The 2017 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Glenn Williamson
Master of Improvement
Manager / Thomas Tire & Automotive / Asheboro, N.C.
At every shop Glenn Williamson steps in, he has the ability to turn it around. At Thomas Tire & Automotive’s highest-volume location, that meant increasing sales by almost $1 million per year. In 2012, when he was asked to manage a lower-performing store, that meant growing sales, staff skills and culture. And in 2014, when he was asked to manage the flagship location, which had seen a decline in sales, that meant increasing net profit by almost 300 percent.
“Glenn, no matter where he has been placed and or what he has done, he has always excelled and exceeded in every position that he’s ever held for us,” says Sally Thomas, president and co-owner of Thomas Tire & Automotive, which operates eight locations in North Carolina, and Williamson’s nominator for the Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Award.
And Thomas isn’t exaggerating; Williamson, who now manages the MSO’s Asheboro location, has been with Thomas Tire and Automotive since he was 15 years old. He worked his way through the ranks, doing everything from basic work such as tire repair to becoming a general technician and eventually merging over to managerial roles, such as service manager, assistant manager and now manager.
It’s that background that has been key in turning those shops around, as Williamson has the ability to put himself in the shoes of any of his employees and answer the necessary questions. But while his background comes in handy, there are two things that he instills in his team every single day: education and motivation.
Seen as a mentor by his fellow employees and Thomas, Williamson has always believed that education is the best way to not only do the job right the first time, but also to provide the best customer service he can.
“You can’t do that without having been educated and constantly being educated because (the industry) changes so rapidly,” he says.
Williamson, an ASE-certified master tech and ASE-certified parts tech, acquired a two-year automotive degree and from that point on, has made a conscious effort to always be up to date with the latest in the industry.
But for Williamson, the job is about more than just fixing a car properly, it’s about helping a customer out in time of need. Williamson thinks back to his early years when a large portion of his clientele were older widows. He remembers them calling him in distress about the state of their vehicles. He says the best feeling was being able to take care of them. And that appreciation shows come Christmastime, when he was showered with cookies and cakes from those customers.
“Most people, when they have automotive repair, it’s a painful situation. Most people don’t enjoy taking their car to be worked on,” he says. “If we can make it a great experience or make it as painless as possible, then I think it makes a big difference in coming back to us again and again and again.”
Caring for his customers and team can’t be done without his daily motivation, which is another cornerstone of his management philosophy. As with any industry, Williamson understands there are days that are tough, so if he feels that his crew isn’t on top of its game, he encourages them to look at a poster in the shop that says, “A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can’t go anywhere until you change it.”
“With a good attitude and smile, it can go a long way,” he says.
Williamson is known for his stellar attitude and excitement, despite having been in the industry for decades now. It’s something that stems back to his early childhood love for cars and the industry. He still relates to the feeling of excitement he sees when a customer comes in with his truck to get a lift kit installed and a nice set of wheels put on.
“Just seeing that young man’s face light up … I remember those days,” he says. “I just love cars.”
That love that has stayed with him to this day and it’s something he tries to translate every day to his team.
“He’s got a great attitude. A tremendous work ethic,” Thomas says. “The young guys really, really look up to him. He is an excellent mentor.”