About Alderwood Auto Repair
A Q&A Session with the owners of Alderwood Auto Repair in Lynnwood
The owner, Eric Marshall, was born into the automotive repair industry. His dad raced cars and owned a repair shop in Seattle for over 30 years. As a young boy, Eric remembers working alongside his dad rebuilding cylinder heads on the kitchen table. This Q&A session will help you know a bit more about Eric and his life.
What draws you to the automotive industry?
My dad opened an auto repair shop the year I was born. I grew up kicking tires in his shop and started my work as a technician there. While I find fixing cars and auto repair interesting at this point in my life I am most interested in ownership and building a business that reflects my values.
What draws you to business ownership?
Personally, I was ready for the next level in the auto industry. With experience in direct repair work, writing service, and managing, I am ready to take on the challenge of ownership. I am interested in creating a business that will run to the standard we create even if I am not on site.
From a broader perspective, I am interested in giving back to our community. As a business owner I will have the opportunity to be directly involved in supporting local organizations that provide important resources in our region.
Can you describe some of the more complicated repairs you’ve done?
Early on in my career I removed, completely disassembled, and rebuilt an automatic transmission on a 1984 Honda Accord. That job requires the removal and tracking of around 400 individual parts. I had to create an organization system to ensure that nothing was lost and that all the pieces went back where they belong. Putting it back together and having it fire up was a pretty exciting experience!
Your tagline for the shop is “Building a culture of trust.” What other values do you want to build into the business?
Integrity, honesty, and care for others are foundational to who we are as a family. I am committed to reflecting these values in our operations as a small business. We are an employee centered company and are working to ensure our employees know how valuable they are.
What are the rewarding parts of being an owner of Alderwood Auto Repair?
Well, this is a new gig for me, but so far I am enjoying building systems and processes to better serve our clients. I also really love meeting all of our wonderful neighbors and the beginning of long term relationships.
Beyond technical skill, what are some of the things you look for as you hire technicians and service writers?
We are looking for employees who have strong character and demonstrate integrity. We want our employees to reflect our core values of trust, honesty, and care for others.
What changes do you foresee in the next ten years of the auto industry? How will those changes impact auto repair business?
Car operating systems, like everything in the world, are becoming more technologically advanced. Hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace. There is a new and increased demand on technician skill set. Things are changing faster than they used to. What was once a simple mechanical repair now often requires deeper electronic and computer knowledge. Part of my job is to stay up to date on current technologies and equip our technicians to do the same.
What are some of the ways you keep up to date in the auto repair industry?
I read various automotive repair publications, keep my ASE certifications up to date, and attend automotive conferences focused on repair and business ownership.
What do you like doing besides working at Alderwood Auto Repair?
I love all things sports! Playing basketball, coaching my daughter’s teams, and supporting our Seattle teams by attending regional games.
Karly Kline Marshall ~ Co-Owner Extraordinaire
Karly Kline Marshall is Eric’s wife and co-owner of Alderwood Auto Repair. A life-long educator, Karly has worked as a paraprofessional, a teacher, and as an administrator in the Edmonds School District. Karly brings her strong interpersonal skills, her clear communication, commitment to quality, and joy of life to every task she does!
Why do you want to start a business?
Personally, I am interested in developing something from the ground up. Building systems and procedures that are durable beyond me is super fun! I am also drawn to ownership as an opportunity to give back and spread some good in the world. As employers we are able to offer work to others. In addition to the ability to earn a living, I am committed to helping our employees grow professionally and pursue their individual goals.
We know that “building a culture of trust” is the Alderwood Auto Repair tagline, what other values would you like to see exemplified in the business relationships built through Alderwood Auto Repair?
Integrity, belonging, and growth. The automotive repair industry sometimes has a negative reputation. I am committed to building a new narrative by creating a place where ALL are welcome and feel a sense of belonging! We are working to build a business that reflects inclusive and representative practices. I am committed to doing my own work around culturally responsive and equitable practices and better equipping myself to be an ally.
What are the strengths you bring to Alderwood Auto Repair?
I am friendly and easy to talk to! I genuinely care about all who walk through our doors and hope to convey this in the way I interact. I am transparent and direct in communication. I take systemic approaches to existing and novel experiences. Once I understand a problem I am typically able to find a solution. I am good at collaborating and creating space for multiple voices to be heard.
How have your years of experience in education prepared you to be co-owner of Alderwood Auto Repair?
A lifetime of experience in education in a variety of roles has well equipped me to move into business ownership. I build rapport quickly, competently navigate conflict and contentious interactions, create and implement systems and reflect and monitor for effectiveness from a system wide view all the way down to micro-level.
How active a role would you like to take in the business?
At this point, I am not on site everyday, but am actively working in the background on website development and HR components. I absolutely love working in the front office with customers and take every opportunity I can to be present in that way!
Have you ever wanted to learn to be an auto technician?
Mechanical work is an intellectual challenge for me! I am a relationship centered, creative thinker and the linear and more logical parts of repair work do not come naturally for me. However, I really enjoy learning to repair and maintain my own car. Servicing my brakes and performing other basic repairs gives me a deep sense of accomplishment. I would love to have a project car to tinker around on, but an older vintage model Chevy, not a newer hybrid vehicle.
Can you share an interaction with a company in the auto industry that has either inspired you to be like them or been a bad example of how to do business?
I have seen many business owners over the years and there are two consistent themes I do not want to replicate. First, owning a job vs owning a business. Some business owners do not build systems that are durable beyond them and end up in-disposable. While I am invested in the operations, I want to build a business that is able to operate to the standards we outline whether we are on site or not. Second, viewing customers and employees as commodities. While the exchange of money for service is a critical part of what we do, it is not the foundation we anchor to. We are committed to anchoring in relationships of trust that reflect value and care.
When you think of auto repair, what are three things that pop into your mind?
Critical infrastructure, challenging, endlessly interesting!
What are some of the things you look for as you hire technicians and service writers for Alderwood Auto Repair?
We are looking for employees that reflect the values our business is anchored in; honesty, integrity, inclusiveness and care for all. We are well equipped to train and support the development of technical skills required to service and repair cars and advise in service. We are most interested in employing a diverse and representative staff who are strong in character.
The owners and staff at Alderwood Auto Repair in Lynnwood are always here for all your automotive needs with their own uniquely forged a Culture of Trust driving everything they do in and around the shop next to Alderwood Mall.
Alderwood Auto Repair serves Snohomish County and beyond. Based in Lynnwood we welcome customers from surrounding Mill Creek area, Edmonds, Everett, Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Woodinville, Mukilteo, Shoreline, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Marysville, Arlington, Lake Stevens and Monroe. We service all makes and models of vehicles. We specialize in Asian and domestic vehicles, but also service European vehicles as well as some medium to heavy duty vehicles.