Doug Rocker, auto body tech at Sprague’s Collision Center, earned his nickname “Eagle Eye” at the Utica, N.Y., shop thanks to his meticulous attention to detail. In her FenderBender Award nomination, Christina Sprague, office manager at Sprague’s, commented on Rocker’s relentless dedication to fixing the vehicles at the shop to the highest possible standard.
“Last winter, a new customer came in that had driven through some barbed wire fencing, resulting in dramatic damage,” Sprague wrote. “Upon drop-off, Doug marked the vehicle for every inch of damage that was caused and because of his attention to detail, he was able to catch significantly more damage than was captured on the original estimate. Because of his ability, he was able to save the customer time and money down the road. The customer was amazed at the repaired vehicle and there will be no rust or issues down the road, thanks to Doug’s keen eye for imperfections.”
Sprague says that this attention to detail has ensured customer satisfaction and has made him irreplaceable in the shop. The 22-year-old boasts 130 percent efficiency and often has others in the shop coming up and asking him to check over their work. In his two-year career, Rocker has learned some valuable lessons that have gotten him to where he is today.
There’s Room to Learn More.
Rocker says that the most important thing that he learned and the best advice he would give to incoming technicians is to ditch the idea that they have nothing to learn.
Rocker says he entered the industry with the mentality that he knew it all—and he was quickly shut down. He was outpaced and couldn’t keep up. So, he started looking to his co-workers for tips.
“You can learn a lot if you keep your mouth shut and listen to what other people have to say,” Rocker says. “Take all of that information and use it toward creating your own process.”
By showing he was committed and earning the trust of his co-workers, they took him under their wing and showed him the ropes. Rocker says he continues to learn new things all the time.
Check Everything. Then Check it Again.
Rocker’s gotten so good at finding imperfections or identifying problem areas that he says it’s not uncommon for his co-workers to ask that he checks over their work. Common areas where he’s seen people make mistakes are during reassembly, where people tend not to check every part before putting something together.
“You need to check all of the nuts and bolts to make sure everything is tight before you put the door on,” Rocker says. “Otherwise, it’ll go down the delivery line and someone will find that the window doesn’t go down.”
Rocker says he starts by looking closely at the repair area. Then he checks the rest of the vehicle, making sure to check body lines, clear dust nibs, check the electrical system and anything else he can think of. Then, he makes sure that there’s nothing that would make a customer unhappy, such as overspray or a dirty interior. After all of that, he’ll have his boss give it a once-over.
“I always make sure that each vehicle I put out is something I would be happy as a customer picking up,” Rocker says.
Do What You Love.
Rocker says that he doesn’t think that his process is necessarily better than anyone else’s, but that his passion for what he does sets him apart. By refusing to settle for anything less than his very best work, Rocker consistently delivers top quality repairs the first time and avoids comebacks.