What makes Garber a special place to work?
Easy question, says Sandy Pickel, title clerk at Garber-owned Porsche Audi of Rochester in Rochester, New York.
“There’s such good people at Garber,” she said. “I’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people here; they make it special. The coworkers make it very special.”
While Sandy has worked in this same dealership building for 35 years, she didn’t predict she’d stay here for decades.
But she’s glad it’s worked out this way. Her career in the automotive industry has allowed her to learn, grow, and meet a plethora of people who care about the team, the company, and the community.
Answering the Call
It was November 1986. Sandy knew she needed a change. It was time to go full-time.
“I was a bartender and I ended up leaving that job and was working for Hickory Farms in the mall,” she explained. “But I knew I needed something full-time. I saw this ad in the paper where a dealership was looking for a cashier, so I applied.”
Sandy got the job. She started working as a cashier for Holtz House of Vehicles.
She didn’t stay a cashier for long, though.
“In the car business, there’s always an opportunity to grow,” Sandy explained. “They needed a Honda warranty clerk, so I started doing that. Three months into working here, they needed an accounting clerk, so I moved into the office as an accounting deal clerk for three years. Then they needed a title clerk, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll try that’ and that’s where I’ve been for 32 years.”
Along with a willingness to take on new responsibilities, Sandy went through a new experience for her: ownership transition.
“John Holtz, our previous owner, was ready to retire,” she said. “He was looking to sell his businesses and Garber ended up buying the stores. I’ve never been through a company change. Everyone was nervous about it. But it worked out. It went very smoothly. We got hired by Garber and everything transitioned into Garber smoothly. Garber made it very easy for everybody.”
She said with Garber came improvements.
“Garber streamlined everything differently, and in a good way,” she said. “Everything became streamlined under that corporate umbrella because they have more resources, so we got more support and more efficiency.”
When Garber told Sandy that all team members would be reading a book called Gung Ho! Turn On the People In Your Organization by Kenneth H. Blanchard, she was intrigued.
So she went to the library.
“I did a little research on it beforehand,” she said. “I took the book out of the library before they gave us a book because I was interested.”
Everyone got a copy of the book, which outlined three key concepts utilizing animals as metaphors for how team members can become inspired and encouraged in the workplace.
- The Spirit of the Squirrel
- The Way of the Beaver
- The Gift of the Goose
As Sandy read the book, her perspective shifted.
“The book makes it really easy to understand what needs to happen for employees to be happy where they work,” she said. “Gung Ho is good because it helps encourage the feeling that everybody is working for the same goal and prioritizing customer service. Garber has a strong community approach to their business.”
The concepts of Gung Ho stay with Sandy – so much so that she gets reminded of the book’s lessons on a daily basis when she leaves work.
“Gung-Ho is one of my favorite memories of working here,” she said. “When I’m walking out of the building to go home, geese will fly by. Every time I hear the geese flying by, I think of Gung Ho and the Gift of the Goose. Gung Ho makes me as an employee stronger, the company stronger, being able to help others and the community stronger.”
Garber lives the Gung Ho lessons.
“The work environment here is relaxed,” she said. “People work together as one to achieve our goals. Everybody works together. It’s a friendly place to work where everyone listens.”
She said the equation for why she stays at Garber is simple: “I like my job and I like the people I work with.”
First concert? Fleetwood Mac in 1977 in Buffalo. We saw the Rumours tour. We were in the nosebleed seats but it was fun.
First car? A 1977 (what a good year) Ford Granada. Blue.
Favorite meal? I don’t really have a favorite meal but I like food in general. Thanksgiving dinner would be at the top of this list.
Three words your friends and family would use to describe you? Patient, dedicated, friendly
An item on your bucket list? I would like to do more traveling, especially going to national and state parks like Yellowstone.