years before, we both knew that I would have a support team in our friends at Chapter 5 with this endeavor.

That is exactly what happened! I immediately became involved with Chapter 5 again to learn from the other successful shop owners. My background was in business, not automotive, so at first it was difficult, costly, frustrating and the process was slow. However, I received only encouragement and direction from my ASCCA mentors. It is important to point out here that involvement and participation are the keys to learning. The more I gave of myself, the more I learned and the more my business grew. There is no "Silver Bullet" in this process for a shop owner. Through ASCCA involvement I was able to pick up bits and pieces of information and ideas via general meetings, board meetings, conferences, and other ASCCA activities that when put together and correctly implemented these components made my automotive business grow. Whether it was choosing a shop management software system, management training company, purchasing a scan tool, developing a work flow system, deciding on a customer retention marketing program, etc., ASCCA members have helped me with these and many more decisions from their invaluable experience. The best part is that now I am in a position to help other new members"

June 2013

Margie van Lierop, VIKING Auto Care Corp., Irvine, CA

In her own words:

"My background is in media sales and marketing working for CBS or ABC affiliates for fifteen years. When I left the corporate world I started my entrepreneurial quests in small local advertising agencies and media consulting services which led me to a fun entrepreneurial adventure in starting a magazine titled "Beach Cities Style" which I founded, owned and published for 6-years in South Orange County. I sold that publication in 2008.

I have also dabbled in the music business touring with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band, White Zombie, Wynonna, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill. But this is another adventure for another time.

Now, I am businesswoman who owns an automotive repair shop and am taking a crash course, no pun intended, as to what needs to be applied toward the success of my business. Running my shop has been a huge learning curve for me especially making sure that I brand my business as a "woman-owned-and-run" business.

My media, sales & rock star experience has led me to hone my skills to provide the ultimate "Rock-Star" experience to each and every customer that steps foot into my shop.

My affiliation with ASCCA and Chapter 50, as well as other professional organizations and other shop owners has propelled the recognition of my shop in a very short time.

I am fortunate to have connected with ASCCA and attend every meeting to learn everything possible from those that are the "sages" in the business."

May 2013

Denise Pina, her husband Fred and mom, Virginia, Brea Auto Body

In her own words:

"Thank you for this honor from a great association with amazing members!

I remember one day, when I was young, Dad said, "I want to start my own shop." Things were really tight, so this was a big leap of faith. In 1979, my parents started Brea Auto Body, located in North Orange County, California. Brea Auto Body has grown to a state-of-the art collision repair and paint facility; a certified green shop, ASE Blue Seal, with all of the equipment, training and services of an A+ shop, recognized locally and nationally for community service. Consumers voted us Best Auto Body Shop in Orange County twice.

Our key values include excellence in customer service, a commitment to giving back, and dedication to making our industry better. Brea Auto Body is involved with many trade, business and charitable organizations as well as advisors to automotive colleges. We were honored with the NABC Pride Award, a national award given for humanitarian acts.

I grew up in the automotive industry - after college and a career in the Tech Industry, family brought me home and back to Brea Auto Body in 2002.

We joined ASCCA shortly thereafter. Thanks to Ira Newman who welcomed us, joining the board followed. When I think of ASCCA, I think of valuable friendships, strong, dedicated industry leaders, coming together to make a difference, and amazing people I learn from, every time we are together. We have been involved with the organization from hosting shop nights, attending Leg Day, contributing to marketing materials, legislation and more. ASCCA has embraced us as family, and I always know I can pick up the phone and ask a leader in the industry anywhere across the state a question. I am proud of our voice in government, our contributions to our industry, and to each other as shop owners. I am grateful to ASCCA and it's members

April 2013

Gene and Robin Morrill, Certified Automotive Specialists, Glendora, CA

In his own words:

"My wife Robin and I are the owners of Certified Automotive Specialists in Glendora. Our goal has always been to stay ahead of the changing automotive industry, have an awesome place to work and be profitable.

Certified Automotive Specialists' mission is to provide safe and reliable transportation for our customers by thoroughly inspecting each car we service. We're committed to educating our customers so that they can make the best service and/or repair decisions possible.

We also believe it's our responsibility to be leaders in the automotive industry and to meet or exceed all industry standards.

I'm a 28-year member of ASCCA, but didn't attended meetings early on, much like many members today. After being encouraged by a member to go to a meeting, I was hooked. Older and wiser members let me sit with them and shared their secrets of success and even bought me a beer or two to boot.

Most of these members have retired or passed on, but I cannot thank them enough for the track they put me on to improve my business.

"The more you know, the more you grow" is my philosophy and I now have an Associate's degree in Automotive Technology, I graduated from the AMI program with an AAM degree. In addition, I am a graduate of ATI's owners course, an ASE Master Technician, a Professor at Citrus College in the Auto Tech Department and very involved with my local community.

All of this happened over many years of commitment to myself - to become a better shop owner and by being involved with our industry. Remember, if you don't start, you can never finish.

My affiliation with ASCCA and Chapter 5, as well as other professional organizations and other shop owners has catapulted our company to one of the top shops in our area. Thanks to the many trainers and fellow shop owners who shared their time and expertise with me."

March 2013

Cindy Brown, Connie & Dick's Automotive Service, Claremont, CA

In her own words:

"Scott, my husband and I have owned Connie & Dick's Automotive Service Center, Inc. since 1996. My husband inspired me to become more involved in our business about 10 years ago. Almost 5 years ago he told me he had a wonderful opportunity to help take IATN (a second business) to new levels and I have been running Connie & Dick's Automotive, Inc. since.

Running our shop has been a huge learning curve for me. I had to step into some big shoes (Scott's), so I re-branded our business as woman-owned-and-run and continued with great business training classes and attended trade shows with training.

It's been a wonderful experience, my customers love knowing I run the business and my employees have expressed very positive feelings too.

ASCCA has been a part of our world for as long as my husband has been a Tech. It's an honor being part of an association dedicated to the improvement and growth of our businesses and our industry. ASCCA keeps me updated on what's going on in the state and in my own backyard - giving us a voice in legislative matters.

The discounted programs and services offered ONLY to ASCCA members can really add up. My membership dues are much less when I take into account all the great savings from ASCCA benefit providers. With everything ASCCA has to offer my favorite benefit is our Chapter meetings (I'm Vice President of Chapter 14), each month we get to meet and network, talk about our month, share marketing ideas, and just know that everyone goes through the same things - or it can just lift someone up who needs it.

To those thinking about joining ASCCA, what are you waiting for? This is the best decision you will ever make for you and your business. You will meet and make some of the best friends in your life. You will find a chance to grow in your Chapter as well - so get involved and help out anyway you can!"

February 2013

Kris Cesena, Auto Medics, San Mateo, CA

In her own words:


"My inspiration to become involved in the automotive repair industry came in the summer between high school and college I got a job working as a bookkeeper at a service station. It was there that I met my future husband, Dan Cesena, who was working there as a technician. Three months later we moved in together and 3 years later we opened our own shop. Although I had a full-time job at the time, I would go to the shop after work and on weekends to help Dan with the marketing and general office type work.

Dan had worked at many independent shops before working at the Honda Dealer and always wanted to have his own service facility. The popularity of Hondas in the eighties and people's understanding of the importance of routine maintenance was the perfect formula to get the shop going. Dan found a great location in Downtown San Mateo and after several weekends of cleaning up the building we opened in April 1987. The formula worked and the shop was profitable from the very first month. Dan had a partner the first 13 years in business, but after we bought out his partner in 2000, I quit my drafting career and went to work full-time at the shop. Dan taught me everything he knew about running a successful service and repair shop. Together we attended classes from Bob Cooper at Elite, Maylan Newton at ESI, Chubby at ATI, and many others. Our level of customer service and our understanding of business management increased and now after 25 years, we've established ourselves solidly in the community. We feel we have achieved our goal of Auto Medics becoming a well-oiled machine that will live on past us.

Both Dan and I have gained so much from our ASCCA membership! The access to discounted programs and services is a no-brainer. And we're glad to know we have a voice in legislative matters through our association, which is the main reason we joined. But to our surprise, the biggest gains have come from networking with other shop owners. We've learned so much from other's successes, and mistakes. And we've been happy to share our experiences to help others out as well. At first I was concerned about attending meetings with our local competitors, but we soon realized that when we help each other out, we elevate the level of our industry for the better of all shop owners AND consumers.

Advice I would offer to new ASCCA members is to really take advantage of the discounts as much as possible by contacting all of the benefit providers and asking what they can offer you as an ASCCA member! The savings you'll receive will more than pay for the cost of membership. But the real value is getting involved. Go to the meetings. Talk to your fellow shop owners. Share information. And then once you've realized all those benefits, become more involved. Join your Chapter's Board of Directors. Become a Chapter Representative. Join the ASCCA Board of Directors. Remember, this association is only as good as its members and volunteers. We have to keep passing the torch to keep it alive, and that's a very worthwhile endeavor."

January 2013

John Camara, Camara Auto Service, Inc., Tulare, CA

In his own words:

"I became inspired to get involved in automotive repair from always being curious as to how toys and other objects worked. When my personal objects would eventually break I would naturally try to fix them. When I entered high school I enrolled in auto shop classes and eventually an opportunity came along for me to work part time at a full service station assisting in the repairs. That began my automotive repair career.

In 1972 the owner of the facility I grew to manage unfortunately experienced serious medical complications and he could no longer work full time and looked for a buyer to take over his business. At that time I decided this would be my opportunity to own my own repair shop. I then was able to start my own business on January 01, 1973.

From the very first ASCCA meeting I attended in my chapter we sat at a round table with five shop owners and tried to help one of the shop owners solve a problem with a car they were working on. At that point I knew I wanted to belong. Afterwards, staying in ASCCA was easy, there is a quote I believe is from Henry Ford and says "If you want to be successful surround yourself with successful people." That is what I have done in ASCCA.

To my fellow shop owners who are new in ASCCA the first thing that I would recommend is to ATTEND a meeting, PARTICIPATE in a chapter or the state meetings and don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions; everyone there is your friend."

December 2012

Bob Toepp, Bill's Auto Electric & Repair, Santa Clara, CA

In his own words:

"I was raised in the shop where my dad was part owner and I started working with him when I was 15years old. I wanted to learn what made the car tick. I always loved to take things apart, fix it and put them back together!

It was June 1976 when I started working at Bill's Auto Electric & Repair. It was the business that my dad (Bob Toepp ) started working at in 1958 and in 1971 he and a partner, Don Bordessa bought from the owner, Bill Siemsen. I worked my way up the ladder from mopping floors, cleaning parts to working on cars. I went through the automotive apprenticeship program, went to Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated with an AA degree in automotive in June 1981. I knew that the automotive business was in my blood. I worked along side my dad until November, 1986 when he passed away. I stayed at Bills working for Don and in June 2007 I bought the business. Now I have 3 full-time employees and hoping to add another in 2013.

The ASCCA has been a big part of my business. I never would have otherwise found all of the available resources I have found in ASCCA for my business and for being the Chapter President & Chapter Representative for our local ASCCA Chapter 28 in Santa Rosa. It's all about having so many people in an organization to help you in business. Help is just a phone call away and that is PRICELESS.

My first set of advice that I would offer a shop owner in California is to get involved! By joining ASCCA you now belong to the biggest independent organization in the state of California. Together we make our voice louder, from the state capitol, fighting legislation against our business to CARB & BAR asking us for our help changing rules and regulations that pertain to our industry. Also, meeting with other shop owners at your local chapter meetings to statewide shop owners at Team Weekends and summer conferences, talking about new business ideas and going to training classes that will help improve your business. This also is PRICELESS.

Be the cream of the crop and join ASCCA now!"

November 2012

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!

October 2012

Art Ratner, Art's Automotive, Berkeley, CA

In his own words:

"I grew up at a time when the automotive culture was in full bloom. While I was an amateur mechanic I had several experiences with major repairs on vehicles that left me with such a feeling of accomplishment that I naturally was drawn to attending a college level automotive school and making a career in the field of automotive repair. I started the business 32 and 1/2 years ago by myself out of a rented apartment with four small garages in back. I impressed people (with money) with my hard work who backed me getting into a proper commercial location at year four. I got to buy one, then two and then three properties, side by side and expanded and hired until I reached 20,000 square feet of space and fourteen employees including nine technicians. ASCCA opened doors to educational opportunities and networking with other shop owners in a supportive community. I have studied human nature while observing the behavior of other shops in a group format. New ASCCA members should get involved in their board of directors and volunteer to boost the value of their Chapters. Make sure you attend as many meetings as possible and reach out to other shop owners."

September 2012

James Justus, James Automotive, San Diego, CA

James Justus of James Automotive in San Diego, California has been a four decade plus dedicated member of IGO / ASC / ASCCA since 1971. He gives back to his industry, this Association, his community & his Chapter. James currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee and has served on many committees with varying positions both within his local chapter and at the state level. Not only does James actively participate in the annual Legislative Day, Quarterly Team Weekends, attend annual conferences, he also regularly contacts his legislators on issues affecting the automotive industry, freely offers his experience-based advice to his colleagues and always offers an open ear to a colleague in need.

James has been very instrumental and active with SB750 which he was assigned to track and monitor by Government Affairs Committee Chair Craig Johnson.

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