The 2020 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Phil Christensen
“I wouldn’t even want to think about it [running the business] without him,” Bryan Gossel, owner of BG Automotive in Colorado, says of his right-hand man, Phil Christensen, winner of the 2020 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards in the Manager category.
If BG Automotive sounds familiar, it’s because the three-location business took home Ratchet+Wrench’s inaugural Best Workplaces award in the over 25 employees category. Two awards in one year might seem like overkill, but when you’re good, you’re good—and BG Automotive is good. And so is Christensen—he received more peer nominations than anyone else in any category.
Although Christensen is quick to throw credit right back to his team for his award, his contributions have no doubt been integral to the growth of BG. When Christensen joined BG in 2007, it was a one-location, two-bay shop with one Master Tech and Gossel. Today, there are three locations with over 30 bays and 30 employees. Two of those locations were added in the same year (2019), a huge undertaking that Christensen made possible. This rapid growth has grown sales from $3.2 million to $5.5 million with no signs of slowing down for the BG team. The goal for 2025 is to have five locations while maintaining an enviable culture—including weekly breakfasts made by the leadership team (including Christensen), camping trips and surprise dinners (LISTEN: ratchetandwrench.com/allstarmanager).
In order to grow, the right people need to be in place, which Gossel and Christensen both acknowledge. Each one has his own responsibilities: Christensen handles day-to-day operations, touching base with all of the location team leaders, reviewing processes and initial interviews. He recently took over payroll and tracking KPIs, which allows Gossel to look into growth opportunities. When it comes to large decisions, they collaborate by bouncing ideas off each other and balancing one another out, which is one of the main reasons Gossel hired Christensen, who he says is not afraid to make the “unpopular decision” that may be necessary.
Gossel jokes that when he met Christensen at a Discount Tire, it was “love at first sight,” but the two clearly have an unbreakable bond that transfers to strong leadership of a growing company.
“I love him; he’s my family,” Gossel says.