My name is James Rey. I am basically the Owner / Operator
here. I've been doing this and have been here for a little
over a year at this location, but I've been in the mechanic
business for, I guess, going on fifteen, sixteen years.
[Advancement In This Particular Occupation:]
We’re a growing company; we're trying to establish ourselves.
I've got a good clientele base and it's a question of I have
people tell me, "Well gee, do you mind if I give your
name to somebody?" Well, you can never have too many customers.
[Decision To Enter This Particular Occupation:]
I liked to tinker with cars when I was a kid, you know, when
I was younger. I didn't know very much back then and some days
I still think that I don't know much. I liked it and I decided
I might as well give it a try.
[Education & Training:]
I spent [time taking] an apprenticeship program at Kelsey
Institute in Saskatoon. There's a pre-employment course that
you can take; it's an eight-month course. You take all aspects
of the automotive business. You're working in a dealership
or shop (wherever) and then after a certain amount of time
you go back to school again for a two-month course. It takes
about four years to get a certificate (the Inter-Provincial
[Personal Characteristics & Attitudes:]
You've got to be a people person because you're dealing with
the public. As an owner, I'm obviously dealing a lot more with
the public - with customers and that. I'd say the biggest thing
is dealing with people. Some days you get a customer who had
something go wrong with their car (an unforeseen thing) and
they can get pretty irate and you just have to deal with that.
[Teamwork Skills & Positive Attitude:]
Teamwork is really important amongst the employees. You may
get a problem with a vehicle and you need another opinion on
it. If the people don't get along, it's just not going to work.
Or you'll have a situation where you have to get a vehicle
out, you're in a hurry, the guy's waiting for it, it's five
o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and you'll have a couple of
guys working on it. I mean, they have to get along in order
to do the job properly. You have to have a positive attitude.
A lot of times it's tough. If you're having a bad day (and
everybody has bad days) you have to just work through it.
[Change In This Particular Occupation:]
This industry is changing so much. Every year there's something
new out. We don't see a lot of it for a few years down the
road, but we try to keep up on the changes before they happen.
For example, right now we're not going to see a '97 vehicle
for probably a couple of years until the warranty expires.
But you're going to have to learn about it before it comes
in because once it's here, what are you going to do? Are you
going to stand there and look at it? "Well, gee, I don't
know how to fix this. They changed the fuel injection." That's
been a big (major) change. Before, the older vehicles had a
carburator; they had a distributor. To diagnose something it
took a little bit of time but you could diagnose it, basically,
just by changing parts. The days of that are gone.
Being the Owner, obviously my employees are looking to me
for leadership. I'm the one that's going to make the final
decision on whatever it is; whether it's what tow truck company
we're going to use, or what parts we're going to use. I'm the
one who's going to make the final decision. So obviously, they
are expecting me to take the initiative and make the final
As far as training, we're always updating. We're always taking
courses on new technology and stuff like that. It's an ongoing
[Typical Work Day:]
Every day is different. I've never had two days the same.
There's always been something new, a new problem or a new challenge.
There's always something different every day.
We get here in the morning, make coffee (the number one priority),
check messages from the night before because there's always
calls to be made, run vehicles out (the vehicles that were
left in overnight) and move things around. The biggest thing
is to organize things in the morning so that when the guys
get to work, the priority is this job…this job…and
this job, and then order parts.
Usually, I'm on the phone most of the day; whether I'm talking
to a customer or I'm phoning a customer, or phoning a supplier,
or phoning somebody. By the end of the day, sometimes I wonder.
I look and it's like, "Gee, I didn't do a whole lot today." And
then I start thinking about it, and "Yeah, I did do a
[Most Challenging Aspect:]
The most challenging aspect, I would have to say, is working
on the vehicles, the fixing them and the fact that I don't
do a whole lot of that anymore. [However], I do a certain amount
of that. Most of it is trying to organize things - organize
things so that it will go smoothly all day.
[Most Satisfying Aspect:]
The most satisfying part is probably the finished product.
When we do a job and the customer picks it up and he's happy,
that's what we're striving for. Because if he's not happy,
he's not coming back.
[Advice For Someone Entering This Field Of Work:]
For somebody who's getting into this field, the biggest thing
I would tell them is take a look at it and if you're going
to be in it, you're going to have to stay in it for a long
time. I've known some guys who've got into it; for example,
tools and equipment. There isn't any other trade that I know
of that you have to have the amount of tools and equipment
you do in order to do this as an occupation. Whether you're
an Owner or just a Mechanic working for some place, you have
to supply your own tools. That's a big part of the business
because it's an ongoing thing. I've been in this trade fifteen,
sixteen years and I'm still buying stuff. There's always something
that you need. So, there's a lot of money that you have to
spend. That's probably the biggest thing I'd tell somebody.
Take a hard look at it. Look at other things. If they are
interested, obviously they're going to go for it. Obviously,