Jones: A Lesson from the Maverick

Nov. 2, 2022

What legendary NFL owner Al Davis can teach shop owners about workplace diversity.


Legendary Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis was ahead of his time. While the rest of the National Football League was under scrutiny for the lack of interviewing and hiring of minority head coaching candidates in the ‘90s, he had already won a pair of Super Bowls (XV and XVIII) with a Latino head coach—Tom Flores—and was the first to hire the league's first black head coach in Art Shell well before league hiring practices were placed under a microscope.

Throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, Davis continued to hire minorities and women. He hired Amy Task in 1997 who would serve as the NFLs first female CEO, rehired Art Shell for a brief stint in 2006, and after his death in 2011, his son, Mark, hired Sandra Douglas Morgan the league's first black female team president. And who could forget Carl Nassib, the first openly gay NFL player. He came out as a member of the Raiders.

Long before there was the Rooney Rule (2003), the Davis family searched for the best person for the job, whether that looked conventional or not. It was never about optics, but about getting back to Raiders football and honoring the mantra—“Just Win, Baby!” It's something to think about. If we want to be the best, we must hire the best, even if the candidates don’t look like us, speak the same first language, or have the same gender or sexual orientation. It’s about coming together to achieve a common goal—serving the community—by filling the roster with people who reflect our surroundings.

In this issue, we examine diversity and inclusion within the auto care industry. While the industry continues to make strides in representation, there's always room to grow. Shop owners have an opportunity to be trailblazers in the mold of Davis to usher in the future of our industry in building diverse shop cultures. Ratchet+Wrench spoke to three industry professionals—Fernando Miranda, Melanie Schambach, and Eli Allison. Each shares a first-person perspective of their experience within the auto care industry. Some of the testimonials are flattering while others will challenge us to examine ourselves thoroughly. The objective was to provide a SWOT analysis of sorts on how the auto care industry can become the most welcoming industry in America. I hope their stories stir something within you, encourage dialogue, and inspire you to build a business that takes on the image of the community it serves. Let’s continue to create a more welcoming industry for all, together.

About the Author

Chris Jones | Editor

Chris Jones is the editor of Ratchet+Wrench magazine and host of its companion podcast, Ratchet+Wrench Radio, a weekly show featuring automotive professionals across the auto care landscape.

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