2019 All-Star Executive: Dwayne Myers
“My job is about people, and it’s about my team and basically encouraging, mentoring our team, and showing a better way to get things done.”
Dwayne Myers, the managing partner at Dynamic Automotive in west Maryland, has been in the auto industry for 30 years, where he started off as a technician and grew into a co-owner of the company, helping grow the location from one to almost five, which generate $5 million in annual revenue and a monthly car count of 1,300 with 42 employees. Throughout his career, he has been a multi-winner of Frederick’s News-Post “Best of Best” awards, Auto Care Association “Head of the Class” winner, and nominated “apprenticeship ambassador” for Maryland by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. And throughout his time, he has dedicated his time and his heart to growing the future of the automotive repair industry.
The big problem Myers faced, like other auto repair shop owners around the country, was getting enough labor, especially entry-level help. Myers says a generation has been lost, as most millennials and Gen Zers head off to colleges and universities.
From this realization, Myers and his team decided to start their own apprenticeship program, giving a career path for millennials. What really got the ball rolling was Maryland’s secretary of labor approaching Myers to focus on youth apprenticeship.
Together, Myers and Maryland’s Department of Labor led the way in creating two programs: the youth program, a work study for high school students, and a registered, college-based program. The youth program allows high school students to get their feet wet and see if the auto repair industry is a fit for them. The registered program works with two colleges in the state, allowing college students to go to school and work full time.
“When you look at the entire picture, it’s designed to develop careers and to get the best out of [the students] through education and training and always constantly helping to develop them to the next level,” says Myers.
Word started to get around about the program. That’s when Myers decided to invite 72 Career and Technology Center (CTC) automotive program students to their Urbana store to not only talk about tech jobs, but the industry itself.
To Myers’ surprise, applications started pouring in—from three to four applicants per year to six the week of the class. The program now gets at least 200 applicants per year. It was the first company in Maryland that had a youth program that could transfer into a registered program, and it has since sparked the development of other programs around the nation.
And Myers constantly promotes the program through podcasts, blogs, and panels—even the state is helping him in his efforts by promoting it on its homepage.
“The educational system at the high school and state level, as well as the Maryland Department of Labor, have benefited from his passion, energy, and enthusiasm for [the automotive] industry and helping individuals enter into it,” Chris MacLarion, Maryland’s Department of Labor director of apprenticeship and training, says when asked about Myers’ accomplishments.
What did Myers do to attract students to the program? Offer free education. And on top of that, the students are paid an hourly wage. Myers pays for their education—as long as the student commits to the program for a full year—and goes through a program to earn his money back.
“When you invest in [the students], good people stay with you,” he says.
And by investing in his youth program students, Myers and his team have been able to attain almost a 100 percent success rate in keeping these apprentices, most of whom go on to work at Dynamic. This program helped solve Myers’s problem to get younger generation’s labor, leading to grow Dynamic from one to four locations.
“We are helping to develop leaders,” said Myers. “If we grow them, in turn we grow Dynamic.”