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From Lube Tech to Fixed Ops Expert

Are you in love with your process? 

Focusing on the process rather than the outcome is something that takes two very distinct and equally important things: discipline and focus. If you can live your life one moment at a time, then you will find that the journey can also be as rewarding as the outcome itself.

I had the opportunity to speak with Fixed Operations Expert and good friend of mine, Rob Rowse, about his journey from being a lube technician to becoming a fixed ops expert. Although the outcome sounds great, Rob breaks down the life changing lessons he learned along the way.

Creating Your Own Path

“If you work harder, you’re more committed.”

Rob’s First Job 

Starting at seven or eight years old, Rob grew up working at the gas station with his dad and grandfather. His daily duties were to get dropped off from school, and clean the floors at the gas station, where he was paid in clean rags.

Yes, his payment was literally clean rags for the following day of work. If he did a great job cleaning that is. 

“For me, it was the excitement. I couldn’t wait for school to be over because I got to hang out with my dad.”

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From Tire Shop to Firefighter

Shortly after his broom and gas station days, Rob literally grew up in the car business. At 15, Rob began working with his dad at a car and truck tire shop. He also worked as a mobile tech, working town and town in Canada, transporting car and truck tires.

“Yeah. Minimum wage back then was like seven bucks an hour, at 14, 15 years old. That’s a gold mine for a kid like that. Most of my buddies weren’t even working.”

Rob began to venture on his own. He started cutting grass in the summertime, at about 13 lawns at a time. The longer he cut grass in the blazing hot sun, he began to face it that it was just too hot to do this. He thought to himself, “I’m just going to take a year off.”

After he finished high school, he got accepted to firefighter college to become a firefighter. 

“That was what I wanted to be. You know, growing up this was always in the back of my brain, I wanted to be a firefighter. But the business was still at the forefront.”

Back to Business

Rob really missed working with his dad. The interest in working in the dealership business grew more and more. Once Rob started to come around the shop again, he started to observe more things about his dad from an interactive standpoint.

“I started watching the way he interacted with the customers because he was starting to venture from being the technician, into the management side of it.”

Rob wasn’t sure of what position he wanted. One thing he understood was that he wanted to learn and understand everything about the business. The paychecks motivated him as well.

Being able to follow his dad’s shadow gave Rob tons of guidance. In fact, it helped him become a manager.

Making Decisions 

“At the age of 21, I was making $80,000 a year”

Becoming a service manager came with bigger responsibilities for Rob. However, with bigger responsibilities came even bigger money. Rob was bringing in $80,000 a year at the age of 21.

“Instead of looking at it as an opportunity to take my career to the next level, I simply looked at it as a huge financial increase to what I was making before.” 

He lived the normal life of a 21 year old, which typically consists of spending money and partying every weekend. He began to lose focus. Rob described how quickly he was clouded by the money.

“I felt like I was more mature as an advisor than I was as a service manager, because of the money and the power.” 

The day Rob understood how much focus he had lost was the day of the audit with the Ford motor company. 

“We had a warranty audit through Ford motor company. And that audit really revealed how crappy of a job I was really doing.”

Learning Lessons

Rob was then fired as a service manager, and learned a very important lesson. He understood that he didn’t like the person in the mirror. He felt like he disappointed everyone, and needed that wake up call, and that is all it took.

The Fixed Ops Expert

After losing his job, Rob felt he received the wake up call he needed. He knew that he was going to have to reshape his career and get back on track. He decided to work for another dealership service department to sharpen his skills again. He had the opportunity to fail at a young age and learn valuable lessons, which transformed his career.

This eventually led him to becoming an expert in Fixed Ops. His new position transformed the departments he was a part of, which coincidentally is what brought him to Chris Collins inc. as one of our strongest coaches.

In Conclusion

Rob’s story really shows his resilience. Although it wasn’t in his plan, Rob went back to work for his dad to get himself back on track. This gave him much more guidance and understanding. It also taught him to be more punctual and more effective with managing his employees. He learned how to be a true leader. It’s all about believing in your process, creating your own path, and being coachable in the lessons that life throws at you.

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