On the Rise: Darryl Fraley
Service writer, technician, and sales and marketing representative | Golden Rule Auto Care and Autotext.Me | Age: 21
What was your first job in the industry?
Service writer and general service technician.
What attracted you to the industry?
I happened into the industry by accident. In May of 2014, I was an assistant manager at Papa Johns. The rack and pinion on my 1998 Acura CL started leaking one day, so I decided to replace it myself on my driveway. Afterward, I knew it would need an alignment, so I went to Golden Rule Auto Care and spoke with Colin, the service manager. I told him I needed an alignment and he asked why. I explained the work I did. They took my car into the bay and the owner and master technician, Patrick, began aligning my car. They asked if I would be interested in a job. They interviewed me the next day and offered me a job as a general service technician and service writer. After working there for over a year, I was asked by the other owner, Chris, if I would be interested in working for his software company, autotext.me. Using some development experience from high school and sales experience from the shop, combined with auto repair knowledge, I accepted.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Being cross-trained on both sides of the wall to understand service writing and wrenching on cars along with being at the bottom of the totem pole.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Chris Cloutier, part owner of Golden Rule Auto Care and majority owner and developer of autotext.me.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Working my way into a nationwide start-up software company at 20 years old.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to be working for an international software company providing auto repair shops better solutions for their communication, digital back office, and technical needs.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
I believe the biggest issue facing the industry today is the evolving technology in cars. Many shops are shying away from diagnostics, simply because it almost takes a computer science degree to diagnose these issues on the newer cars. Your modern day vehicle is a computer on wheels.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
I wish someone would have told me about all the opportunities lying within. When I was younger, I remember dreaming to be a mechanic but thought there was very little room for movement in the industry. There’s plenty of opportunities in every aspect of it and no shortage of needing people anytime soon. Had I known this earlier, I would’ve gotten into the industry sooner.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
I encourage others to enter the industry by explaining how many opportunities lie within. If you like working on things, you can be a technician. If you like selling things, you can be a service writer. If you are a business major or entrepreneur looking to buy or open a business, you can buy a shop. If you like solving difficult puzzles, you can be a highly paid diagnostic technician. The possibilities are endless. There will always be cars on the road, for our lifetime anyways.
Tell us about your family.
I am the second to youngest of four children. I have two older sisters, Jennifer and Heather, and a younger brother, Caleb. My parents, Darryl and Kelly, celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary, and provide excellent support for anything and everything. Last, but certainly not least, is my fiancé, Kate, who I will be exchanging vows with in April 2017. I would not be where I am today without my entire family's support and encouragement.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
My favorite weekend activity includes spending time with family, relaxing, and tinkering with cars or computers.
What keeps you up at night?
The biggest thing that keeps me up at night is the thought that I can change the world. My biggest influencer, Steve Jobs, once said in an interview, “When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.” Anyone and everyone can make a difference in the world by creating a solution or product that can literally change people’s lives. When you stop everything around you and think about that, it becomes extremely powerful. I try to live each day to the fullest and do my best to help anyone and everyone I can.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I happened into the automotive industry by complete accident. Sometimes the biggest downfalls in your life can turn into the greatest decision you’ve ever made. I was an assistant manager at Papa John’s working myself into a dead end. No plans of college or what I would do with my life. My car broke down, and I thought my world was collapsing because of a $150 repair, if I did it myself. I replaced the part and got an alignment at the highest rated shop in town. Colin, the service manager, offered me a job on the spot due to the professionalism of my work. After working as both a service writer and technician for almost two years, Chris, the owner, offered me a position at his other company, autotext.me. Little did I know that breakdown would land me in a nationwide software company at the age of 20.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My biggest, guilty pleasure is spending money on electronics. I am someone that one might call an “early adopter.” I am always purchasing the latest and greatest technology, then tearing into it to see what it can truly do.
Name a talent you wish you had.
One talent I wish I had is effective public speaking.
What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is just about anything Italian or Mexican.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
With the exception of prior family members, I would love to sit down and have dinner with Steve Jobs. Although he was tough and hard headed, he was a very smart man that knew how to build products that changed the world.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
I would probably survive for a few days before I felt awkwardly naked in public. At first, I could see it being a relief by turning off the outside world for some time, but I would eventually need it back!