Jones: Environment is Everything

March 9, 2023
Where we spend our time is relevant to the level of success we can achieve. The best organizations know this and build around their people.

If I were to tell you that I was a product of my environment, you may immediately think that I grew up in a challenging place that negatively impacted my behavior or colored my outlook. 

For most of us, that's our default way of judgment. We associate that phrase with a negative outcome and that doesn't always have to be the case. The reality is, we are all part of the environment we spend the most time in, for better or worse. And in this issue, we pay tribute to three auto repair shops that have made being a product of the environment both attractive and desirable. 

Every March, Ratchet+Wrench brings you its Best Workplaces awards. Within these pages, you'll meet the owners (and some of the staff members) of three top shops—Ashland Garage, Curt’s Auto and SimplyTRUE Automotive Group. Here’s why they were chosen: 

Ashland Garage, in Richmond, Virginia, owned by Nathan and Dana Roady, is our small shop winner. The team of six operates from a five-bay, 4,00-square-foot shop and what made Ashland Garage the best workplace for its category was its family-friendly working environments (yes, that includes pets and children) and having an intergenerational shop where techs from multiple generations collaborate and learn from one another.  

Curt’s Auto Repair, in Phoenix, Arizona, owned by Curt and Kathy Rock, is our medium-sized shop winner. Its team of 15 works from within an 11-bay, 4,500-square-foot shop, and what makes Curt’s Auto the best workplace for its category is its commitment to cultivating deep relationships—customers, vendors and team members—principle-centered leadership and advancement opportunities for its people. 

SimplyTRUE Automotive Group, with locations in Colorado, Georgia and Texas, is our large shop winner. Comprised of a team of 115, what makes SimplyTRUE the best workplace for its category was its family-first culture, collaborative leadership team and focus on creating internal leaders capable of being partners in growth and expansion. 

While there were many great shops from which to choose, I think you’ll enjoy learning about these three shops and how they became shops that could be honored within the pages of this issue. 

While we’re on the topic of environment, you'll find “Easing the Intimidation” an insightful read. One of the focal points editorially in 2023 was to provide more content in print aimed at improving service advisors. This is one such piece. We spoke to Ray Christensen, service advisor at J&L Automotive and the 2022 AAPEX Service Advisor of the Year. Christiansen says that each year more women are managing their or their family’s auto repair at his shop. He discusses the role of service advisors in helping female customers learn about their vehicles, understand the repair process and make confident buying decisions for themselves and their families.  

On that note, how is your workplace? I hope you’re building an environment that inspires your leaders to grow more, your team to care more and your customers to refer more. Being a product of our environment can be seen in a positive light, so let’s reframe that as we seek ways to improve the quality of lives of those we work with and serve. 

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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