The 2020 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Dave Denmon
April 5, 2020 marks Dave Denmon’s 40th year in the industry. As the owner of Dave’s Car Care in Glendale, Ariz., he’s built a $2-million-per-year business with a consistent 25 percent net profit. He’s been awarded a slew of awards over the years, too; 2015’s Better Business Bureau International Torch Award for Ethics and AAA Arizona’s Top Shop award for four consecutive years, to name a few. And the shop’s reviews speak for themselves: 636 reviews and a 4.7-star rating.
He’s achieved all of this by constantly giving back.
Over the past four years, Denmon spearheaded an initiative to take his technicians and others in the Phoenix area to a whole new level—A-level, that is. His goal? Making entry-level techs A-level in just 24 months, while instilling them with the much-needed skills in everything advanced vehicle technology. To do so, he’s hired automotive trainer Eric Ziegler every quarter since 2018 to deliver advanced diagnostics training, blending it with hands-on training right in his shop.
“He’s taking on a new era of training, bringing facilitators into the facility to work with technicians directly,” Jimmy Alauria, owner of 3A Automotive & Diesel, who nominated Denmon for this award, says.
And instead of keeping training to just his shop, he opened it up to other ASA members to send their staff to, and he didn't do it to make money. In fact, the price per person for all of the training was so affordable—less than $300—that many shops were able to send their entire crew and even paid the staff for attending, according to Alauria.
Denmon gives back in other ways, as well. 15 years ago, Denmon set out to give back to his community. After seeing the poor quality of food at a local homeless shelter in Sunnyslope, Ariz., Denmon decided to host a monthly cookout for them. Since then, Denmon has made a whole nonprofit out of it. The organization, Sunnyslope Ministers of Hope, now operates out of a local church’s kitchen to provide home-cooked meals, support, and fellowship to the community’s homeless. Denmon says he devotes at least 10-15 hours per week to nonprofit causes, all on top of managing his business. During Christmas and Easter, he cooks a holiday feast for more than 100 people. In the middle of Phoenix’s 100-degree summers, he drives around at night handing out frozen water bottles to the homeless so they stay cool. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he could be found delivering hundreds of pizzas, hamburgers, and McDonald’s Egg McMuffins to those on the street without food or shelter.
“Not everyone gets to have as much fun as I do,” Denmon says. “I’m healthy, getting to do what I love every day—why stop now?”