My Experience in the Auto Bodywork Business
31 years ago I had a car for sale and a gentleman, Bill Walker, came to look at it. After chatting for a while he asked me if I’d ever considered working in this industry. I was a mechanic by trade then, so I told him I wasn’t that familiar with bodywork. He said he could train me. We worked out a salary, he bought my car and I went to work for him on April 1st, 1984. I never looked back.
From 1984 to 1991 I worked for Bill Walker, who was known in the industry for leasing body shops from dealerships. In 1991 I branched out on my own, with his blessing. Since then I have owned and operated dozens of award-winning body shops in Southern California, including Casa de Cadillac, Foreman Honda, Mission Hills Oldsmobile, South Bay Ford and Courtesy Chevrolet, to name a few. Then in 2006, I acquired 1st Collision Center in Simi Valley.
This is a very gratifying job. People come in and they’re very emotional because their car is damaged and they know it’s going to cost them a lot of money or possibly their insurance premiums, and they’re concerned about their deductible. The best part for me is getting the cars fixed in a timely manner, to pre-accident condition, and getting them down the road. Having worked as a mechanic before, I have a true “bumper to bumper” understanding of every car that comes into my shop. Our customers are generally very happy.
After 31 years, I’m proud to say I have built a following of lifelong patrons who trust my expertise, quality results and timely turnaround. That’s the most satisfying part of this job.
When I’m not working, I like to spend my time with family and I’m also active in my Catholic Church. I have 5 children and 2 grandchildren, and they’re all involved in anything from soccer to Irish dance, baseball, and film. I’m also into drag racing, I have a car that I drag race. My wife and I own a Harley and we like to go out on long weekend rides together.