Meet Dan Viteri – General Manager at Virginia Tire & Auto
When you think of who works at an auto repair shop, your mind probably immediately goes to the mechanic. They’re the person that does the repairs, and at a smaller shop, they might be one of the only employees. While the mechanics and their work are at the core of the business, there are a lot of other roles at Virginia Tire & Auto that keep our 13 locations in Northern Virginia running smoothly.
Positions in sales, operations and customer service all play a vital role at every Virginia Tire & Auto location. If you’re interested in working somewhere that invests in its employees and encourages them to grow based on their strengths and interests, you’ll want to consider Virginia Tire & Auto for your next career move.
Forge Your Own Career Path at Virginia Tire & Auto
Dan Viteri has been working at Virginia Tire & Auto for the last 17 years and has held just about every position other than mechanic. He learned and grew in every role he held and was given opportunities based on what he was excelling at and what he was interested in.
As a part-time sales associate while he was still in college, he interfaced with customers and explained work orders. Sales associates at Virginia Tire & Auto are the face of the company as the first and last people a customer sees, and they’re the dedicated go-to person for questions and concerns.
After he graduated, Dan became a full-time sales associate, and eventually was promoted to sales manager, where he took on additional responsibility by assisting the store manager with administrative work. Next, he moved into an operations role, which consisted of a lot of behind-the-scenes work like purchasing, maintaining the back end of the POS system, assisting with the onboarding of training and new hires, and conducting phone training and customer service training for new employees.
His next role was as Store Manager at the South Riding location. He ran the day-to-day operations and focused on employee development and administrative work. After some time in that role, he was moved to the Ashburn Dulles location—more responsibility because it’s larger than the South Riding location.
Finally, he was promoted to General Manager, the position he currently holds. He works mostly out of the Ashburn Dulles location, but he oversees other stores in Loudoun County. In addition, he manages internal distribution for the entire company, where he draws on his earlier experience as an operations manager.
As you may be able to guess from Dan’s story, Virginia Tire & Auto values promoting from within. We will often train employees to be certified mechanics who start out in entry-level general service positions without any specialized skills. In fact, the company has a formalized apprenticeship program designed to give employees who are willing to put in the work a solid career path that aligns with their goals and aspirations.
Skills that Matter: Empathy, Communication
We asked Dan to share what some of the most important skills are in order to be successful in the automotive repair business. He said one of the most important things is empathy. It’s not easy to find out that your car has problems you weren’t aware of and will require repairs. Being able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes so that you can communicate bad news in a way that doesn’t make it even more unpleasant is extremely valuable.
Going hand in hand with empathy is communication. “Peer to peer communication is key. It’s a skill you must excel at—to effectively communicate with a range of personalities,” Dan says. This applies to communication internally with colleagues and people you’re managing directly, and also with customers.
What We Look for in Entry-Level Employees
Dan says that the most important quality in a new employee that doesn’t have a lot of work experience is a positive attitude and a solid work ethic. “It’s easier to teach skills. We have the resources and tools to help develop someone on the skill side. If someone can come in with a good attitude and understand that you get out what you put in, that goes a long way. You can’t really train that aspect of it.”
Culture and Team-Building
Virginia Tire & Auto makes a conscious effort to create a positive working environment. We have a company-wide holiday party every year and also have picnics and go to Nats games. We also give out gift certificates and awards for exceptional performance.
Virginia Tire & Auto is passionate about providing the best possible service for our customers, and we believe that the first step to doing that is to have an extraordinary team. To learn more about car repair careers at Virginia Tire & Auto, check out our Careers page or look at our open positions now.