Veteran staff members from four locations among 135 celebrating more than a decade of service during second quarter
Here’s a sampling of four Luther Auto employees who reached 16 years of service or more in the second quarter. They talk briefly about what they’ve done and why they’ve stayed with the group for so long.
Rob Vovk, GM, Collision & Glass– Plymouth
1. How did you get started with Luther? My first job was as an estimator at the Abra franchise in Brooklyn Park. I was (previously) on the mechanical end of it, a service writer at an independent shop and was interested in auto body. Luther always owned the Abra since I was there. They switched it to Luther Collision and Glass in the spring of 2004.
2. Share with us the dealerships/facilities you’ve worked for: I worked for the Brooklyn Park facility for 13 years and for three years at new (Plymouth) facility.
3. What positions? Estimator and co-general manager of the Brooklyn Park facility, GM at Brooklyn Park and then GM at the Plymouth facility.
4. Why have you stayed with Luther? It’s a great company to work for. The family, I guess, is what’s been the best part– feeling like you’re part of the family.
5. What’s one of your funnier memories? Maybe the funniest thing is taking two brand new 2012 VW Beetles, painting them Peep yellow and then taking two (very large) peeps and painting them peep yellow for Easter. The Peeps were mounted on top. That’s probably the craziest thing that we’ve every painted. When they rolled that stuff through the door, it’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ The painter said now he had painted everything there was to paint. The closest color was 1973 Volkswagen Beetle Sunburst Yellow.
Jill Harp, Payroll Administrator, John Hirsch’s Cambridge Motors
1. How did you get started with Luther? I was a receptionist then the cashier, then I did warranties, a little titling. I did a little billing, a little bit of everything … now I’m the payroll administrator.
2. Share with us the dealerships/facilities you’ve worked for: John Hirsch’s Cambridge Motors opened the year before I started.
3. Why have you stayed with Luther? It’s just a great place to work. Everybody here, it’s like a family. Our motto has always been that things are different here and they really are. It’s a small town with friendly people and the customers are great.
4. What’s one of your funnier memories? The weirdest thing was working here when we were doing remodeling, adding on to the building. At that time I was the cashier … Everybody else was way back in our cleanup department and our car wash. They … had that set up for our office staff. John Hirsch’s office was in what is now the break room. The salespeople were back in detail. Everybody was real cozy in the back. I worked up front here anyway, with all the dust and the dirt with all the hammering behind me. I was the only one.
Minh Le, Technician, Hopkins Honda
[With translation assistance from Assistant Service Manager Caroline Gates]
1. How did you get started with Luther? On June 3, 1984, I started at the old building. (As a young man) I worked on engines and motorcycles a little and started from there, then went to … Minneapolis Community and Technical College. They don’t do automotive anymore. Because I’ve got a lot of hand skills, (Le makes some of his own tools to help him do his job) it’s kind of interesting.
2. Share with us the dealerships/facilities you’ve worked for: Just one, Hopkins Honda.
3. What positions? Journeyman technician.
4. Why have you stayed with Luther? I liked it … right here there are a lot of kind friendships and you form relationships between the manager and workers here … I learn from them and they learn from me. We work together. That’s the one thing.
5. What’s one of your funnier memories? A lot of funny things have happened, I just can’t remember them, because I keep concentrating and working on that. I am a serious guy.
Dana Funk, Controller, Park Place Motor Cars
1. How did you get started with Luther? I came out of college with an accounting finance degree. At this dealership, it was as an office manager … or business manager. We had Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes when I first started. We picked up the BMW franchise six to 10 years later. It was Rochester Volkswagen.
2. Share with us the dealerships/facilities you’ve worked for: Only this one.
3. What positions? Office manager, controller.
4. Why have you stayed with Luther? The people, and being able to be involved in decision making … the people relationships.
5. What’s one of your funnier memories? My staff, when I go on vacation. They try and make sure that I know that they’ve been there, so they usually do something to my office.
I go to Florida in January after year-end is closed out. One year they filled my office full of balloons, wrote me a note, and left me a picture of it. ‘Dear Mr. Controller, You’ll be pleased to know that our balloon blowing activities on Thursday and Friday were an excellent team building experience for everyone who participated in the store. It was a great opportunity for new employees in the office to bond and gain common ground.
The office also brought parts, service and office staff together, all working together toward a common goal. Morale was good and everybody still got their work done. Hope you had a relaxing vacation.’ There was a time when they put gree
n tablecloths and wrapping paper all over my office and hung golf balls all over (another time) they tin-foiled the whole office up. The bad one was when they filled it full of tires– that was really bad … the worst smelling old rubber.