Echoes of 1992

Sept. 1, 2022

Three decades link this year's Operator of the Year and his mentor.

Let me begin by quoting a passage:

“In 1984, after working nearly two decades in the insurance industry, Larry Read began formulating the business plan that led to the creation of the northern California-based Oil Changer fast lube chain.”

That was the opening line of the 1992 NOLN Operator of the Year article featuring Read. At the time of the article, the company had 39 locations. Three decades later, NOLN celebrates current Oil Changers President Eric Frankenberger as the 2022 Operator of the Year.

I might hesitate to open a column about Frankenberger by talking about his former boss, but I don’t think Frankenberger would mind. In our interview, he spoke a lot about the great foundation Read set up in the company and the lessons he shared. 

And hopefully Read is proud of the state of Oil Changers today. The brand surpassed 100 locations earlier this year, and it has added stores in new states. For his part, Frankenberger has been a capable leader. In each interview I’ve had with him over the years, he has always clearly demonstrated a problem to fix and the strategy to fix it. And he’s always giving credit to his team, who make those strategies work.

We get so many nice award nominations each year, so of course we at NOLN like to highlight runners up. This year, I hope you enjoy the story of Ray Gould, who became a shop owner shortly before going on a yearlong deployment with the U.S. Army Reserve. 

The second runner up you’ll read about is Jeffrey Crafton, who runs a network of quick lubes on behalf of the Sayle Oil Company in Mississippi. He has always been an impressive operator who does things the right way—and the numbers he’s produced are direct results.

This is the 33rd edition of NOLN’s Operator of the Year award. Thank you to all who nominated great operators, and please keep letting us know about the triumphs you’re seeing in your field.

Lavana Howard, vanna d. photography
Photo 112175298 © Weerapat Wattanapichayakul |
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez