The Benefits of Joining Councils and Boards
In her Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Award nomination, Jessica Carrino (director of marketing and business development) says the main goal of Ron Tinner’s, owner of Missouri-based Sparks Tire & Auto, is to keep growing the industry, and adapt to changing times. One of the ways he’s done that is by working with major councils and boards throughout the nation and his home state of Missouri.
Tinner has been involved with the national NAPA council for two years and the Car Care Professionals Network (CCPN) for four years. He has also served as chairman for the Gateway Business Development Group (BDG) in St. Louis, and says his passion for the industry has grown as he’s become more involved.
“It’s my desire and love for seeing this industry grow and become better rather than kind of getting buried in the wasteland so to speak,” Tinner says. “We’ve usually had a bad rap; some of us have worked very hard to change that. It’s near and dear to my heart.”
Here’s how Tinner made the most of the opportunities with his respective councils.
Improve the industry.
Tinner says he joined his respective councils to improve the industry as much as possible.
He says the NAPA council is instrumental in finding new opportunities for auto care centers to work with, or approving or disapproving new products like digital inspections and digital time clocks.
The CCPN operates on the education side, and looks toward the future, thinking about the training and knowledge that will be needed five to 10 years from now to keep up with changing technologies.
His foray into CCPN inspired him to pitch national guidelines for automotive safety inspections. He says it will be a long road to convince politicians, but resources are already in place to take hold of the issue.
He started a position as a chairman for the BDG group in St. Louis, which allowed him to participate in owners group meetings, and meet other like-minded business owners.
Train your technicians.
As a part of St. Louis’ BDG, Tinner put together a training program to keep technicians up to date on major issues in the industry, which gathers, on average, 40–45 participants every month. Some of the main topics covered in these programs are lab scope training, EVAP systems and waveform analysis.
For his own shop, Tinner says that he requires technicians to do 80 hours of training per year to work for him. And since he provides the training, he says it’s the job of his employees to show up.
“My personal belief is that more technicians want training than not,” Tinner says. “A lot of owners don’t look at it that way, but I think the techs really want it.”
Tinner has worked with NAPA for several years now, and says that the training programs created by the organization are some of the greatest benefits it’s offered since his time there. For shop owners involved with NAPA, or any other groups, Tinner says to find out what training programs are available in the area, starting with your local business development chapters.
Improve your own shop.
“Being a part of both organizations gave me an opportunity to gain knowledge from sources all over the country and focus on the things that make a small, local, independent shop more successful,” Tinner says.
Tinner also says it allowed him to focus on standard operating procedures and KPIs that get everyone in the shop on the same page. He says he’s been able to train his technicians with the best processes, and give them and his service advisors the best customer service skills possible.