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There is a persistent notion that in today’s job market a college education is the only path to a great job with a good income. It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes gets in the way of employers connecting with great applicants.

At the Firestone Complete Auto Care, 1122 N Main St., Store Manager Wayne Howe is always on the hunt for customer service people to handle the all-important first contact with customers. He also has open technician positions; the people who handle the many repair, installation and maintenance needs of customers.

“I need two customer service people at the moment,” said Howe. “They need to be customer-service and sales oriented. Nothing here requires a technical or automotive background. You learn it here.”

Howe explained that in the shop, everyone is willing to teach and coach new employees. “We foster that environment,” he said. “This is a good opportunity to learn.” He suggested that the positions in his shop give people the opportunity to make a good living without going to college, or even while an employee is going to school.

Chance to advance

It does take a certain personality to work in a busy shop. Howe said it’s important that an applicant likes to work with people, but they also need to be organized and driven.
What makes this kind of entry-level position even more appealing is that Firestone is actively moving people up through the ranks.

Positions at Firestone Complete Auto Care come with benefits like profit-sharing and bonuses on top of the hourly wage. Health insurance and paid vacations are also part of the benefits package.

Technicians needed, too

What surprises many people, explained Howe, is that an extensive auto repair background is not a requirement for hiring. “In the back shop we are looking for people who have almost no experience, but they have a slight interest in automotive work,” said Howe. “And we are looking for people with light experience, as well. And a willingness to learn. But one of the best benefits of the job, not just at this shop, but also with the company is training, training, training.”

The company pays for ASE (American Service Excellence) tests and give a bonus for passing certification tests. Howe added that one of his technicians recently attended a diagnostics training multi-day course in Denver.

Firestone technicians can take classes in advanced diagnostics, electrical systems, brake repair and other critical repair and maintenance areas.

Howe said that the technician posts offer the chance to build valuable experiences and skills. Several local auto repair shops are staffed—or owned—by technicians who got their early training at Firestone, he noted. Technicians can take classes in advanced diagnostics, electrical systems, brake repair and other critical repair and maintenance areas.

With those skills people have to ability to do more, take on more, and to make more money. Said Howe: “There are people making six figures who never spent a minute in a college classroom.”

Howe said that anyone who is interested in applying for open positions should contact the regional recruiter, Julie Alemdar, at 405-243-2646. Or email:

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.