RR 358: John Gustafson – ATC: Synchronizing the Automotive Trades

John Gustafson is the president and CEO of Gustafson Brothers, Inc. an auto service center in Huntington Beach, California. The company specializes in customer service and performs auto service work, collision repair, and paintwork along with other auto-related services for the community.

John and brother Frank started the company out of the family garage in 1971 and have enjoyed continuous growth every year since inception.

The personnel count at Gustafson’s shops average 70 team members and guest demand (growth) requires that we recruit and hire more.

John is currently focusing on repairing the talent shortage that is crippling our industry and has formed a not for profit co-op to serve the needs of Gustafson Brothers and the rest of the aftermarket.

At 66 years young and with 47 years in the auto trades, John Gustafson is having a remarkable life and wishes to share his success with those who are interested and willing to make a difference.

The Auto Talent Co-Op is an independent non-profit organization whose vision is to effectively unite resources within the automotive industry, and establish clear career path standards for its users’.

ATC Mission

  • To build a synchronized and accessible platform, able to unite the automotive industry
  • Refill the talent pool for all automotive job-related positions
  • Fulfill the technician shortage, and improve technician retention
  • Streamline career paths, bridge technician skills gap and improve recruitment

ATC Values

  • Integrity & Honesty
  • Dedication & Commitment
  • Education & Imagination
  • Knowledge & Skill

The intent of ATC is to seek out and recognize the great work of all the existing groups and help synchronize the best practices in the industry to benefit all stakeholders.

This auto talent co-op is not a threat to what exists today in the universe of auto.

All existing & future associations, 20 groups, business development groups, vendors, shops and all other members that touch auto remain independent and autonomous. The fact is; all of these groups are essential to the success of the Co-Op and benefit their own group by volunteering a member or funding a member to an action pod.

The Auto Talent Co-Op is not to be led and managed by an individual but rather by a coalition of forward-thinking creative young people. Individuals are selected and sponsored by the industry manufacturers, distributors, vendors, trainers and association members of the Co-Op. The core mission of the coalition is to identify and document auto career paths, organize training and recruiting and to have trained, qualified employable people available to the auto trades industry.


Key Talking Points:

  • Auto talent coop:Non-profit program to improve industry
  • Sign up form on the website to participate and donation form
  • Needed to find talented techniciansAttract best companies willing to give 1 person from their staff for 1 hour a week to be in one of the 5 action pods on a weekly basisCareer path- a foundation for rest of the pods. Encompasses everything in auto care. Example of 6 level of tech training advancement for over 7 years. Earnings tied to performance.
  • Training- in order to move up in career path need documented training. Minimum 3-hour blocks per month.
  • Recruiting- occurs as young as grade school, but also for recruiting for any auto careers. Also for utilizing people ready to retire to train the future generation.
  • Must have- creating buzz for people to join
  • Sustainable- finding funding for coop, creating an app for phones
  • Allows current technicians, middle schoolers, or entry-level technicians to see a career path and stay motivated
  • Sponsors summer/winter camp when school is outIntro to auto camp- 13-18 years old participants. Parents pay $20 per day for class (5 days or 10 days), corporate sponsors that will pay student fee. Hands-on class shows full auto career path.

Other Resources:

Auto Talent Coop Website

Gustafson Brothers Auto Repair Website

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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.

Follow the podcast on your favorite podcast listening app and always listen to learn just one thing!