Steven D. Metcalf loves working on Hondas, so much so that he has opened his own shop to do nothing but that. He calls it Dealer Alternative.
"I've always been a car fanatic," says Metcalf, 36. "When my wife calls and asks what I'm doing, I say, `Playing with cars. How about you?'" Metcalf first became enraptured with Hondas after working at the Sears Auto Center at Ridgmar Mall. He and his wife were in the process of buying a new car, and Metcalf asked his fellow Sears mechanics to name the best car under $20,000.
"14 out of 14 experienced mechanics picked the Honda Accord," Metcalf says. "Typically; you're performing maintenance and not fixing stuff that was broken."
It wasn't long before Metcalf decided that, if he were ever to leave Sear's, he wanted to work on Honda's and Acura's exclusively. Acura is the luxury car division of American Honda Motor Co.
Metcalf soon had his hand forced when Sears, his home for 10 years, decided to scale back its repair operations.
He took a buyout and landed at Mac Churchill Acura. After completing a training course in just six months, Metcalf earned certification as a Honda-Acura trained technician.
He and his colleagues racked up company awards for service, and Metcalf was singled out in a national competition. In 1995, Honda began a nationwide total luxury care competition. By March of 1996, Metcalf had "won the whole deal."
In typical Honda fashion, however, Metcalf notes that Honda declared that everyone else finished in second place.
"Even in training, you work at your own pace," he says. "They don't want anyone to feel left behind."
Several months later, Metcalf was offered the job of Honda service manager at Mac Churchill Honda. He initially declined, thinking that his next step, should it come, would be self-employment. But after discussing it with his wife, he decided to take the job so that he could gain more managerial experience.
During his tenure, Mac Churchill won Honda's platinum level Partners in Excellence award.
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