Longtime Moran Family of Brands franchise owner George Kok received the 2021 Franchisee of the Year honor for the impact he is making on the Mr. Transmission brand.
George Kok began his tenure with Moran in 1981, when he started working at the Mr. Transmission in Louisville, Kentucky. He worked as a center manager and in the operations department before purchasing the store in February 1983. Kok expanded his business 15 years ago when he opened a co-branded Mr. Transmission/Milex store in nearby Clarksville, Indiana. The two locations are approximately 15 miles away from each other, which makes the back-office operations of managing two businesses easier for Kok. This 2021 Franchisee of the Year award for Mr. Transmission marks the first time Kok received this top honor.
While his first location had always done simple repair work, adding the co-branded location allowed them to establish themselves as a great presence in the community as a one-stop shop for customers. While transmission work is lucrative, it is a complex process, and it can be difficult to find skilled technicians. Offering more services also allows them to be competitive with other aftermarket auto shops that are also expanding their lineup of repairs. “I think the Milex concept is outstanding,” Kok said. “You either diversify or die.”
Moran Family of Brands franchises six different concepts in the aftermarket auto and window tinting industry, including Milex Complete Auto Care, Mr. Transmission, and Turbo Tint. The company has a long history of experience helping people pursue entrepreneurship in the auto industry. Moran makes it a priority to provide excellent hands-on support for its franchisees. Franchise owners always have the ability to contact a peer in the Moran network when they encounter a problem. Relying on best practices from other franchisees is one of the keys to Kok’s success.
Franchise Camaraderie Key to Success
The 2021 Franchisee of the Year honor is one of the top awards Moran’s franchise community distributes annually. All of the system’s franchisees vote on a small group of franchisees chosen each year to recognize. The franchisees evaluate certain criteria required to win the award, including being a past recipient of the award of excellence, are in good standing with paying royalties, and place special focus on mentoring and testing programs.
Kok likens the spirit of Mr. Transmission’s franchisees to a college fraternity with chapters throughout the country. He relies on their guidance and advice to help his own locations flourish. Being able to pick up the phone and ask someone else for advice or discuss how they worked through a difficult repair situation is a lifesaver. Kok also prides himself on helping other franchisees when they have their own concerns.
Kok said Moran encourages its franchisees to get together and talk about certain issues or “war stories” during regional meetings. Sharing difficult hurdles helps develop a bond and relationship with other franchisees and makes each franchisee better.
“It is in all of our interests to help each other. A franchise is only as strong as its weakest location. We all want each other to do well,” he added.
Kok is also quick to credit his loyal and hard-working staff for the success both shops have experienced over the years. He values their skills and dedication to the job, with some employees working there for 25 years. In addition to running a successful operation, these relationships foster a family atmosphere.
“I’ve been blessed to have some very talented employees at both of my shops that make my job easier each day,” said Kok. “Without them, I wouldn’t have anything.”
Military Tenure Provides Solid Base for Future Success
Before starting his career at Moran, Kok spent nearly four years in the U.S. Army. He started his training in Fort Knox in August 1969. He started training with Chinook helicopters at Fort Eustis in Virginia. He learned flight control and utility operations for the hydraulic systems of the helicopters. After spending one year at Fort Eustis, he was promoted to sergeant and served several more years at multiple bases before receiving his honorary discharge in February 1973. His son, George, followed in his footsteps, served in Afghanistan, and is currently a member of the Marine Corps Reserve.
“I received excellent training in the military about the hydraulic systems in helicopters, which I now apply to automotive transmissions,” Kok said. “I also learned the importance of discipline, accountability, and chain of command, which has been the core of my operations as a franchise owner for more than 30 years. There is a business hierarchy with customers, employees, vendors, and others, and it is my job as a franchise owner to oversee this interworking system and make sure it runs correctly.”
Learn More About Moran
If you are ready to learn more about a franchisor with a long history of success and unique franchise culture, visit www.moranfamilyofbrands.com for more information.