A registered professional engineer by training, Jim Dietvorst had a rewarding career as a design engineer. Working for major engineering firms, he designed a wide variety of items, ranging from pumps and turbines to medical equipment. He made it to the ranks of upper management.
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But about 12 years ago, at age 45, he tired of the politics of the corporate world and decided to become his own boss. As he researched various opportunities, he learned about Cottman, a transmission brand that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. He liked what he saw, especially the fact that the Cottman center specialized in one key aspect of automotive maintenance – the transmission and drivetrain.
So Jim found a location at 2630 South Broadway, equipped it with state-of-the-art diagnostic and repair equipment, found a reliable team of employees, and opened the first Cottman center in Denver in June, 2003.
The shop did so well that Jim was named Cottman's "Rookie of the Year." By his second year, his center approached $2 million in sales and it's grown steadily since, making it a high performer in the Cottman network.
Six years ago, Jim acquired a second Cottman center when he took over an existing location at 4895 Ward Rd. in suburban Wheat Ridge, just west of Denver. That center has seen its sales rise every year.
Jim attributes his success to a few factors. "The key," he says, "is to find the right people and give them the best equipment to work with. We also try to maintain a supportive atmosphere that encourages people to strive to do their best to satisfy our customers consistently."
"Cottman has a reputation for quality and integrity," he adds. "We try to maintain that reputation locally by running an honest and fair business. That continues to be why we get lots of referrals, which makes us proud. It's the best way to get new business."
The Cottman man gives back to the community in a variety of ways. A proud veteran who served six years in the Navy, mainly on submarines, he understands the value of service. "The centers support several local groups, but we also encourage our employees to pitch in and help in the community," he says.
Jim and his workers participate in "extreme community makeovers" where volunteers go into a neighborhood and help with exterior clean-ups and painting. "If a neighborhood looks run down, it has a negative impact on the people living there. This project tried to reverse that," he says.
The Cottman centers also support a local women's shelter, a youth anti-gang program and the local food bank. "It's the right thing to do as neighbors in the community," Jim says.
The Cottman of Denver can be reached at www.cottmanofdenver.com. For Cottman of Wheat Ridge, visit www.cottmanofwheatridge.com.
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