Honoring the 2017 Technician of the Year

Jan. 30, 2017
At 38 years of age, Justin Boyd could be considered wise beyond his years, but by his own accounts, he’s also lucky just to be alive. Today, he spends part of what little free time he has helping at-risk youths steer their lives back on course, helping them avoid the mistakes he made. You wouldn’t know it today from his upbeat demeanor, pleasant personality and constant smile on his face, but just a few years ago Boyd was very much headed in the wrong direction like the young men he now mentors. He was the black sheep of the

At 38 years of age, Justin Boyd could be considered wise beyond his years, but by his own accounts, he’s also lucky just to be alive. Today, he spends part of what little free time he has helping at-risk youths steer their lives back on course, helping them avoid the mistakes he made. You wouldn’t know it today from his upbeat demeanor, pleasant personality and constant smile on his face, but just a few years ago Boyd was very much headed in the wrong direction like the young men he now mentors. He was the black sheep of the family, never someone you’d want to count on for just about anything. He was certainly not what you’d call a giver. “I’m not ashamed to say it,” Boyd admitted in a candid conversation. “I was a taker at one point and thought only of myself. I had an addiction to drugs, and I was a very selfish person.” A few years ago, Oilstop Inc. president, Larry Dahl, probably wouldn’t have wanted to have Boyd as a customer, let alone see him as a trusted employee on a fast track up the corporate ladder. However, through faith, community and a simple desire not to be that person, Boyd has turned his life around. Dahl not only calls him a friend, but also nominated the Petaluma, California, man to be the 2017 National Oil & Lube News Technician of the Year. Today, Dahl sees the type of employee he is proud to have working at Oilstop Inc. “We have great people like Justin at every shop,” Dahl said. “They are our mission statement in action, and Justin really embraces our mission statement. That isn’t just with our guests, but also with all of his fellow staff members. Justin’s great attitude lifts the entire staff. We know and embrace that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ for everyone — staff members, guests and the company. Everyone wins!”

Ambassador of Change One irony of Boyd’s life is that he should have been headed for good things — even if there were hurdles along the way. His father had overdosed from heroin when Boyd was a young man, but as a gifted student, he graduated from high school early and began taking classes at City College of San Francisco at age 17. That is when he took a detour and became a very different person. “I saw these young men who looked like they were rich, had nice clothes, nice things and they didn’t work hard,” Boyd said. “I was drawn to the life of street gangs, and instead of it raising me, it took me down.” Instead of finding a way to easy street, Boyd became addicted to drugs and was often homeless. Time in prison didn’t even turn this bright, talented young man around. “I was down and out, running around with gangs, carrying a gun,” Boyd said. “I wasn’t what you’d call a good person.” It is often said, you have to hit rock bottom to truly rise to the occasion to become a better person. Boyd and his then-girlfriend, Marichris, were as close to bottom as anyone can get when she found out she was pregnant. Neither Boyd nor Marichris were what anyone would consider ideal parents at the time, but this seemingly unwanted child was the catalyst to letting them find their way back. As Marichris prepared to have an abortion, Boyd spoke to members of the St. Juan Diego Women’s Center, which offers help for pregnant women and their babies. It was from one simple conversation that the once-selfish, even arrogant, drug-addicted young man realized he didn’t have to continue on that path to self-destruction. “It is safe to say that Justin and Marichris were addicts, and that had a powerful pull on their lives,” Dahl said. “They weren’t happy with who they were, but both were so happy to get out of that lifestyle. Now, he and his lovely wife have two beautiful children. Tristan, their son, who is two and a half, and their daughter, Bella, who is one year old are why Justin gets up each morning and has a smile on his face throughout the day.” From a nightmare of addiction, Boyd is now living what could be called the American dream. He works hard, has a good loving family, he’s close with his coworkers and he gives back to the community. He may not live in a mansion, but he found there is more to life than a desire for material possessions or just living for the moment. “National Oil & Lube News’ selection of Justin is a really good example of how someone was able to get a hold of his life,” said Gary Woo, Marketing director at Oilstop Inc. “Larry is here to change lives, and Justin is a good example of someone whose life has been changed for the better. He’s gone from tough times to being about as productive and caring as anyone we know. He’s turned his life around, and it’s been great to observe. We couldn’t be more proud of Justin.” One irony in his transformation is that Boyd found perfect fit at Oilstop Inc., because in his dark days his selfishness included a passion for cars. Today, he’s now rich in spirit and heart, which are more important than money in the bank. “Back then, I wanted the nice things, expensive cars and it was one of the most important things in my life,” Boyd said. “Today, I value more spiritual things, and I don’t think a car is the most important thing in my life. But I also understand guests who come do love their cars, and I respect that. I also love the way automobiles are made, and I absolutely love working on them. This is a great job. I spend my days working on cars that mean so much to people.” Today, Boyd treats every car as if it is a Ferrari owned by a prince and looks past whether it is new or old. Instead, it’s knowing the car can be something someone loves to drive or something someone drives just to get to work and pick up their kids. Understanding the importance of cars, especially in California where it can be nearly impossible to live without one, is something Boyd takes to heart. “I absolutely know how important a car is to people,” he explained. “For many people, it is the most valuable possession after their home, and I want them to have the confidence to know I’ll treat it as well as I possibly can. It doesn’t matter to me if your car is worth $500 or $50,000 — I know what it means to you, and I treat it with equal respect.”

The Technical Know-How Since starting at Oilstop Inc. in September 2015, Boyd has never just gone through the motions. He has taken his job seriously, and he understands it isn’t just being able to work on cars — today’s technicians need to be a mix of old-school mechanics, IT support staff and customer service experts all rolled into one. “Things are getting more technical with the computers in cars,” Boyd admitted, adding that he’s always been ready to learn more to stay on top of the changes. “One thing that Oilstop Inc. has invested in us as employees is a comprehensive training program. We have three Certification Training Manuals, training videos, audio aids, leadership training, classes and seminars, and we have the opportunity to continue to learn. We should never be at a point where we need to stop learning. If you are going to be good at your job, you need to continue to grow and continue to learn.” Boyd credits a lot of this to Oilstop Inc.’s “Five P’s,” which state, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” “I’m fortunate that we’ve been given the right tools from Oilstop Inc.,” he added. “I believe progress is a process. I definitely want to grow. I want to be the best in what I do. I believe God opens doors, and I have to say I’m grateful in where my life has taken me.” This isn’t to say that when Boyd, a newly recovered addict, walked in the door, there weren’t doubts. “There are always concerns and doubts that some people might not work, but when you see how passionate Justin was and how he was working to turn things around, we knew this could turn out to be something special,” Dahl said. “Justin is a super example that you can have some faith in people.” In many ways, the Oilstop Inc. business model very much suited the new and improved Boyd. The business has never been about pushing services on their guests — and a key to that is, unlike many service businesses, Oilstop Inc. doesn’t see those who drive up as just customers. “If you are thoughtful, gracious, hospitable, kind, respectful and honest, sales will happen if the people have the funds and feel you are competent,” Dahl said. “It might seem that this is a backward business model, because in business, people push sales. But our staff members are very good at what they do, and by not practicing the above, it’s not fun and doesn’t work well. If you are simply there to make money, you will make less of it. Justin and our service teams understand this, and that is why our shops do well.” Oilstop Inc. continues to stress that it is necessary to be kind, thoughtful and respectful — and Boyd, who is also a master of hospitality, is all of the above. Not only does Boyd’s shop do well, but Dahl also explained the shop consistently has a strong performance. “It isn’t how much I make in sales,” Boyd is quick to note. “I’m not big on numbers, what matters is the impression I leave on the guests.”

No I in Team Boyd has clearly shown his ability to be an earner for the shop, but he will be the first to say he is just one cog in the machine. There might be an I in Justin Boyd’s name, but he truly lives by the motto that there is no “I” in team. He considers his fellow employees both teammates and friends, and Boyd believes the real meaning of team is, “Together everyone achieves more.” The 2017 Technician of the Year said this starts from the top-down. “My manager, Zachary, leads by example,” Boyd said. “That is where it starts every day. I respect him. He, I and the rest of the guys couldn’t do it without each other. So while this is a great personal honor for me, and I really can’t say how much it means to me, this isn’t about me. I’m just one person receiving this honor. I know when I’m not at the shop, they’re giving it their all. That includes Christian, Clemente, Trenton and Fermin. They are all great guys, and I love working with them.” In many ways, this is a team much like athletes on a football field, and each one has a position to play. When they work as a team they win, Boyd added. He said he wants every day to be another winning day. “It is like the plays being called,” Boyd explained. “This is why the training goes into it, and it is about respecting the process and respecting each other. The company’s procedures allow us to be extremely efficient, and it is designed to build our confidence and earn the trust of our guests. We are very fortunate to be well-trained, have excellent benefits and make above industry wages.” This allows him to brighten the day of those people he serves. “I’m able to bless people because this isn’t just about changing oil,” Boyd said. “It is about making people smile. It is a joy to see them smile. I was welcomed with open arms when I started here, and I didn’t see that much in my life. I like how we are treated as employees — in the shop and in the corporate office. “I don’t think you get an attitude from the president, Mr. Dahl, to Gary, head of marketing, all the way down to the guys on the floor with me. I feel like it is a family, and we’re there to serve our Guests — and that is with a big capital G. We’re doing this to serve them, and we treat them like royalty.” Boyd said that working at Oilstop Inc. allows him to give back, as he can offer his guests a beverage, something as simple as bottled water or coffee to Coke, Diet Coke, 7-Up, hot tea, hot chocolate or apple juice for the kids. “The little things are so important, from our comprehensive list of beverages to the state of the bathroom,” he pointed out. “It might not seem important, but if you can have a pleasant visit, it helps show how we take care of your vehicle, too.”

Giving Back in Other Ways While he remains committed to putting smiles on the faces of guests and team members alike, Boyd remains very active in his church community, where he helps feed the homeless and works with those in dire straits. “I’m not too proud to admit there was a point where I was once homeless and without hope,” Boyd explained. “This is why I do service programs that include feeding the homeless and those in need during the holidays. My other passion is working with at-risk youth.” To this end, he mentors young men on the verge of making serious mistakes, and he tries to be a role model and leader in the community. “I’m giving back, not just because I owe it to myself,” Boyd added. “I’m giving back because I owe it to society and to these young men. My goal is to let them learn from the mistakes I made, so they don’t make the same ones. I was saved, and I owe it to myself to see I help save others from going down the wrong path.” He has also been a guest speaker for the St. Juan Diego Women’s Center and credits them for helping him and Marichris find the strength to clean up their acts and experience the joys of raising a family. They’ve been married for two years, and Boyd is happy to say he is now a super hero of sorts to Tristan and Bella Rose. “I’m not about to tell them they’re wrong,” Boyd explained with a laugh. “I’m truly blessed to have these wonderful, beautiful children in my life. I can’t imagine a day without them, and I do whatever it takes to be the best possible father I can be.” Even for a young man like Boyd, raising two children, working full time and devoting time to the community would be enough to leave most exhausted — but instead of slowing down, he heads to the gym. “The gym is where I go to get relief,” he explained. “I still love sports, and I work out three times a week to stay fit. It allows me to maintain my stamina as the day wears on, because if my energy is low, I can’t be as excited to see the guests. It takes energy to consistently serve people with excellence. I have to keep my heart healthy, so I can do my job, but most of my free time is invested in my children.” Serving people with excellence is what Boyd believes all Americans should strive to do, but he also admitted he knows not every new employee may be suited to a career at Oilstop Inc. — and that’s OK. Instead of breaking down those employees or trying to force them to love it, he offered other advice. “If you are settling for less than you want, you aren’t going to go very far with it,” Boyd said from the heart. “But if you treat everything like gold, you’ll have a golden life. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in life, you need to take pride in it, and you will be better for it. I don’t want to be mediocre at anything. I have goals, and I am ready to give 100 percent.” Boyd may be the 2017 Technician of the Year, but at Oilstop Inc., that may be the beginning rather than a milestone in his career. “We want him to stay forever,” Dahl said. “The next step is for him to become team training manager. He has already earned two certifications, and next, he can become assistant training manager. He doesn’t talk it; he does it.” Whatever Boyd does next, however, chances are, he’ll do it with a smile on his face. “Every day I choose my attitude, and I don’t let bad news get me down,” Boyd explained. “My goal is to put a smile on guests’ faces. Attitude is 90 percent of the battle. There are a lot of special guys at this company who should win this recognition. I really hope to read about them in the years to come.”