|Forward Thinking - Athena Hilts of Fix Auto made learning her first goal.|
|Friday, 05 December 2008 14:37|
Athena Hilts knows what it’s like to be the new kid on the block. When she started at Fix Auto, not only was the company new to the Ontario market, Hilts herself was brand-new to the industry. She regularly talks to franchisees who have owned their shops for 20 or even 25-plus years. “When I say that I’ve been in the collision repair industry for six years, that’s nothing!” she says with a laugh. Her days are busy. As the director of sales and marketing, she often has to ask herself “What hat am I going to wear today?” From her main focuses of insurance and marketing calendars to working on the development of office staff, her days are certainly varied. As she receives Fix Auto’s Web-CMS daily reports, she discusses and tracks Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with insurance partners and strives to maintain Fix Auto’s impressive customer service satisfaction rate.
One can’t help but wonder when she gets the chance to see her husband of six years and her two-year-old Leila. A graduate of Sheridan College in business/real estate and french, Hilts started in sales, a career path she followed for eight years. She didn’t even think she was looking for a job when a headhunter called
her and asked if she wanted to update her resume for a new job in the collision repair industry. “Collision seemed very different then doing communication for TSX companies,” she says. “I came for the interview and met some really interesting people. I thought ‘this is definitely not the collision repair industry I think of as a consumer,’ fell in love with the people and decided to learn more about company.” What she learned was that Fix Auto’s philosophy was “New, innovative, forward-thinking; something I wanted to be a part of,” says Hilts.
She certainly feels that being new to the industry was to her benefit, because it enabled her to learn from the best right from the start. “I just worked as a sponge in the beginning to learn,” she says. She adds that when you don’t know the answer you shouldn’t be shy to ask questions. “As a sales person if you don’t ask the questions and you don’t understand the need you don’t know if you can fulfill it,” she explains. Where does she see the industry
headed in the next five years? “I see the next five years as an exciting time, “she says. “With all of the consolidation to both the insurance and collision repair industries, collision repair facilities will need to have a strong technology offering that will provide the KPI’s necessary to measure their performance.” In addition, Hilts sees the overall environmental sustainability of shops as being an issue of increasing importance over the next decade. “You hear a lot of the buzz words like ‘waterborne’ being used. I think it’s deeper than that. It’s the sustainability of the shops. Repair over replace, recycling and reusing at the shops. Reducing on every level. It’s more than just saying ‘We’re completely waterborne’ when you think about being sustainable and environmentally friendly.’ As for her daughter, would Hilts encourage her to pursue a career in the collision repair industry? “Absolutely. As a woman, Fix Auto allowed me to grow and have a fulfilling career. Plus, I work with some of the best people in the world.”
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2008 13:46|