By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: May 2012
Service and Parts Director Mike Fitzpatrick leads the service department at Classic Chevrolet and is celebrating his 20th year with Classic.
This year marks Mike Fitzpatrick’s 20th year with Classic Chevrolet in Owasso. Mike heads the Classic service department and says he truly enjoys working there. Growing up southeast of Tulsa in Haskell, Mike has a total of 24 years in the automotive business. Prior to joining Classic in 1992, Mike was employed by another dealership in Tulsa.
Other employees of the Classic service department must like it there as well. Service Advisor Dale Garrison has 56 total years in the car industry, 19 of them with Classic. Additional service advisors include Ed McLaughlin with 31 years in the auto industry and four at Classic, and newcomer Justin Morgans. Each of these knowledgeable advisors greets and assists customers bringing vehicles to Classic Chevrolet for service.
“We really hit a home run when we hired Allen Workman in April,” says Mike Fitzpatrick. “Allen is a GM master certified diesel technician and engine repair expert.” Allen was born in Seattle, moved to Spokane, Washington with his family when he was a child, and spent a four-year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, completing boot camp in Florida on the U.S.S. Independence and then heading back to San Diego. After fulfilling his military duty, he spent 20 years in San Diego before moving to Seattle. While growing up, Allen enjoyed being a non-dealership mechanic. In 2005, he went to work for his first automobile dealership, specializing in diesel repair and service.
Allen says he has done plenty of diesel injector work and admits that the newer diesel engines are “not as needy” as their predecessors. “In the old days, it seems there were always issues with fuel injectors,” he said, “but they are hardly a problem today.” Allen is Classic’s expert with GM’s diesel truck products.
GM keeps both Allen and co-worker Denzel Hathcoat educated and up to date on diesel concerns or problems that might have been registered by GM’s nationwide network of diesel technicians. “If ever I should see something for the first time,” said Allen, “it’s reassuring to know that we are backed by a nationwide network of diesel experts who do just what we do every day – work on GM diesel engines.”
When asked how long a diesel could provide service to its owner, Allen gave the following information and advice. “It is not uncommon to see diesel trucks in for service with up to 350,000 miles on them. Take care of them by doing the manufacturer recommended services, and they should serve you for a long time.” Both Allen and Mike have seen diesels with 400,000 to 500,000 miles. Just like the gasoline-powered vehicles on the road today, the newer diesels have advanced electronics to aid performance and provide service information.
Mike says a friend of Allen’s had moved to the Tulsa metro area, and Mike had helped him find a job. When the friend heard that Allen was moving to Oklahoma, he called Mike and steered Allen toward Classic Chevrolet. After a thorough interview, Allen was offered a position in Classic’s service department. The United States has seen a real need for diesel technicians the past several years, and Classic was in the right place at the right time when Allen Workman was referred to them. The friend who had recommended Allen to Classic called Mike and said, “We are even. My debt is paid with Classic’s hiring of Allen!”
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.