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mitch

I am a fourth generation, forty-sixy year veteran of the automotive aftermarket: an ASE Certified Master Technician, Service Consultant and Approved Automotive Manager. I grew up in this business with a passion for all things mechanical, particularly those things relating to performance. That passion grew to include all aspects of management, leadership and personal development with a special focus on every day shop operations which resulted in an eight-volume series on automotive shop management published by Cengage Learning and Thomson Publishing. I have been a trade journalist writing to the aftermarket for almost thirty years, devoting my professional life to improving both the image and experience of everyone struggling to succeed in the service industry and I've worked diligently to improve communication and increase understanding between all segments of my industry. This site and everything on it is both an extension and a continuation of those efforts

Picture This…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I find myself in the interesting position of having two blogs – count ’em: two! While not being exactly sure what to do with either.

What I find most interesting about all this is the more I write, the more I want or need to write: which is interesting for someone who never kept a “journal” outside the columns I’ve written which chronicle the past twenty-five years of both my personal and professional lives.

Now, I find myself agonizing over where to place what I’ve written – whether it ‘belongs’ on the SchneidersAuto.Net site, or here on the CaptainCarFix.blogspot.com site. I know… Ridiculous! Especially, when no one is following either! But, “agonize” I will, nevertheless.

I will probably consolidate both into one and then proceed from there… In the meantime, here is something I’ve just posted on the Schneider’s site along with some interesting images of a time gone by. They have a lot to do with me, my Dad, our shop and another era… What they really have to do with are roots: roots that go deep and way back: back to the early 50’s and earlier… to four cent a gallon gasoline in a Jewish/Italian neighborhood in Bensonhurst.

***

I don’t fancy myself one of those individuals who likes to drown themselves in things nostalgic. It seems like there are far too many things to occupy one’s self with in the present to want to dwell in the past.

However, having said that, there are times when it does seem appropriate to take a few minutes to look back, if for no other reason than to see how far you’ve come. I’m not sure you can, or even should schedule moments like these; it seems to me they would certainly lose a little something if you did. But, every once in awhile something happens that triggers whatever portion of the brain given over to warehousing important memories like these and these multi-dimensional images explode like the cloth-covered, spring loaded, snakes in a circus act.

That’s what happened to me late last week while I was going through one of the cabinets at the shop trying to ‘make room,’ a very weak euphemism for cleaning things up and throwing things out, and came across a folder filled with a number of black & white photos of our Grand Opening, thirty years ago: February 1, 1980.

The rush of memories was overwhelming. So was the sense of loss brought on by the number of people who are no longer with us, not the least of whom is my father. But, as easy as it would have been for that sense of loss to get me down, it didn’t…

Why? Because, there is a lot of history packed into those thirty years: social, cultural, political and personal history. There are values deeply embedded in our company that reflect who my father was and what was important to him: the way he lived his life both personally and professionally.

I’d like to share some of these with you over the next few weeks and months as I reflect on where we are and where we are going. I think they are important not only from their ‘historical perspective,’ with regard to our company… because they tell the story of how got here. I think they are important culturally, so we don’t lose our way as we close the book on the first decade of the 21st Century.

THE WORLD BETWIXT AND BETWEEN…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I spend a lot of time in the uncomfortable world that exists between the real and the ideal… a world suspended somewhere between imagination and experience. Perhaps, too much time if I made the choice to honestly assess where I am and what I am doing at any given moment during the day or at night.

That isn’t to say I’m an escapist or that I’m not tethered tightly to the real world. I am definitely not an escapist. I’m not running away from reality. I’m just trying to bend it a little. And, yes, I am tethered to the real world: tightly tethered! But, that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about ways that world could be or should be, either. Frankly, I think we should all be doing a lot more of that kind of thinking.

I’m a realist: a pragmatist. I have to be. I work on automobiles and trucks: or, at least, I did for most of my adult life. Now, I run an automotive repair shop… Or, it runs me! I have employees. I have responsibilities. I have kids: grown kids, but still my kids, nevertheless.

I am a senior contributing editor with two deadlines a month. In other words, I have all the real world anyone could want… or, handle. Maybe that’s why I am continually drawn to the world of “Could Be” or “Should Be:” a world of theory, a world of supposition and conjecture.

So, you won’t hear me complaining a lot. Nor, would I expect anyone to listen if I did. This is where I choose to live.

It is a world of books and magazines and articles and lectures and seminars, written and presented by a host of individuals, most of whom I’m not sure I agree with all the time: hence, the discomfort.

Why do it if it makes you uncomfortable? Well, because… Because, it forces me to think and by thinking I improve the quality of my living: the quality of my life, despite the discomfort. In other words, most of the time it is time well spent and proves more than worth it!

And, the pain? Well, the pain comes from continually trying to move the needle, raise the bar, in my industry: the automotive service industry. The pain comes from continually trying to explain the inexplicable to a motoring public with little patience and less interest; from trying to improve the current reality of shop owners and technicians in a culture that does not appreciate the important role we play in ensuring personal mobility and freedom, and reinforces the fact that I am still here, still alive…

Living between the real and the ideal does something else for me, I guess. It just about guarantees that I will never have to wonder about my existence… The pain is a constant reminder I’m still here, and the other side of that pain; the satisfaction and the joy experienced when you are successful and someone who has read what you have written, listened to what you have said, thought about what you have suggested, joins you in the world betwixt and between because they realize as you do, it is the bridge between the past and the present: a bridge between the present and the future! And, you realize, you finally have a little company!