The 2018 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards: Judi Haglin
Judi Haglin can pinpoint the exact moment, roughly 12 years ago, that she was truly inspired to turn things around at her business. It was one of her and her husband Dana’s first experiences with a 20 Group, and she was talking with the most recent Top Shop Award winner from the Automotive Training Institute’s Top 12 “Best of the Best” list.
“I looked at his numbers, and went, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re never gonna get there,’” Haglin says.
In fact, she says Dana thought the numbers couldn’t be true. But anyone familiar with Haglin knows she always has a plan of attack:
”That’s when I said, ‘If he can do it, we can do it.’”
It marked a major pivot point for Haglin, a co-owner at Boulder, Colo.-based Haglin Automotive. Not only did she take in the information from the 20 Group, she developed a plan to revamp parts and labor margins and improve effective labor rate and efficiency. Since that point, implementation, and simply getting things done, has been the theme of Haglin’s success as an owner, consultant and ambassador for the industry.
“I've never met a stronger leader in her business, the industry or the community,” Chris Chesney, the senior director for customer training at CARQUEST, said in his nomination. "Judi says it and it becomes reality.”
In just two years after that pivotal meeting, her effective labor rate increased from $66.55 to $91.31. In the last 10 years, with a tight focus on building a great staff to hit those vital KPIs, the Haglins have increased annual revenue at their shop from $800,000 to $1.8 million in 2017. Additionally, Haglin Automotive has been on ATI’s Top 12 shop list four out of the past six years.
“As Judi’s business partner, I can’t say enough about her business knowledge and efforts in making Haglin Automotive successful,” Dana wrote in his nomination.
Haglin has had an emphasis on implementation not only in her own shop, but also in the dizzying array of other 20 Groups and industry organizations of which she’s now a part. From the 15 nominations Haglin received for the 2018 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Awards, the majority mentioned her notable impact as a teacher and mentor, and her willingness to help other shop owners get to that next level.
In an effort to pass her knowledge on to other women throughout the industry, she and owner Shelle Bennett of Mike’s KARS Inc. started the 20 Group Leading Ladies in the spring of 2012.
As Haglin says, implementation is one of the toughest things to do when running a business. So at the group’s bi-annual meetings, she helps each of her 20 Group members outline what they will be working on in the next six months—whether it’s acquisition marketing, retention marketing or leadership—and put together a concrete plan on how they’ll achieve it. As a result of this implementation, the 20 Group posts the best gross profit two of the last three years out of all of ATI’s 20 Groups.
“You don’t have the answers? She will help you find them or find the person that can help you find them,” Bennett said in her nomination. “She will hold you to a higher standard and push you to continue to improve and not settle.”
Her fondness for KPIs and numbers was tested as she joined the ASA Colorado board in April 2016, with a special emphasis on bringing new energy to the organization, and planning out a specific budget on how to improve results from the group’s yearly summit. According to Chesney, under her leadership, the ASA summit has gone from netting $5,000-$10,000 each year, to netting over $60,000, helping to stabilize the Colorado ASA’s finances.
Aside from running her business, participating in ASA and fronting Leading Ladies, Haglin continues to give back in what remains of her free time. She participates in automotive panels at her local high school, and served on the Town of Erie board of trustees for eight years as the town dealt with tumultuous growth issues. She and Dana also work with Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit where volunteer pilots and plane owners assist in transporting animals across the country to their new owners.
When asked how she’s able to cram everything into her schedule, she says that, aside from losing a significant amount of sleep, it’s really quite simple.
“You find the time to do the things you enjoy,” Haglin says. “With ASA, with the Leading Ladies group or working on the business, I enjoy all of those things. My passion in life is really mentoring, training and coaching.”