The month after I joined the Top Shop 360 was the best month in our 39-year history. Sales are up over 47% with a net profit above 20%, and our customers are happier than ever."
Jon Spohn – Spohn's Action Auto Service, Minneapolis, MN
Elite Top Shop 360
Coaching, Training and Resources from the Industry’s Top Shop Owners
Why do we call it Top Shop 360? Because we completely surround you and your shop with coaching and training from the industry’s most successful shop owners, a Business Development Master Plan that outlines your goals and every step you’ll be taking to reach them, endless sales, marketing and shop management resources, and everything your business could need.
Part of our mission at Elite is to elevate how our great industry is perceived, and we know one of the best ways of achieving this objective is to empower shop owners with the leadership skills to not only ensure your success in business, but enable you to have a positive impact on your employees, your customers and your community.
About Top Shop 360
When getting help with your business, we feel one of the most important questions you should ask yourself is: What are the qualifications of the person delivering the coaching and training? This is why we're so pleased to say that when you join Top Shop 360, not only do you get to work 1-on-1 with one of the top shop owners in the country, who has been in your shoes, experienced the challenges you are facing, and prevailed to achieve remarkable success, but you'll also be adding the entire Elite family of extraordinary shop owners to your team. Your Client Resource Center is filled with webinar recordings, video tips, audio training and countless other resources presented by these industry superstars, and each quarter a new Elite Business Development Coach presents an all-new webinar that will help you become the leader your shop needs.
When you read through our coach bios below you'll see that all of our coaches have already been extremely successful in the business world as shop owners, so are working with Elite for one reason and one reason alone: to give back to the industry that they love so much, and to put you in position where if you wish, you’re one day able to do the same.
We’re also proud to say that Top Shop 360 is a comprehensive, client specific solution, as all coaching is tailored precisely to what you’d like to accomplish with your business.
So if you’re interested in…
Recruiting qualified technicians and service advisors
Filling up your service bays with your ideal customers
Putting proven systems in place so your shop runs itself, and you have more time with your family
Stepping back from the day-to-day operations so you can truly focus on working ON your business rather than IN your business
Improving your profitability and mastering your shop’s numbers
Becoming a leader who has a positive impact on every life you touch
Or having a successful shop owner by your side to bounce ideas off of, hold you accountable, and ensure you reach your goals…
We can’t wait to help you.
Here's a list of some of the things we'll help you and your shop with when you join Top Shop 360:
With over 36 years of shop owner experience, Joe has accomplished what most others could only dream of. In addition to being a multi-location owner/operator of one of America’s most successful auto repair shops, he is a graduate of the Automotive Management Institute, an ASE Master Tech, and he is a recipient of the coveted CARQUEST Excellence Award and the Putnam County NY Entrepreneurial Award. He has also served on the Car Care Council, the Tech Net Advisory Council and the CARQUEST Advisory Council, he participated in the development of the ASE Engine Performance Certification test, and he is a cofounder of AutoShopOwner.com. Not only is Joe a regular contributor to national industry publications and a monthly columnist for Ratchet & Wrench magazine, but Shop Owner magazine dedicated an entire article to his shop and his success.
In addition to all that he does for our industry, Joe and Osceola Garage are heavily involved in the local community, as Joe supports all local youth sports, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and donates to several charities (Toys for Tots, Heart Association, The HOPE Foundation, Women's Resource Center, Friends of Karen, Local Veterans and local Senior Centers, to name a few). Osceola Garage was founded on the principle that the shop will always do what is in the best interest of their customers, employees and the community, so he fit into Elite's culture perfectly from day one, and we are proud to call him a member of the Elite family. We are also pleased to say Joe presents many AMI accredited courses for us, and he plays a leading role in the ongoing development of our services. As one of our Business Development Coaches, he is constantly working with our other coaches for one simple reason: To better ensure the success of each and every Elite client. As an independent contractor, Joe and his wonderful family live in beautiful Patterson, New York.
Jim Piraino Executive Council Member - Elite Coaching Program
For 33 years Jim Piraino was the owner of Camarillo Car Care, a 13-bay facility that was undoubtedly one of the top shops in America. Throughout his career as a shop owner, Jim served as both the president and a board member of the ASC-CA’s Ventura County Chapter, was a member of the ASA’s President’s Club, and was even voted National NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year.
One of the reasons Camarillo Car Care was so successful was that the shop operated under the principle that their customers were the reason they existed, and Jim was a pillar of his community that helped his customers in countless ways. His shop regularly donated to the Boys and Girls Club, sponsored events for the American Red Cross, lead fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, donated to Handicapped Children’s Services of America, served as a training facility for local police K-9 teams, and supported the YMCA and local youth sports teams. As if that wasn’t enough, Jim himself was a member of the Camarillo and US Chamber of Commerce, and was president of the Camarillo Optimists Club (achieving Honor Club Status), which recognizes local students for academic achievement and community involvement.
Jim’s commitment to his customers and his community did not go unnoticed, as Camarillo Car Care was an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Facility, a NAPA Autocare Center, was a winner of the Chamber of Commerce’s Retailer of the Year Award, and for 12 straight years received the award for the best auto repair shop in Ventura from the Ventura County Star.
Jim served as an Elite coach from 1991-2017, and was able to help countless shop owners take their businesses to amazing levels of success. Jim has since moved on to become an Executive Council Member for Elite, and his responsibilities are to provide Elite’s Executive Staff with his professional insights and recommendations on the ongoing development of our services, our Quality Assurance Programs, our staff and client training curriculums, and the creation of new services to better serve the growing needs of our industry.
There is no doubt about it; Jim Piraino truly is an industry superstar! Born and raised in New York, he spent most of his life in Southern California. Today, as an independent contractor he and his wife Lisa live in Loveland, Colorado where he is close by his two daughters and four wonderful grandchildren!
After starting his work in the industry at age 15, Kevin had opened his own shop by the time he was 22! His shop, Autotire Car Care Center, was an immediate success, and Kevin was able to open up 4 locations over the next 15 years. One of the reasons Kevin was so successful as a shop owner was because he understood the importance of his people and his processes. He believed that he couldn't provide great external customer service without first providing great internal customer service (to his employees), and that hiring the right people, giving them the tools, systems and procedures that they needed, and then getting out of their way would be a huge key to his success. This business philosophy certainly paid off, as Kevin's shop was featured in Modern Tire Dealer, and received an award for being the best shop in Indianapolis (voted on by consumers).
Kevin received ASE certification, as well as an ABA degree in Business Administration while he was running his shops. He served on the Kelly Springfield Dealer Council, the Michelin Dealer Council, and chaired the advisory board that designed the "Tech Prep" curriculum for local high schools. He has 43 years of industry experience, and was a highly profitable multiple location owner-operator for over 30 years until he finally sold his company so he could focus on another one of his passions: Helping other shop owners build more profitable businesses.
Before working with Elite as an independent contractor, Kevin started his own small consulting company where he helped auto repair shop owners improve their operational processes, customer service, and net profit (among other things). He is truly committed to the betterment of the industry, and was recently published in Ratchet & Wrench. Kevin is also committed to his continuing education (as is evident through his completion of courses on financial management, time management, customer service, sales and marketing) and to helping his community through his work spreading breast cancer awareness. There's no question that Kevin is an industry leader, and we are honored to call him one of our Elite Business Development Coaches. Kevin is an avid golfer, and lives with his wonderful wife in Bonita Springs, FL.
Jim Butitta grew up in his family automotive business, a radiator shop and W.D distributor for more than a dozen OEM and aftermarket manufacturers. Over the years his entrepreneurial spirit drove him to add full service automotive repair, and he soon grew the business to six locations that included 56 automotive service bays, a full service radiator shop, a gas tank rebuilding facility and a parts distribution system. Jim now has over 44 years of industry experience, and attributes much of his success to his business philosophy, taught to him by his father, which includes honesty, integrity, respect, great customer service, and running the cleanest, best maintained shops in the country.
Jim has a strong background in financial analysis, budgeting and putting systems in place to insure financial stability, and has shared his expertise with several multi-shop owners to help them become more successful in both their business and personal lives. He has also given back to the industry by authoring articles for a national trade magazine, serving on regional and national boards for over 30 years, serving as President of local ASA group, and serving as National President and Chairman of the National Automotive Radiator Service Association. In addition to working with Elite as an independent contractor, Jim gives back to his community by contributing his time and talents to “not for profit" organizations, as he was a past president of a local food bank, and served on finance and building committees for a domestic violence shelter for women and children.
Jim sold his business after 33 years so he could enjoy some of the fruits of his hard work, and spend more time with his wife, Jody, three sons and seven grandchildren. Jim loves to golf, is an instrument-rated pilot, and is a lifelong Harley Davidson rider.
Randy Pickering Coach
Not only has Randy Pickering run one of the top shops in the country, Pickering's Auto Service, since 1976, but he’s a 4th generation shop owner whose family has been serving their communities for over 100 years! Today he has 2 locations that service more than 500 vehicles per month!
Randy is a past ASA National Mechanical Division Director and board member, a past president and board member of the ASA of Colorado, a past board member of the Mountain States Tire Dealers Association, and served on the Automotive Management Institute's Board of Trustees. Today Randy's shops are affiliated with the AAA as AAR’s (he served on the Colorado AAR Advisory Council), are NAPA AutoCare Centers, and he is a 30+ year member of the Better Business Bureau. When asked about his shops, Randy replied, “We’re not in the business of fixing cars, but more in the business of building relationships through honesty and integrity, quality work and superior service”. With an outlook like this, it’s no wonder that his shops have been so successful, that Pickering's Auto Service won the Community Sustainability Award for the city of Lakewood, and that Shop Owner Magazine chose to feature Pickering's Auto Service in their Jan/Feb 2016 issue. As an independent contractor with Elite, Randy lives in Colorado with his wife, Lynette, and his three children, Trent, Brandon, and Taylor, who all play integral roles in running Pickering’s Auto Service.
Mike Kost began his career as a technician (ASE Master
Certified), but soon realized his dream of becoming a shop owner when he
purchased his first Precision Tune store. Mike was able to utilize the skillset
he picked up from business college to both start up new shops from scratch and
make failing shops profitable, and within 5 years of purchasing his first store
he found himself running 4 profitable locations. As a franchisee Mike has been
awarded Precision Tune’s Top 10 Presidential Award, received an award for
creative marketing, and for 15 straight years has received an award for
achieving the highest sales volume in his area.
For over 20 years Mike has
continued his education by attending numerous industry sales, management and
customer service courses, and the knowledge he’s obtained has helped him create
systems and processes that have enabled him to run multiple successful shops
from over 300 miles away as an absentee owner. In the last 13 years he’s spent
as an absentee owner, Mike has enjoyed helping other shop owners understand the
importance of customer service and create proven processes to become more
successful, so needless to say, we couldn’t be happier to have him as a member
of the Elite family. As an independent contractor, Mike, his wife Tammy and his
4 wonderful kids live in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Mike truly is an industry superstar. With decades of industry experience, he has developed a reputation that now spans the nation. In addition to owning and operating one of America's most successful auto repair shops, he is a graduate of the Automotive Management Institute, and he has served on numerous industry boards. Mike was also the recipient of Arkansas's NAPA Technician of the Year Award for seven consecutive years, and we are pleased to say that he has won the coveted Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Market Place Ethics. In Arkansas Mike is widely known as the “Auto Guy", he appears regularly on local CBS segments to provide viewers with car care tips, and is the host of a weekly radio show, "Ask the Auto Guy."
Mike is also involved in a local technical school, teaches automotive classes at a local homeschool group, is involved in the local ASA chapter, and is the president of the American Skilled Labor Association - an association working to identify mentors and apprentices in the automotive industry. Additionally, he recently published a book titled "Start Me Up: a Practical Guide to Understanding Your Vehicle", and has been featured in an article by Ratchet & Wrench Magazine, a national publication. Mike is an industry leader, and we are honored to have him on our team as one of our Business Development Coaches.
Mike has been married to Nancy Davidson since 1990, and has four wonderful children: one is a sales rep for Horizon Pharmaceuticals, one is a middle school teacher, one is a musician and one is still living the dream at home. As an independent contractor, Mike and his family live in beautiful Little Rock, Arkansas.
With over two decades of industry experience, Brian has accomplished what others in our industry could only dream to. He has built one of America's most successful auto repair shops, and has done so never using any form of price advertising. Through his brand-awareness marketing campaigns, Brian's name, and the name of his shop, are household names throughout San Diego County. In addition to working with Elite as an independent contractor, it's no surprise that he is the Fox News Auto Expert on the local Fox television channel.
Brian is an ASE Master Certified technician, and he employs 18 superstars at his full-service AAA approved facility. He is also a Board Director for the AAIA's Car Care Professionals Network, and there is no question that he lives by the principle of never putting money ahead of people. A native of Ohio, today Brian lives in sunny and beautiful Escondido, CA.
With over 39 years of industry experience and 27 years of shop owner experience, there’s no question that John Rush was one of the top shop owners in our industry. Not only did John run two extremely successful shops (one with 14 bays, the other with 10 bays, and both with 10+ employees), but he was also a AAA Shop of the Year winner, and the Regional NAPA Tech of the Year winner for 2 years in a row! As a shop owner John was very active in our industry, as he was a Board Member for the ASA of Colorado, and served on the NAPA Auto Care Advisory Council, the Rancho/Tenneco National Advisory Council, and on local technical college boards .
A major reason for John’s success was his thirst for knowledge and personal improvement, as he constantly attended management courses throughout his career, and was able to become an ASE LI and Master Tech, an ASE Service Advisor, and obtained an AMI AAM degree to become an AAM Automotive Manager. John also ran a PACE shop (Partners for a Cleaner Environment), held numerous car care fairs, held women’s clinics to teach maintenance, and provided oil change weekends for single moms, so his shop was truly a fixture in the community that gave back at every opportunity.
Today John hosts a car talk show, so it’s safe to say that his love for our industry and desire to give back hasn’t faded since he retired in 2012 (his show once gave away 5 fixed-up used cars to families in need). He thrives on helping others and small businesses, is an expert in shop operations, shop KPI’s, shop marketing and managing people, and his primary philosophy as a shop owner was “Honesty and integrity in everything we do”, so we couldn’t be more proud that he works with Elite as an independent contractor. Today John lives in Colorado, and enjoys spending time with his 7 children and 13 grandchildren!
John L. Francis has over 50 years of industry experience, and has owned and operated Francis Automotive Services Inc. for more than 35 years. John's most important business philosophy as a shop owner is to "be honest, speak from your heart, and always be authentic", so it's no mystery why he's been so successful. For years Francis Automotive, an industry acclaimed full service auto repair shop in West Chester, PA , has not only supported the YMCA and Toys for Tots, but has lead the industry in developing a child safety brand. John is an Automotive Service Association (ASA) member, and served on the ASA Mechanical Division Operations Committee for a number of years. We are pleased to say that John represented the ASA in Washington, D.C., where he gave demonstrations to members of Congress on the importance of providing repair professionals with open access to service information. These presentations were instrumental in the information availability agreement that was eventually signed between the ASA and the automobile manufacturers.
John is a past National Chairman of the Automotive Management Institute, he has served as the Chairman of ASA CARS, he was on the ASE Board of Directors for 8 years, and served as an AMI trustee for a number of years as well. He's been featured in Auto Inc. magazine, is a two-time runner up for NAPA Tech of the Year, and is a recipient of the AMI Alpha Award. Not only is John an extraordinary business professional, but his commitment to the industry, and his peers, is second to none. John lives in Atglen PA, he is married and has 3 children, 8 beautiful grandchildren, and 3 wonderful labs. There is no question that he is an asset to the industry, and we are proud to have him work with Elite as an independent contractor.
Darrin Barney Business Development Coach
Darrin’s automotive journey began as a child working with his father on repairing and maintaining cars at the family garage. But the big turning point came when he turned 14 and his parents got him his first jeep. It was then that he realized that to keep it running he had to maintain it and take care of it. In 2003, he started his own auto repair and 4X4 business with the core business philosophy of treating every customer like a personal friend, and creating the best customer experience possible.
Darrin’s shop has grown to one of the biggest independently owned auto repair facilities in the state of Colorado. They are known worldwide for their customer service, and have customers all over the globe. The industry has picked up on Darrin’s success, as he’s been featured in numerous podcasts and articles - he was most recently on the cover of AutoInc. Magazine for a feature article on how to create a good customer experience. He really puts pride in developing his team members and creating a positive work environment, which is why the average tenure of his employees is over 5 years. His shop is accredited with the BBB and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, and is a NAPA AutoCare Center.
Darrin also has a passion for continuing education. In 2017 he was one of the first classes to graduate with his AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Management) from the AMI. He also set a goal to read 1 book on self-improvement per week for the entire year, and by December 31st, 2017 he had read over 54 books to achieve his goal!
He is a current Board Member for ASA Colorado, and recently became responsible for bringing the customer service piece of automotive training to his hometown in Grand Junction, Colorado. He is active in the aftermarket accessory industry and is a member of the LTAA (Light Truck Accessory Alliance), APPEX and SEMA. Darrin is a Certified High Performance Coach and enjoys helping others find success and happiness in their lives. He ran a self-reliance program for his community for many years that covered a wide variety of topics from the basics of Auto Repair, to how to prepare for an emergency. Darrin is an Eagle Scout that currently serves on the Eagle Scout Board of Review Committee for the Boy Scouts of America, and his business regularly contributes time and resources to local charities, schools and homeless shelters. He recently was trained to be a caregiver for the homeward bound overnight program, which helps those less fortunate find jobs by staying clean and sober.
Darrin is an accomplished musician who enjoys writing and recording music, and loves spending time with his wife and three children. They enjoy exploring the back country, four wheeling, camping and traveling.
Doug Stoll is an award winning shop owner with more than 25 years of industry experience. In 1985 Doug opened Susquehanna Auto Clinic, which soon became a 10-bay, AAA approved shop with a customer satisfaction rating of over 98%. His success inspired him to open up a second shop, The Auto Clinic; an 11-bay, 8,000 sq ft facility which soon became the largest independent repair shop in Lee's Summit, MO (population over 90,000). He sold The Auto Clinic and retired, but to this day there is not a shop in the Metro Kansas City Area that can compare in terms of design, efficient layout, customer comfort and customer service.
Before joining Elite as an independent contractor, Doug was the NAPA/ASE Technician of the year and a 3-time president of the ASA Kansas City Chapter. He has also facilitated the ASA Kansas City Shop Owner Support Group, and has been involved with the Koffman Foundation for entrepreneurship (the largest of its kind), helping educate people who want to start their own businesses. Today, Doug and his wonderful family live in Lee's Summit, MO.
Jim Berberich Business Development Coach
Jim Berberich was surrounded by the auto service industry growing up, as his dad was a master tech for Ford and his uncle owned an auto electric rebuilding business. In college Jim decided to blaze his own trail and became a manufacturing engineer, but soon found his way back to the auto service industry by joining his wife, Diane, as the owner of Al’s Automotive and Tire.
Jim and Diane built Al’s Automotive and Tire, a 9-bay facility, into one of the top shops in the country by mastering the numbers of the business, setting and achieving business goals, putting efficient systems and procedures in place, and focusing their brand and reputation on relationship building, trust and service that “Wowed” their customers.
Al’s Automotive and Tire was very well respected in the community as a AAA approved shop, a BBB member with an A+ rating, a NAPA Autocare member, a NAPA BDG member and a Bosch Service Certified facility. The shop was very active in the community under Jim's leadership, as they sponsored local little league and swim teams, and supported the Feed My People food pantry, MRV Blood Center and the Mercy Ministry women's shelter. In addition to what the shop was doing for the community, Jim himself served on the State Safety and Emission Advisory Board, was a Jefferson County Port Authority board member, and was a board member and vice president of the Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jim has been featured in Parts and People magazine, Tire Business magazine, and also published a book titled “Make It Last!: Legacies Aren't Just for People” which paralleled the longevity of business and customer vehicles.
Today Jim works with Elite as an independent contractor, and without question, he is an industry superstar. Jim and Diane have 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and today live in beautiful Imperial, MO.
Rudi Rudloff has over 50 years of industry experience, and spent 34 years owning and operating one of the most successful auto repair facilities in North America! Specializing in Mercedes Benz, his AAA affiliated shop developed a base of clients, and a history of success, that would be the envy of any shop owner on earth. Not only is Rudi an ASE Master Tech, but served on the IGO board, the local Automotive College Board of Advisors, has participated in several panels, and won multiple AAA customer satisfaction awards while he was running his shop. Rudi's shop was also heavily involved in the community through sponsoring child seat events at the Pacific Safety Center, sponsoring the "Impact Teen Drivers" safety event, holding CHP events on distracted driving prevention, and holding yearly food drives for "Mama's Kitchen".
Rudi's main philosophy as a shop owner was to surround himself great people and treat them well, and to surround himself with the top business advisors and resources. This philosophy, along with his methods of marketing and delivering extraordinary customer service have made Rudi's success the topic of interviews, and given him a reputation that is second to none. In addition to speaking English, Rudi also speaks fluent German and Spanish.
As an independent contractor Rudi provides consulting services to our Spanish speaking clients, and is also the friendly voice on many of our MP3 downloads that are in Spanish. Rudi's industry expertise has become so highly regarded that he has been a key speaker at PAACE Automechanika Mexico; Mexico and Central America's most important automotive trade show. Rudi and his family live in San Diego, California.
By the time Greg reached his 23rd birthday, he had already completed his degree with Lincoln Technical Institute, become one of the first Master Certified technicians from NIASE (passed all eight tests three hours after his second son was born), become one of the go-to guys on early VW fuel injection systems and created a successful auto service facility that continues to this day. With a career approaching 40 years, he now has his A.A.M. degree from the Automotive Management Institute, maintains his Master Technician status and has added the L1 to his achievements. Since the early 80's Greg has participated continuously in training programs and feels he learns something from every experience. "Learning is a life-long process", he says.
As the owner of one of the more innovative Honda/Toyota repair facilities in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Greg has built his business on a solid foundation of core values and common sense. “Putting people before money” is one of Greg's core values, as evidenced by his decision to change the shop to a four-day only schedule in 1990. The staff has every Friday-Sunday off. The culture he's created is so ingrained in his business that his crew now handles the daily operations, which has allowed Greg to continue along his path of personal growth by helping other shop owners build more successful businesses as an independent contractor with Elite. Greg's success has positioned his shop to be recognized as one of the top shops in North America, and accordingly, his shop was featured in the industry-acclaimed Shop Owner magazine (Read the article Here).
As a natural teacher, he still volunteers as a Scout leader for local youths and loves to help people succeed. Greg and his wife, Carol, have two grown sons and enjoy spoiling their four grandkids; all living in or near Silver Spring, Maryland.
Gene Morrill Business Development Coach
During the 32 years Gene Morrill has spent as a shop owner, he’s been able to establish himself as an industry icon. Not only is his shop a AAA AAR, ASCCA, ASA member and an ASE Blue Seal shop, but it has been a MotorAge Top Shop 5 Times, and won the MotorAge Shop of the Year in 2012. Additionally, Gene’s shop is a 5-time AAA Quality Service Award winner, and has been featured in Ratchet & Wrench, MotorAge and Glendoran Magazine.
Not only does his shop have some impressive accolades, but Gene himself is an ASE Master Technician, the past president and current board member of the local Automotive Service Councils of CA (ASCCA) chapter, and one of the first 49 recipients of the AMI’s Accredited Master Automotive Manager degree (AMAM). Gene is also very involved in his community, as he’s served as an automotive advisor, board member and adjunct professor for Citrus College, is a past president and current board member of the Glendora Rotary Club, is president of the Glendora Community Coordinating Council, and also serves on the Glendora Chamber Government Affairs Committee. Additionally, Gene’s shop regularly collects food and clothes for local children’s homes, so it’s no surprise that his amazing commitment to bettering his community has received recognition – Gene has received both the Glendora Community Council Humanitarian Award and the Citrus College Distinguished Alumni Award.
Beyond being an extraordinarily bright shop owner, one of the greatest keys to his success is his shop’s business philosophy: “Treat your customers like a king, take care of your employees and everything else will work out.” Gene’s focus on taking care of his customers and employees fits in perfectly with our culture at Elite, and we couldn't be more proud that he works with us as an independent contractor.
Gene and his wife Robin of 32 years live in Glendora, California and enjoy working together to provide safe & reliable transportation to all of their customers.
There is no question that Dean is the perfect example of what can be accomplished with clearly defined goals, and a commitment to ethics. Starting off as a technician, he's spent over 25 years as the owner of one of America's most successful transmission shops, which he has now expanded into satellite facilities.
Before joining Elite as an independent contractor, Dean mastered the art of recruiting the superstars, and developed an outside sales program that is second to none, industry wide. Dean has been a guest speaker at national conventions, has sat on the ATRA What's Working advisory panel (among others), and has been featured in Ratchet & Wrench, Gears magazine and Parts & People. In addition to operating his industry acclaimed AAA approved shop that has won multiple awards for 100% customer satisfaction, Dean has a successful torque converter company, and has created educational videos on torque converters and transmissions that now have nearly a million YouTube views!
Beyond his success in business, what makes us most proud is his most important business philosophy: "The culture of your company must be number one in order to have true success". He continually adheres to this principle with his work with Wounded Warriors, Navy Relief, and putting on classes at local high schools and colleges. A native of Carlsbad, CA, Dean is also a competitive race car driver, and currently lives with his wonderful family in Vista, CA.
Douglass Kirchdorfer is an industry leader who ran one of the most successful auto repair shops in America. In 1998, he and his wife Rebecca purchased what was to become Downing Street Garage, a six-bay facility that won numerous industry and business awards during the 14+ years they owned and operated the business. DSG has been voted among the top five AAA Approved Repair Shops in Colorado, has won the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau, has won the International BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and was also a winner of the coveted Colorado Ethics in Business Alliance Award. Additionally, Downing Street garage has been named as one of the top 10 shops in America by Motor Age Magazine in 4 times.
Douglass also served on the board of directors for the Colorado Automobile Service Association (ASA) for 10 years and was board president, was one of the founding members of the Denver chapter of the Napa Auto Care advisory board, the Delphi Tool Advisory Board, the Denver BBB Torch Award Selection Committee and served 4 years on the Mechanical Operations Committee of the national Automobile Service Association. Douglass also served on the Grievance and Standards Committee of the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau, on the Editorial Advisory Board of Ratchet and Wrench Magazine, and currently serves as an advisor for the Rocky Mountain Finance Institute, where he's counseling a graduate who runs a small auto repair shop.
Douglass also was an ASE Master Technician with L-1, has his A.A.M. degree from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), is a licensed A&P mechanic and enjoys restoring old cars; motorcycling; sailing; and helping shop owners improve their businesses.
Chris Monroe Business Development Coach
Chris Monroe got on the track to becoming an industry superstar at the early age of 10, as his father started Monroe Tire in 1974. He took over as the owner of the shop in 1987, and has been able to increase Monroe Tire’s sales for 30 consecutive years despite a high volume of competition and a flat population of less than 25,000 in his community. Chris’s success in business hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he was recognized as a Tire Review Magazine Platinum Performer in 2014, a DemandForce Top 20 Rated Repair Shop in 2015, the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in 2015, a Tire Review Top Shop Finalist in 2017, and won the prestigious 2018 Tire Dealer of the Year Award from the North Carolina Tire Dealers Association.
One reason for Chris’s success is his commitment to training and to self-improvement. He has received multiple manufacturer training certifications, has taken multiple management courses and training seminars, and is an ASE service advisor. All of the training he’s completed isn’t solely for his own benefit, as he’s committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise with others to elevate our industry. He’s written several articles for the North Carolina Tire Dealers Association, and has been featured in Ratchet & Wrench, Modern Tire Dealer and Tire Review Magazine. Chris is also a current board member of the North Carolina Tire Dealer Association, a past board member of the Tire Industry Association, and is a past SEMA panelist.
Chris not only dedicates his time to improving our industry, but to making a difference in his community as well. He serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board, Community College Small Business Advisory Council, speaks regularly at high school and college classes about small business ownership, and also contributes to his local schools in countless other ways. His shop has contributed to drug abuse prevention council, to children’s homes, to churches and to far more causes than we’re able to list. Additionally, on the shop’s 40th anniversary they celebrated by donating a completely refurbished vehicle to a person of need that the community selected.
While his accomplishments are certainly impressive, his shop’s philosophy of transparency, honesty and integrity is what makes us most proud to call him a member of the Elite family. Today Chris lives in Shelby, NC with Traci and enjoys adventure motorcycling, camping and racquetball.
Servando has decades of experience, and there is no question: he is an industry superstar. Starting his career with a small, struggling two-bay shop in Long Beach, California, today he owns three of the most successful shops in North America. He employs 15 of the industry's finest technicians and service advisors, and the reputation of his shops is second to none, industry wide. Servando is heavily involved with a number of local charities, he has spoken at industry events, and he has been interviewed by local press as well as a number of industry-acclaimed organizations.
Given that all of his shops are located in extremely competitive areas, Servando is a testimony to what can be done when one has clearly defined goals, a well crafted plan, and the right people on their team. In addition to providing us with business-building content for our audio training downloads in Spanish as an independent contractor, Servando plays a leading role in speaking at many of our Elite events, and in the ongoing development of our products and services. Servando and his wonderful family live in Long Beach, California.
Ron Haugen Business Development Coach
It’s an honor to call an industry superstar like Ron Haugen a part of the Elite family. Ron has 36 years of industry experience, started Westside Auto Pros in 1997, and has since built it into one of the largest independent auto repair shops in the Midwest with 14 bays and over 38 employees. We’re proud to say that Ron is the only shop owner in Iowa to win the AAA Top Shop Award 14 years in a row, and that his shop has been voted Best Local Auto Shop by Cityview readers for 15 straight years, and voted Best Place for Auto Repair by Des Moines Business Record readers for 12 straight years. Needless to say, Ron is not only one of the most successful shop owners in the industry, but also has an incredible business mind, as he was also able to start a towing and roadside assistance business and turn it into the highest volume AAA provider in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska within 2 years.
To say Ron is actively involved in the industry is quite an understatement, as he loves giving back at every opportunity. He serves on the editorial board for Ratchet & Wrench magazine, is a Co-Chair for the VISION Training & Expo, is the Vice President for the Des Moines Chapter of the Midwest Auto Care Alliance, and has even served as “Ron the Car Guy” on a weekly morning TV show for the last 7 years. Ron is an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician L1, an AMI AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager) and an AMI Accredited Trainer, so clearly he has a thirst for knowledge and personal growth. He has been featured in Ratchet & Wrench, Auto Inc., and Underhood Service magazine, and loves sharing his knowledge and experience to help other shop owners become more successful.
We’re proud to say that Ron’s primary business philosophy is to take the best care of every customer and every employee each day. Ron and Westside Auto Pros also make it a priority to take care of others in their community, and contribute to Make a Wish, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Furry Friends Rescue, Easter Seals and the Animal Lifeline of Iowa.
Ron works with Elite as an Independent Contractor, and enjoys spending time at the beach or pool, volunteering at animal shelters, and traveling.
We’re thrilled to be able to call someone like Linc Lewis one of our Business Development Coaches. Linc started his career working in corporate positions as an Accountant, Auditor, and held management positions in sales, marketing, and operations. He transitioned into becoming a successful entrepreneur, and now has 28 years of experience as a shop owner. His 8,000 sq ft shop, Mezzio Auto, was established in 1933, and while the business was well respected, it was limited to basic services using antiquated equipment. With a vision, aggressive goal setting, hard work and a commitment to the " 20 group" process, Linc grew Mezzio Auto into the largest, most comprehensive, independent auto repair and service facility in Naugatuck. Today, Mezzio Auto is the only AAA approved auto repairer in the Naugatuck area, and serves as a NAPA Auto Care Center as well.
Today Mezzio Auto's expanded services provide motorists a nationwide warranty on mechanical repairs, collision repairs, vehicle paint and restorations, tire sales, and the shop serves as the local test center for State of CT emissions compliance. Most recently, Linc has developed and implemented a business succession plan that will reward a key employee’s years of loyalty and dedication to Mezzio Auto’s customers with an ownership opportunity.
Linc enjoys giving back to the industry by chairing the local NAPA Auto Care Council, and helping other shop owners reach their goals as a Business Development Coach for Elite. Over the years Linc has spent his free time volunteering on local Chamber of Commerce committees, helping a H.S. Football team's coaching staff, presenting programs sponsored by the Future Business Leaders of America for high school students, participating in career day programs, and he even sponsored the start up of a debating club at a local high school. Learning new concepts, ideas and mentoring others has been a life's passion for Linc, and it is what drives him today.
Whether in business or his life, Linc believes that the driving force for his success has been honesty and truthfulness. He has used this philosophy to develop a culture of transparency with both customers and employees, and to empower his employees to feel confident and safe in always doing the right thing. With a philosophy like this, his success comes as no surprise, and he couldn’t fit in more perfectly with our culture at Elite.
Linc works with Elite as an independent contractor, and today lives in PROSPECT, CT with his lovely wife, Rita. He is the father of two sons, and in his free time Linc has enjoyed racing sport bikes, and playing the guitar in country & western jam sessions.
Ed Cushman Business Development Coach
After working as a service manager, Ed founded C&H Foreign Auto Repair at the ripe age of 22. He now has over 45 years of experience in the industry, with multiple accolades and accreditations to show for it.
Ed’s commitment to the industry is demonstrated by his participation on multiple boards, including his experience as Boardmember of the ASA National Board of Directors, ASA President (state), ASA President and Board member (Spokane), Chairman of the ASA Scholarship Committee, and Chairman of the AMI board.
He is the winner of several awards, including ASE Technician of the Year (state), ASA Member of the Year (state), and ASA National Chairman’s Humanitarian of the Year award. His shop, too, is a winner of various accolades, including the Spokane Chamber of Commerce’s AGORA Award for Small Business of the Year and the AAA’s Top Shop Award. He also boasts several certifications, including ASE Master Tech, AMI-Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM), and AMI-Automotive Master in Automotive Management (AMAM).
Ed enjoys volunteering for various community projects, including acting as Chairman of the Northwest BBB Board of Directors, Chairman of the Inland Empire Landlord Association, and various high school vocational programs. His business participates in the Washington State Employment Workforce training program, which promotes training programs for high school students, veterans, and others.
Ed’s business philosophy is based on building relationships through superior service, communication, fairness and caring. He believes that by taking care of his customers, everything else will take care of itself.
Ed is married to his grade-school sweetheart, Cindy, and together they have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and two grandchildren.
Kevin Jones Business Development Coach
With over 28 of his 34 years of industry experience spent as a garage owner, Kevin Jones has established himself as one of the most successful business leaders in the U.K. He is proud to be the first garage owner in the U.K. to be awarded Elite’s Ethics Certification, and was one of the first garages to achieve the British Standards Kitemark award. As an independent contractor for Elite, Kevin serves as a Business Development Coach for garage owners in the European market.
Kevin is a Certified Automotive Engineer (CAE), and an Associate Member of the Institute of the Motor Industry (AMIMI). He spent several years working as a lead technician for a successful private racing team and has studied automotive repair and advanced automotive repair nationwide, receiving multiple certifications. In addition to the two garages, Kevin owns a very successful vehicle specialist air conditioning company that is renowned throughout the county, receiving referrals from not just Independent repairers, but also fast fit chains and main dealers alike. He also regularly studies advanced business management courses, and has not only received 2 diplomas in this field in the U.S., but has successfully completed the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation on the AMI Masters Program. He is proud to say that his garages are approved AA repair centres and are affiliated with both the Trading Standards and the Trust My Garage Schemes in the U.K.
Kevin believes that his success comes from leading an ethics-based business, and by setting his team up to succeed within their roles in the workplace. This is achieved through development plans for each team member and regular reviews. He ensures that every employee treats his customers in a way that they would expect to be treated themselves, and insists on maintaining high ethical standards in both internal and external relationships at all times. Kevin is enthusiastic in supporting the local community, and hosts ladies evenings and car clinics. His businesses also help raise funds for the Macmillan Cancer Charity and BEN (Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund).
Kevin lives with his family approximately 40 miles East from the centre of London, on the River Thames coastline in Rayleigh, Essex.
Been through 2 other business development companies. After speaking to Bob I finally found a company that aligns with me on business ethics and practices. I've been with the company for 5 years now. We have no car count concerns, our clients appreciate us being there for them, our team morale is high, starting to enjoy the lifestyle I've been pursuing. Best personal and financial investment thus far in my life.
Ali Farizi, Olive Auto Center - Burbank, CA
I joined the Elite Top Shop 360 because I was looking to get more out of my employees, I felt my ARO and productivity were too low, and my shop wasn't nearly as profitable as I wanted it to be. My coach was able to help me see the need to bring a new service advisor aboard, implement a more efficient inspection process, and change my technician payment structure so that my techs were more motivated to produce. After being a part of Elite's Top Shop 360 for a year, my ARO has more than doubled, and my sales revenue in the first quarter was up by more than $100,000 compared to my first quarter of last year before I started working with Elite.
Mike Keplinger - Mike's Car Care Center
Wow! Where do I start, first of all I attended a Fly With The Eagle II course in May and signed up with coaching as soon as I got back. Kevin Vaught is our coach and has been outstanding. In the short period of time, he's guided us through hiring an "A" and "C' technician and promoting a techician to general manger position and bringing our daughter in to be a service advisor. Now I'm starting to "work" on the business instead of working "in" the business. I can look from the outside in, plug the holes that need plugged. Kevin has once again showed me how to move our team forward and lead our company. Gross profit is up, gross sales and net income are up. I could go on and on about Bob Cooper and what his team at Elite Worldwide has done for us. A company that cares about people instead of money. The money will fall into place once you and your team put the customer first. Would highly recommend Elite!
Tom did not have any systems or policies in place at his shop, which led to a hectic work environment that had him constantly “flying by the seat of his pants." Every component of the business was dependent on Tom, and he had to spend the majority of his day working behind the counter and jumping in to help resolve issue after issue. This led to an extremely high level of stress for Tom when he was at the shop. Things were moving so quickly from minute to minute that he was unable to put written goals in place, or pay attention to the numbers of his business.
Tom and his coach, Kevin Vaught, worked together to put procedures and policies in place for every component of Tom's business to help him run the shop in a more efficient and calculated way (a marketing plan, job descriptions, standard operating manual, employee manual, etc.). Tom also hired a back office manager to help out with some of the administrative tasks that he previously had on his plate. He worked with Kevin to establish written goals, and they started monitoring the numbers of Tom's business closely.
Kevin's guidance, along with Tom's open mindedness and willingness to pull the trigger on tough decisions, generated some incredible results. After 9 months of implementing systems and policies for just about every component of Tom's shop, Tom saw a 32% increase in car counts, 155% increase in sales, and an impressive 150% increase in gross profit dollars. However, these financial results pale in comparison to the differences that Tom saw in his life.
When Tom was recently asked what his stress level was now compared to when he began Top Shop 360 when his stress levels were through the roof, Tom replied “I just don't have stress anymore." His business now runs smoothly and efficiently, he has considerably more free time, and he always has facts, figures and data in front of him to help him make decisions for his company.
Nate Winston and John Cooper East Coast Performance
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Nate Winston and John Cooper were running their shop with success, but couldn’t help but feel like they had some room to improve, and were missing something that could take their shop to the next level. They felt they needed to work on improving the customer experience, and wanted to refocus their marketing strategies to ensure their bays were full with their targeted customers, so they decided to reach out to Elite.
Nate and John started working with their coach, John Francis, and it soon became evident that the partnership couldn’t have been more perfect. They started working on improving the customer experience right away, and began offering free loaner cars, sending out handwritten thank you cards, and sending comment cards and value added gifts to show their customers their appreciation. John Francis encouraged John and Nate to put together a mission statement to establish their brand identity, and to subsequently get out in their community and start making an impression. The duo joined the Chamber of Commerce, began sponsoring local sports teams, and established an amazing community presence through their marketing efforts on Facebook. They worked hard to identify their ideal customer, and started targeting those customers with their marketing efforts. The trio also worked together to put monthly, weekly, and daily goals in place, implement new policies and procedures, and institute a more thorough inspection process.
Nate and John soon began hitting those monthly, weekly, and daily goals with consistency. After carefully reviewing the customer experience at every touch point, they have been able to build more personal relationships with their customers and have improved their customer retention. Their efforts to become more involved in the community have certainly paid off as well - the shop’s Facebook page now has over 1000 likes, and an unbelievable 124 5-star reviews! Their impact on their community has not gone unnoticed, as Nate Winston was awarded the 2017 Cuyahoga Falls Business Person of the Year Award! Their efforts to identify their target customers have also been rewarded, and they are seeing more of the right kind of customers come into the shop.
By instituting a more thorough inspection process, they have been able to take better care of their customers, which has increased their ARO, and is one of the reasons they've been able to increase the shop’s sales. This sales increase has been realized despite their decision to follow John Francis’s recommendation to stop working on Saturdays, which Nate and John both agree has absolutely improved morale and reduced stress.
When asked about the overall Top Shop 360 experience, John Cooper replied, “Teaming up with John Francis is the best decision we ever made.” John Francis certainly feels the same way about his clients, and is filled with pride each and every time he brags about them (which is at every possible opportunity).
Adam Liu M-Spec Performance
- Middle Village, NY
Adam Liu had been a shop owner for 8 years, and while he had always run a good shop, he knew that it had more potential, and that there was something missing. He always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but felt that he might not be fully equipped as a shop owner to run the successful business he was striving for, and wanted to achieve a better understanding of his business and how to professionalize it on all levels. He was regularly stressed out and looking to establish a new mindset. Adam was also seeking a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
Adam reached out to Elite and began working with his coach, Nerces Mavelian. Nerces, who runs three very successful shops in Dallas, TX, gave Adam an excellent example to follow, and together they started setting concrete goals that Adam soon began to hit regularly. Nerces also provided Adam with the Key Performance Indicators that were most critical to his success, and Adam began to look at his numbers differently. They worked together to hire a new service advisor to enable Adam to step away from the front line and spend more time working on the business. Nerces also provided the sounding board for ideas that Adam had been looking for, and helped Adam institute regular employee meetings to boost morale and ensure everyone on the team was on the same page.
Since joining Top Shop 360 Adam says he’s made the transition from having a job to being a true business owner. The shop has gone from a 3-man crew to a team of 7, which has given Adam the ability take a step back, adjust his mindset and focus on growing the business. Not only have these changes lowered Adam’s stress levels considerably, but as a shop owner that truly cares about his customers, he’s proud that he’s now able to offer them more value.
Adam has seen some amazing financial results as well, as his shop’s annual sales went from $550,000, to $1,100,000, to being on pace to reach $1,500,000. His gross profit has tripled, and the future continues to look brighter and brighter for M-Spec Performance.
Servando Orozco Orozco's Auto Service
- Long Beach, CA
Servando was running a small 2-bay shop in an extremely competitive area of Long Beach, CA. His shop did not have any systems in place, and he had no knowledge of the key performance indicators he needed to be hitting to be profitable. As a result, his shop was only doing about $35,000 a month in sales, and he was not making any money.
Servando's coach, Jim Piraino, helped Servando put proven systems in place for all facets of his business to help his shop run more smoothly and efficiently, and showed Servando the numbers that he needed to be hitting for his 2-bay shop to start making money. Jim also showed Servando how he could utilize Elite's grass roots marketing programs to start bringing in more customers in the most affordable and effective way.
Servando turned each financial benchmark into a written goal, and soon started hitting each and every one. He also embraced the grass roots marketing approach with open arms and became heavily involved in his community. Within 6 months his shop was generating $100,000 a month in sales, and he is now one of the most recognized faces in Long Beach. The progress he has made since joining the Elite family has been astounding, as he's gone from running a small 2-bay shop doing $35,000 a month in sales, to now running multiple shops that bring in a total of over $4,000,000 annually.
Jon Spohn Spohn’s Action Auto Service
- Minneapolis, MN
Jon's business was previously run by his father, so for years after taking over the managing of the business Jon had a bit of tunnel vision, and was running his shop the way it had always been run. He was also so involved in the day-to-day operations of his business that he had trouble taking a step back and focusing on growing his business. His shop had a great reputation in the community, so he was never short on car counts, but his business was not as profitable as Jon thought it could be.
Jon's coach, Doug Stoll, helped Jon question the way things had always been run at the shop, and start viewing his business, and particularly his shop's workflow, from a different perspective. Doug helped Jon realize that with additional staffing, and a more optimal tech/advisor ratio, his shop was capable of being far more productive. Jon immediately hired an additional tech, and they set up a system for ensuring that each tech was always properly supported by Jon's advisors, and that each customer was always handled in the optimal way.
Jon's business saw immediate improvement. In the very next month after joining Top Shop 360, Jon's shop hit $100,000 in monthly sales for the first time in his shop's 39 year history. But Jon didn't stop once he reached this $100,000 mark, as his sales in the following March were up to $140,000, compared to $72,000 in March of the previous year (before Jon teamed up with Doug). Jon is now setting time aside every week to step back from working in the daily operations of his business, and spend time with Doug working on reaching his goals.