Managing Family Business Dynamics [THA 218]

Judy Zimmerman Walter is co-owner with her uncles and the CFO of, this 57-year young service business. Zimmerman’s Automotive, Mechanicsburg, PA is a true blue ‘family enterprise’ with 12 out of a team of 29 team members that are ‘IN THE FAMILY’. Zimmerman’s is a top automotive repair facility along with a quick lube and a used car division.

Among her involvement: Women’s Board of the Car Care Council, AASP-PA Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, and the Auto Care Association. Listen to Judy’s other episodes HERE.

Joe Hanson owns Gordie’s Garage. Joe has attended Management Success, NAPA training, Lawrence Tech University and most recently he is a member of the RLO 20 Group 13. He has earned his ASE C1: Automobile Service Consultant Certification. Under his father’s leadership, he has seen what it really takes to make a business like this work. Listen to Joe’s Episodes HERE.

John Klarkowski


Key Talking Points:

  • Growing up in the family business and deciding to work in the family business
    • Judy’s Rule: You have to work 2 years somewhere else first, instead of expecting/assuming them to work in the family business 
    • Finding your own way first then can always circle back to the family business later
    • “I’m here because I have to be here” mentality is a responsibility that will lead to resentment long term
    • Introduce to beginning stages- cleaning shop
  • Team concept and positive culture
    • Treat employees like family
    • Everyone’s treated the same
    • Family dynamics have to be separate
  • Allowing failure
    • No favoritism
    • Failure is learning
    • Giving space- share your own mistakes but don’t try to intervene 
    • “Quarterbacking” instead of forcing a certain way 
  • Regretful or grateful
    • Heightened emotions with family
    • Not giving things time to work out, treating family members with disrespect
    • Experience trumps new ideas
    • Let your family members know your feelings- call them after work
  • Nurturing the following generation
    • Guidance and positive reinforcement, moral support 
    • Put things in perspective about the journey 
  • Advice 
    • Recognize if you work well together or not well together 
    • Recognize your communication style among family members
    • Family issues and business issues are checked at the door- no fighting in front of other employees
    • Keep it simple- find out/analyze whole story first then react after
    • Focus on celebrating it is a family business and working together


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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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