Operator of the Year: Darrell Muscolino
Owner and operator of five Jiffy Lube service centers in the greater Chicago area, Darrell Muscolino has demonstrated an extreme passion for the fast maintenance industry, earning him this year’s Operator of the Year award.
Muscolino is always eager to share best practices and help others in the industry, sending his team members to other Jiffy Lube centers to conduct training and provide support, all for the good of the brand. While testing out new products and services, he’s thinking of the consumers’ expectations and needs first. With this, he sets a high bar for himself and his team, ensuring his service centers provide an outstanding customer experience both inside and out. While he has a high focus on his own operations, he aims to set the bar high for the industry, too.
In 2019, his efforts were rewarded as his group’s Jiffy Lube Multicare sales grew 108 percent over 2018, holding a low employee turnover rate, and retaining one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the market.
Here’s how Muscolino has invested from the inside out, starting with his staff, all the way to making an impact on his community and beyond.
Investing in His Staff
A hands-on operator, Muscolino’s management style is to keep his employees in focus, actively coaching and mentoring them at the service centers and away from work. He maintains a loyal staff that is eager to grow their skills and elevate the customer experience.
One of Muscolino’s nominators, Mike Baynes, has worked with Muscolino for 10 years. As president of Auto Center Sales, which specializes in selling automotive shops around the nation, Baynes has helped Muscolino sell a business and buy up all of the current stores he owns.
“Darrell’s the kind of guy who is really, really interested in his people,” Baynes says. “He makes sure to reinvest in his business, not only the physical plant, but the people.”
A big part of investing in his employees comes from investing in training. When Jiffy Lube rolled out Multicare—offering services on brakes, tires, batteries, spark plugs, and more full-service options—Jiffy Lube laid out the guidelines, but there wasn’t a structure in their facilities to take them from a quick lube to a Multicare operation. To fill the gap, Muscolino and his Chicago network launched initiatives with third party vendors to roll out training. In 2016, the shops started working with Garage Gurus, who helped them put a program together and launch it nationally. The program, known as the Jiffy Lube University Program, consists of week-long, computer-based training for Jiffy Lube employees. The best part? They’re getting paid to learn.
To this day, many operators utilize the program in their operations, and Jiffy Lube Inc. adopted the program and put its own spin on it with a few enhancements here and there. It added video-based training, as well as quizzes and tests with the help of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) so techs can get certifications.
Muscolino’s goal creating this program was to create a culture within his organization to retain employees.
“It’s not just a quick lube anymore; it’s a career path,” Muscolino says.
Investing in His Network
Muscolino has established himself as a leader, and according to one nomination, he’s considered a visionary in the Jiffy Lube franchise network. He’s the president of the Chicagoland Jiffy Lube Franchisee Co-op and vice president of the Jiffy Lube Association of Franchisees, an association encompassing 289 entities operating just shy of 2,000 franchises. On top of that, he was recently honored with the Jiffy Lube Franchisee of the Year Award. With all of his success, however, he’s always looking to pass on his knowledge to other franchisees, and learn a thing or two from them as well.
“In our system and franchisee community, there’s a vast amount of knowledge and talent out there,” Muscolino says. “The only way you get to fill your head with knowledge is building relationships with these operators.”
Over the years, Baynes has come to realize just how much he does for the industry and helping those around him, including other franchisees.
“He’s had some tremendous successes and he’s willing to help someone else achieve that same thing,” he says.
Baynes explains one instance where a shop became available to purchase. He says Muscolino could have easily bought the place himself to expand his franchise network, but, instead, he sought out the perfect franchisee for that business and helped them buy it, giving someone else the opportunity.
“He basically took them by the hand and helped them do it,” Baynes says. “That just tells me a lot about a human being.”
“I’m only as good as the people around me” - Darrell Muscolino
Investing in His Community
While Muscolino is active in every aspect of the Jiffy Lube network, he also strives to be active in the community. He holds multiple leadership positions in local organizations, including the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association and the St. Charles East High School Automotive Program. His commitment to philanthropy is best noted, however, with his involvement in the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Muscolino says he’s been a supporter of this organization for as long as he can remember, but wanted to make an even bigger impact as a leader in the Jiffy Lube network.
In 2015, he went to all of his business partners about organizing a charity golf outing, with the goal to raise money to send at least 100 kids to summer camp. This year, he wanted the cause to make a bigger impact. So, Muscolino and his staff took a little field trip to the summer camp to donate their time for the day. Even the Jiffy Lube corporate leadership team flew in to donate their time, too.
“I wanted to show them exactly why they do what they do for this organization,” Muscolino says.
The trip sure made its impact on his staff and the leadership team. The 2019 annual Chicagoland Jiffy Lube Golf Classic was able to raise over $100,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“A lot of the franchisees are really connected to their communities,” Muscolino says. “I thought it was important for the Chicagoland market to do more.”