Forty-six years. That’s how long Larry Rigler has been turning wrenches.
He is a dedicated service technician at Garber-owned Sunrise Chevrolet in Illinois. At 64-years-young, Larry plans on retiring next year. He’s got decades of memories in the shop.
While he has worked at the same building for his entire career – since 1974 — he will run his final lap in the working world as a Garber team member.
Though he feels ready to retire, he said it still will be hard to leave Garber.
“I appreciate everything Garber does for us as team members,” he said. “That will be the hard part: leaving the people. Garber are good people to work for; I will miss them. You work for these people five days a week, eight hours a day, and they are basically family.”
The Right Tools
Larry’s career is long, and his resume is short.
“I haven’t worked anywhere else,” Larry said. “Being a tech is the only job I’ve ever had. I was cutting the grass back in ’74 and my brother called me at my mom’s house and said, ‘You want a job?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ 46 years later and I’m still here in this same building.”
Larry started his career as a porter for a different owner. After two years, he settled into his role as a technician.
Then Garber acquired the Illinois dealership. Larry said the changes were immediate – and visible.
“When Garber bought the dealership, I noticed a lot of differences right away,” he said. “They came in and re-did the whole building when they first got here. We had water dripping inside and holes in the ceilings. Garber came in and re-did it all.”
It didn’t just stop at holes in the ceilings.
“In the work environment we had before, the heat wasn’t great,” he said. “The winter was pretty cold in there. In the summer, we’d have rain storms and the roof needed to be repaired. But Garber’s work conditions are excellent. We now have plenty of heat in the winter. The shop is perfect now. If something breaks, they get it fixed right away. When we have a rainstorm, we don’t get wet. We have excellent lighting. They did an amazing job remodeling.”
Larry said Garber’s improvement to the equipment and environment helped him do his job to the best of his ability.
“Garber made the work environment easier to work in,” he said. “They came in and brought in everything that a shop should have. All good equipment…working equipment. They made sure everything was good to go.”
He said the parts department is solid: a key component for a technician’s success.
“We have to have a good parts department that has the parts in stock, and if they don’t have the parts in stock, they need to get them as quickly as they can…Garber does that,” he said. “If we need parts, they go out of their way to get what we don’t have. It’s a very good parts department, and we are well-stocked on a lot of stuff. When Garber came in, the parts department became awesome. They have good parts for us right when we need them.”
The great work environment isn’t just because of the tools and temperature. It’s the people, Larry said.
“What do I love about working for Garber? Everything,” he said. “I love the people. Very friendly. Very personable. You got a question about something, they will try to answer it. If they can’t answer it, they find someone who will. You need something, they’ll get it for you. We do birthday lunches and they’ll take anyone out to lunch who has a birthday. They just do a lot of nice stuff.”
Knocking on the door of retirement, Larry said he has advice for those interested in starting a career as a technician: Work at Garber.
“I would suggest working at Garber because they’re good,” he said. “You want to work for a place where you get a job, like a brake job or something, and you can do the job with the parts they get you,” he said. “A lot of times, a lot of dealers don’t have a good stock of parts, so sometimes you’re waiting for days to get parts. But Garber does a good job keeping things in stock so you don’t have to wait.”
Beyond the parts, Garber treats you well, which is most important, he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of bad stories from other techs who worked at other stores, and once they start working with us, they can’t believe how much better they are treated here with Garber people,” Larry said. “This is a very good company.”
It’s simple, he said. Garber appreciates employees.
“When you do a good job, Garber lets you know it,” he said. “They’ll go out and buy food for us or do cookouts for us when we do well. When you do a good job, they come out and tell you did a great job. They don’t sit back and keep their mouths shut. They let you know. I really feel appreciated here. They value your work.”
First job? Mowing lawns
First car? A ‘67 Impala
Three things you can’t live without? My family, money, and friends
Favorite hobby? I really enjoy hunting, fishing, and golfing. I’m the best at fishing.
Best advice you’ve received? Be the best you can be.