Tracy Renee, owner of Gene's Auto Repair in Vallejo, Calif., was honored as the 2009 Auto Service Expert of the year at the 25th IWD Annual Membership Meeting, held May 13-17 in Tucson, Ariz. Tracy received a plaque and a leather jacket for outstanding performance with the Auto Service Expert marketing programs.
(From left) Tracy Pearson of Bert Williams and Son's, Tracy Renee of Gene's Auto Repair and Herb Williams of Bert Williams and Son's.
The theme of this year's meeting was "Leading in Challenging Times." Renee was cited was an example of someone who leads in challenging times.
Tracy’s supplier is Bert Williams and Sons with locations in Napa and Vallejo, Calif. “We look for added value from our parts sources, such as a better warranty and training, Tracy said. "We expect them to gives us the correct part and we expect it to be high quality. All of which Bert Williams and Sons provides.”
Tracy was lauded for increasing her car count and revenues every year since opening Gene's 14 years ago. Gene's operates out of a 13,200-square-foot facility on a large lot that can accommodate 40-plus cars and a shop with seven bays. Gene's employs five people an office manager, three technicians, and a part-time shop helper.
The shop performs every type of mechanical repair except tires, alignments, and engine or transmission rebuilds. As a Gold Shield smog station, 25 percent of the shop's workload is performing smog inspections and related repairs.
Tracy cites her involvement in professional trade associations as one key to her continued success.
She's a member of at least six, including the Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA), the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the American Business Women's Association (ABWA), and the California Service Stations and Automotive Repair Association (CASSARA).
Tracy said she feels participation in these associations is invaluable and that more independent shops should get involved in these groups. “We’ll never have all the answers and sharing information can only make us stronger," she said.
Using the newest tools and systems in the day-to-day operations of her shop is another factor for the consistently good numbers at Gene's. Gene's has always tried to take advantage of the best diagnostics data, like Identifix and Alldata, she said. Gene's also uses QuickTrac to monitor productivity and CustomerLink, AutonetTV and Demandforce to communicate directly with customers. “These tools make our lives easier and provide our customers with the type of service they've grown to expect from us," she said.