James Heyer (Marines)
How has your military experience influenced your career in the automotive industry?
My military experience taught me discipline, respect and the ability to problem solve on the fly to ensure mission accomplishment.
With the discipline aspect, I ensure that I complete the automotive repair process the same way with every customer. This gives your clients the knowledge of what to expect from your establishment every time they contact you over the phone and during the actual appointments. Providing disciplined consistency with your client helps build their loyalty with your business. Showing your fellow men and women you are working with a disciplined work ethic with a reinforced moral high ground builds a team together. Nobody can do this alone and a disciplined team can accomplish any goals or tasks together with an enjoyment at their workplace.
Respecting your clients during a time of frustration and helping relate to their current automotive needs shows compassion in an industry they sometimes have a hard time finding it in. Respect builds trust and trust builds loyalty. The more respect your clients feel from you, the more respect and trust they will give you. Respecting your fellow teammates is one of the greatest tools you can have in any workplace. Same concept as with clients but these individuals that share a bonded respect at a positive workplace can build a platform so that everybody coming in not just sees, but also feels the energy and they want to continue to return to you for work or automotive repair needs.
The automotive repair industry is a fast-paced, demanding industry and being able to solve not only your customers’ problems, but your teammates’ problems prior to them becoming stressful. This shows everyone your professionalism and capability to perform your duties at or beyond the expectations of the individuals involved.
All three of these concepts where embedded in myself during Marine Corps boot camp and as well thought-out military service. Finally, the one truly looking inward – know oneself and seek self-improvement every day and night; never stop learning and growing as an individual.
What are some of the ways you have seen the industry support veterans?
The automotive repair industry supports all veterans in the hiring process and growth within the industry. They help provide guidance and training to ensure they successful at any position they would like to follow. Within the dealership environment I was able to become master certified in, Service advisor, service manager, and prior to opening my own facilities I was starting to become parts and warrantied admin certified all at no cost to me.
Give one piece of advice for veterans entering the industry.
If you’re a veteran entering the automotive repair industry, just remember, stick to your training. Attention to detail, punctuality, respect and adapt and overcome to every situation. You will be supported, respected and wanted in every position the industry has to offer. It’s hard work but can be very rewarding and pay off financially once you have mastered your skill set.