Randy Whitworth is a longtime Mr. Transmission franchisee, owning two stores in Alabama. It should probably come as no surprise that each of his three children have followed his footsteps into the auto repair business.
Randy’s father was a mechanic and his brother is a builder at his Pelham store, so car repair “is in the family’s blood”. Randy recalled his children coming into the shop before or after school when they were younger and pretending to fix cars and work behind the desk to talk to the customers. They were drawn to the business and as an added bonus, they were able to spend extra time with their father and learn from him when visiting the store.
Years later, Randy beams with pride when talking about how his children have each carved out successful careers in the auto repair industry. “I’ve really been blessed. They are all wonderful children. I still have some things to teach them, but I feel really good about how successful they have been.”
His oldest daughter, Kimberly, opened her own Mr. Transmission/Milex store in early June after coordinating the sales, marketing, advertising and administrative responsibilities for both shops for the past 12 years. His daughter, Amberly, is the Center Manager at the Hoover store while his son, Randell, works in the same role at the Pelham location.
The Whitworth children started their careers by working part-time in the Mr. Transmission stores during summer break while they were in high school. When they returned to school in the fall, Randy quickly realized just how valuable they had become.
“I found I really missed them when they went back to school because they were so productive in the shop,” said Randy. “When they went back, I said, ‘My Lord, it felt like I lost a key employee. What am going to do without them?’”
They each came back when they were finished with school and became full-time employees. Despite the close relationship they had with their father, their time working in the store has always been professional with no preferential treatment over other staff members. It has always been “Randy” and not “Dad” while at the shop.
Looking back, Randell laughed at an early lesson his father taught him. “I’ll never forget when I handed him a dirty screwdriver when I first started working here and he looked at me and said, ‘You don’t ever hand your boss a dirty tool.’ I remembered that and ever since then, I make sure to keep my tools clean. I thought that was funny and that has always stuck with me.”
Kimberly, Amberly and Randell each speak glowingly about their father and how he runs the business. Whether it is his knowledge of cars or being able to develop relationships with the customers and put them at ease, they said they learn something new from him every day.
“Any time a builder would have trouble on a unit, he would only need to look at it for a few seconds and be able to diagnose the problem,” said Kimberly. “He has a natural feel for what he does. In watching how he operates, it made me strive to be as good as he was on the job. Even if I didn’t have the natural ability to repair cars, I wanted to be like him.”
Randy has thought about the future and said he plans on training his children all aspects of the business before passing it on to them. In the meantime, the family plans to get together on Father’s Day for a cookout on Lay Lake, where they will also do some boating and fishing. They will have fun that day and then return to work the next day, where they all agree the best part is the time they get to spend together.
“Being able to see him every day and spend time with my dad is the most enjoyable part of the job,” said Amberly. “Especially as I’ve gotten older and life becomes busier, a lot of people don’t get to see their family as much as you would like. I enjoy that I am able to see him and learn from him every day. He is a very smart man and I still have a lot to learn from him.”