Personal Service from Public Strength
Andrew Marinelli didn’t lift a wrench as a young man. He took piano lessons.
“I knew how to change my own oil, and that was it,” he says.
Marinelli earned his Bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Central Florida—he played clarinet—but it wasn’t until he walked into a shop afterward that everything changed.
“I remember taking my car in for service and having this feeling come over me,” he says, “and that I would love to learn how to do this kind of stuff.”
‘This kind of stuff” turned out all right; He began his vocation in shop life at Seminole Community College, worked at a national chain and a few independents, and soon set his sights on opening Marinelli Auto Service along with his wife, Bethany, in 2015.
He joined the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) in 2012 and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m on the network every day,” he says, “and modern vehicles are very complex. There’s always going to be another question and opportunity to learn.
“That knowledge base aspect of iATN—this tremendous body of information—is a huge asset.”
For the Marinellis, the practical, relationship side of the business is really what interests them the most.
“It’s our privilege to do what we do—to serve people,” he says.
Marinelli relies on iATN to help him continue that service. He knows he can help people get to work, take care of their kids, take the family on adventures, and he can do it all through honesty and top-quality service. It’s what keeps the doors open at Marinelli Auto Service.
The answers, however, don’t always come easy. He recalls the first head gasket job that appeared in his shop.
“What is the best way to approach this?” he thought.
He logged onto the iATN network and found exactly what he was looking for.
“I read a post by Brooks Elliot, saying if you use a certain grit of sandpaper and WD-40, you can lay down a nice surface finish. That’s a helpful tip,” he says.
Later (after nailing that gasket job), he broadened his focus and found a post by another user about how to handle quotes with customers: “Once you quote a price, that’s the price,” Marinelli recalls.
“If it ends up being more expensive than you thought, that’s something you’re going to learn from even if you lose money. You’ll build confidence with the customers.”
Marinelli says you never know where your life will take you, and in his case, what will come through the shop door. If something is pushing the boundaries of his experience, he knows where to look.
“I’ve found if I post and have my facts straight and ask specific questions, I will get specific answers from iATN members,” he says.
Multi-Level Value & Depth: Resources for Mechanical, Management & OEM Questions
Marinelli is continually surprised at the knowledge level and breadth of the network.
“For someone like me who grows up not turning wrenches, who got his BA, went back to school, gained trade experience, opened a shop, and have been doing it for over 10 years...for someone like me to be able to be successful speaks volumes about this resource,” he says.
“I’m a confident technician,” Marinelli adds, “and I have a lot of experience on many different products and vehicles, but being able to read all this information just for the price of the membership is incredible. It doesn’t cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when you have years and years and thousands of posts and really smart people on iATN, you could work next to them every day and learn something new.”
Marinelli admits that all the knowledge in the world, however, won’t help you if you can’t get customers in the door, asses their vehicles, and make the most informed decisions about the repair. And then execute it.
“iATN has been an invaluable asset to me, and I really do mean that,” he says. “If a customer asks something I don’t know, how should I respond? If I run into an unusual scenario during a repair, what’s the next step? I can often find the answer on iATN without even asking the question.”
He cites the old adage, “you don’t know what you don’t know” and describes iATN as an inexpensive resource that offers access to smart, highly educated individuals who post what they’ve learned and observed while offering network members a chance to read and interact with them.
“The amount of knowledge and learning potential is tremendous in light of how little it costs,” he says.
Marinelli still enjoys music even if he doesn’t pursue it as ardently as he once did. In the pit or on the shop floor, it’s easy to get lost as one individual among thousands of voices and notes, but iATN is more than a cacophony of owners, operators, and technicians—it’s a symphony of assets.
If you haven’t heard it lately, maybe it’s time to give it a listen.