Car Repair Guys Can Be Good Guys Too

June 15, 2010

The mission of  AllCarAdvice is to protect, instruct and entertain its readers. Protect them from unscrupulous car related practitioners, instruct them about ways to enhance their car owning experience and entertain them with all the peripheral things that happen with and about cars.

Unfortunately, last month there were two articles that had to do with car repair scam artists. They were both in California and both were instances in which the state regulatory agency had to step in. It was encouraging to see that there was someone who had the consumer’s back. We tried to use these cases as opportunities to instruct about ways to avoid being caught up in painful car experiences.

In the process of considering these aberrations a reader could come away with a poor personal opinion of those involved in the car repair industry. In reality this profession is much like others, a major motivation is to perform a task that you feel passionate about and provide for yourself and your family in the process.

Consider Stephen Powell, he began building racing transmissions in his backyard garage and watched how they performed at the local drag strip near Damascus Maryland. Based on the success of those racing units, he and his wife decided to open a full time shop in Laurel. That was back in 1993 and he is operating the business with the first technician he ever hired still on the payroll. This is about as stable as a business can be and about as far from the types of operations cited earlier as one could imagine. Proof positive being his selection as a NAPA, ASE Technician of the Year.

But Mr. Powell’s passion goes beyond his professional life to a concern for others. He’ll be riding in the 24 Hours of Booty in Columbia, MD in August in hopes of raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation nationally and  The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults locally. He has personally raised about $2,900 in the past but his goal is to raise $4,500 this year. He and his team, The Middle Aged Marauders, will be cycling around a closed looped 2.1 mile track in Columbia for 24 hours. Last year, in poor conditions (heavy rain and cold) Mr. Powell got 14 hours of seat time and logged 125 miles.

The cause has special meaning for Mr. Powell. Nearly eight years ago he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which was successfully treated surgically and with radiation treatments. He has become an outspoken advocate for early detection. “Just like cars, periodic inspections are required,” he says.

So the next time you’re looking for a place to bring your car and don’t want to get ripped off, think of Stephen Powell and the many other auto repair practitioners just like him, as the gold standard. They are easy to find just look for the person who is passionate about what they do and is willing to help others.

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