The Making of a President
High-schooler Bob Jaworski landed an evening job at an Ackland’s warehouse.
“And that was the start of an automotive career for me,” Jaworski comments. After University his first job was with Dayco Canada as territory manager in southern Saskatchewan. Then he joined SaskTel as directory advertising Marketing Manager and in 1986 accepted a job at Auto Electric Service where Morley Wagner, President, was looking for a sales manager.
“I liked the automotive industry, and this was a great opportunity. I took a significant salary reduction but saw the long-term opportunity, saw the advancement I might make, saw the potential of having some ownership in the business. The long-term possibility made more sense to me than working for a large Crown Corporation,” Jaworski relates. And the rest is history—today Jaworski is Auto Electric Service President, General Manager and major shareholder.
He progressed through the company as Sales Manager, then Corporate Sales Manager, General Manager and President. “When Morley retired and sold his shares, our new ownership group purchased the shares of the old group and I became President and General Manager plus a major shareholder,” Jaworski says.
As President and General Manager, Jaworski oversees the overall company operations, working directly with senior management, who own shares in the company and are considered business partners. “My main role is functioning at the 10,000 feet level over the total operation, making sure our stores and operations are performing to the best of their ability. Making sure we’re working together, finding what their needs are so we can move forward smoothly. We like to work on future direction—listening and hearing what our reports say about what we need to do to be successful, then doing our best as a company in giving them what they need to achieve this,” Jaworski tells us.
Jaworski goes to all their branches and meets with the managers. “It’s good to be out in the territory—seeing everything visibly. Seeing what’s going on in each store, chatting with the manager and employees, gives me a lot of insight into what we’re doing. I also stop and see some of our key customers—find out how we are servicing them. It’s important to listen to the customer. Our managers are also key to our overall success. They’re heavily involved in our daily operations; they’re the face of our company to our employees and customers.”
Recruiting the next generation
Asked what advice he’d give to young people coming into the industry, Jaworski says, “People have a misconception about what the Automotive Aftermarket is… they don’t understand the aftermarket. They think everyone in it is a mechanic! They don’t realize the magnitude of all the different types of jobs, companies and career paths that can be had here. We need to promote the industry better and show what career paths are available plus the rewards therein.
The job challenge is pretty big. You’re always learning and educating yourself. There’s always opportunity for advancement,” Jaworski says. “Industry people always rise to the challenge no matter the changes taking place. They adapt to whatever the opportunity is! The amount of change we’ve experienced is huge, but the industry just keeps adapting and looking for opportunities. Businesses today are totally different from when they started. You can’t do today what you did yesterday—you have to keep re-inventing.
Part of my role is to look at the future, see what changes are coming and what we have to do as a business to rise with the changes so that we’re not behind. We’re in front—doing the driving!”