When “Prince Charming” comes up on the caller ID at Marinelli Auto Service, we know that Jonathan Fernandes is on the line. This doesn’t happen often, because as Office Manager, he’s usually the one answering the phone, but when it does, we can be rest assured we’ll be greeted with something off the wall like, “Jimbo’s Tacos calling to confirm your order for 100 supreme tacos,” to which it’s best to play along for as long as possible. In all seriousness, though, Jonathan brings a good balance of fun and opportunity to our shop that has brought our business to the next level.
Surinamese by birth, Jonathan’s cross-cultural upbringing allows a perspective that looks outside the box for solutions to everyday challenges. He has been a fast learner of the industry and faces challenges as opportunities. His vision for our business is bigger than I can wrap my mind around, so when he hears about an improvement that needs to be made, he jumps right on it. This vision includes expanding our reach to be able to serve customers with more efficient turn-around times and a smoother customer experience. For example, his affinity for technology, particularly computer programming, has greatly improved many of our office processes. He’s always anticipating our next biggest need and putting things in place to meet it.
Since Jonathan has joined our team, we’ve been able to move forward from wondering how we’ll get to the end of the week to what we’ll be able to accomplish by the end of the year. Yes, we all want to make a nice income to support our families, but this is secondary to the care he has for each vendor he works with and each customer who walks through the door. When it comes down to it, he wants to take care of you and your family.
In fact, one thing that allowed Jonathan to fit easily into our fold is his heart for his family. With his wife Sarah – a longtime friend of Andrew’s and mine – his son James, and the any-day-now anticipation of his second son’s arrival, he “gets” the family atmosphere we’ve tried to create through our business. Just like Andrew treats every car like it’s owned by a member of his family, Jonathan treats every customer like you were part of his.
Truth be told, it’s his easy going relational style that makes him the right person to be on the other end of the phone and the first face you see when you walk into our office. This brings us to how “Prince Charming” ended up on our caller ID. While mostly tongue in cheek, it represents the balance between the fun he brings as well as the connection he makes with every person on the other end. If you haven’t already, I hope you get a chance to meet Jonathan soon. When you do, I highly encourage you to let him know what we’re doing right and where we can improve. I promise you, he’ll look forward to the challenge as an opportunity.
-From the Mechanic’s Wife
I’ve often heard that when a quiet person speaks, listen. With Andrew, this couldn’t be more true. I frequently wonder what is going on in that head of his. If you look in his eyes you know, the wheels are always turning, but with what? His level of focus is remarkable and his attention to detail is inspiring. It’s like he conserves his energy in the stillness of his concentration and then bursts into action to get things done. And when he opens his mouth, the value in what he says is staggering. What goes on between the silence, the action, and the speaking is beyond me – and I’ve been married to him for six years! – but whatever it is, it drives him to get things done no matter what it takes.
Andrew is a resilient man – not impenetrable, but very humanly resilient. He commits to a task and he gets it done. His motivation stems from the heart. For him, it’s less about the cars and more about the people that drive them. It’s one of the first things that attracted me to him. He really cares about people and has a drive to help them, whether stranger or friend, in whatever way he can. He won’t let an obstacle get in the way of his goal. He always finds a way around it because the people he serves as a mechanic mean that much to him.
This attribute is what motivated him to change gears from music teacher to mechanic. He sought a way to help people in a practical way, so he set down his music degree and sought a career as a tradesman. He will still sit down from time-to-time and massage a tune out of a piano, but these days those gifted fingers are influencing a vehicle back to good health. He doesn’t so much enjoy the mechanics as much as that he’s really good at it and is driven to get better so he can continue to help people.
It’s Andrew’s intelligence and uncommon love for people that drives him out of bed at 6:30am to head to the shop before it opens. He’ll grab whatever is in the fridge that will give him energy for the day (pizza, cheese or hummus and bread, leftover spaghetti, etc…), though sometimes he needs to be reminded to eat because he gets so focused on the job at hand. He rolls into the shop, spends some time cleaning or preparing his mind and heart for the day ahead. A few minutes are spent touching base with the employees, Mike and Jonathan, and then he gets to work, praying all the while for uninterrupted time to maintain his concentration on each vehicle on the schedule for the day.
At 6pm, when the shop is officially closed, the other guys usually (unless there’s an urgent matter to attend to) begin wrapping things up to head home. Andrew presses on for another few hours, at least. He usually aims to leave the shop by 9pm, but sometimes another hour or a few more after that. If he says he is going to get something done, you better believe he puts everything he has into getting it done.
Monday through Friday, this is what Andrew’s life looks like. Saturday is a little different, the shop isn’t open, so it’s a day when he can be fairly certain of no interruptions. So, he goes in to wrap up a job that didn’t go as planned over the previous days or spend time focusing on the business end of things. It’s a day when he can let the phone ring to voicemail and find unbroken concentration.
Sunday morning comes and Andrew is horizontal and will remain that way most of the day. Sure, he’ll spend some time playing with our son, but it’s mostly a day of recharging. Reading, watching TV, napping, and maybe a short trip to the park. It’s the only way this introvert can get up on Monday and do it all over again. He does it for me and our son, but also for you and your family so you can get wherever else life takes you.
-From the Mechanic’s Wife
We are a family business, and not just in the sense that Andrew and I are a husband and wife running a business, but because we are a family who truly cares about you and your family. It doesn’t matter whether you are a single college student or married parents of six, we care about you and the people you care about. Andrew, myself, and our team have had a variety of experiences that help us to empathize with where you are. We understand busy lives of all forms, and want to serve you so that you have safe transportation to get where you need to go. Continue reading “A Day in the Life: The Family Business Mom” »
Running a business is hard. Customer Service is hard. Working in the auto industry as a mechanic is really hard. Accomplishing hard things is very rewarding, especially when customers voice their gratitude. When things are hard at Marinelli Auto Service, two things keep us going: God and our customers. I want to take a moment to share with you just how much we value our customers and introduce you to someone you’ll likely meet the next time you bring us your vehicle.
Why work in a difficult industry unless you have something that drives you to keep on going? It’s in Andrew’s and my heart to serve others. We see vehicles as an essential part of life in the majority of the USA. Not having a car or truck can make it difficult to pursue a career, support your family, serve your community, or even get to pertinent appointments like the doctor. By helping you stay in a reliable vehicle while working with you with your repair budget, we feel that we get to partner with you in whomever you serve . That gets us excited! It’s why many of our customers have since become our friends.
This aspect of our business doesn’t just reside in the hearts of Andrew and myself, but we also make sure that whoever we invite onto our team shares our vision: Seeking to build trusting relationships through quality-focused automotive service, honesty in communication, fairness in practice, and kindness in action. That’s why in 2016 we brought on Mike to assist Andrew in the shop and me in the office. It’s also why we’ve recently invited the newest member of our team, Jonathan, on board to take over as the Office Manager. Both Mike and Jonathan get our heart and our vision for Marinelli Auto Service (MAS) and, therefore, value our customers with just as high of a regard as we do.
Who is Jonathan?
Jonathan comes from a background with business leadership, management skills and experience, computer programming skills, and great customer service skills, just to name a few. In just a couple weeks, Jonathan has jumped right in and already made a difference for our team and our customers. We are so grateful to have him.
One thing that you need to know about Jonathan is that he loves his family, including his wife, Sarah, and son, James, as well as another little one on the way this spring. He was a customer before he was an employee, so he understands what it is to be on both sides of the business. He gets what it’s like to find out how much a repair is going to cost and cringe a little and that’s why he wants to be in a position to serve you.
Andrew and I had been Sarah’s friend for years before we met Jonathan, but as an easy-going person, it wasn’t long before he became our friend, too. He was one of our first customers when we opened the shop. “I wanted to do my part in helping a small shop grow,” Jonathan told me when asked why he first came,”The first years, I only brought my car to MAS for the major repairs, but I would still go to other places for the minor maintenance jobs. As time went on, it became abundantly clear to me that MAS really did quality repairs and gave great service. It wasn’t long before my wife and I started bringing our cars to MAS for everything.”
With Jonathan’s excellent resume, we were so pleased when he accepted our job offer. He knew coming in that as a new growing business, he’d really have to own his position and work to grow his role here.
“I have worked for the fortune 500 company and the small mom and pop shop. I have managed businesses with 300 employees and I have managed some with just fifteen. The common thread missing in all my experiences is the fact that nothing beats a workplace where the leadership has integrity and the work is done with quality and purpose in mind. Just being a customer at MAS, I knew those two would be present because of the way MAS treats their customers and how they have made quality repairs their baseline standard.”
How Marinelli Auto Service is Growing and Changing
As I transition back to work after being on maternity leave, my priority is being a mother to Andrew’s and my son, Arthur. Having Jonathan on board helps me to do that in addition to bringing much needed support to our growing business. We are excited for the ways Jonathan will help us continue to improve on our quality of service and caring for our customers as we continue to expand and he’s excited to help us get there!
However, I’m not stepping away completely from the shop. Having Jonathan on our team gives Andrew the daily support he needs so we can continue to improve on serving our customers well. It also gives Mike the opportunity to maximize his time at the shop and not neglect his engineering studies, and also allows me to focus on my role as the Director of Community Engagement. I want to make sure our staff and customers are well cared for. I have made it my own personal mission to invite more people to be a part of Marinelli Auto Service so that our business is around to serve you for years to come.
Andrew, Mike, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome Jonathan to our team as we continue to grow!
-From the Mechanic’s Wife
2017 has started as a very interesting year for our shop. Andrew and I welcomed our son, Arthur, into the world on February 8th. On February 12th I ended up in emergency surgery and then in and out of ICU for nearly 3 weeks with a severe infection. This meant that, not only was I no longer working at the shop, but my maternity leave was prolonged and much of Andrew’s time was spent away from the shop and a lot of dependence was placed on Mike to keep things moving for our customers. Thankfully, we’ve had really understanding and compassionate customers. Several of you even stopped by with cards or gifts for us and the baby for which we’re really grateful. Continue reading “Business & Family Defeat Challenges” »
When we say we value our customers we mean it…and we try hard to show it without being overbearing. We truly care about each individual customer. Most people do not expect this from an auto repair shop and, it seems by people’s reactions, many people have not experienced this previously at an auto repair shop. We don’t just care because you bring us your business (which we do really appreciate!). We actually truly care and that is why we’re in this business. When your child or pet is sick or you’ve lost your job or whatever, we actually want to know and will make an effort to ask you about it. We want you to drive a vehicle that is safe and sound so you can get your kids to school, your pet to the vet, or so that you have a way to get to work. We feel grateful to be a part of your life in this way. Continue reading “The Meaning of “Family Business” Success” »