The following blog post was written by BMW Master Technician and Brian Jessel BMW service department employee, Travis McFarlane. Travis will be leaving us to pass on everything he has learned and train new generations of BMW Technicians at BMW Canada.
My Brian Jessel BMW story starts in November 2002, when a coworker at the Toyota dealership I was working at told me Brian Jessel BMW was hiring and that I should apply. He knew I was looking for a new challenge. So, I ran off to the local print and fax store and faxed my resume to Brian Jessel BMW. The next day I drove to Coquitlam to check out the dealership and the cars and dreamed of a possible career working on the world's best automobiles for the city's best dealership. Christmas came and I hadn't heard anything. Winter ended, spring started, and finally in April 2003, I got the call I had been waiting for from Service Manager Robert Harrison. He invited me to come in for an interview. I met with him and Kevin Power, who was the shop foreman at the Coquitlam dealership. They showed me around the dealership and workshop and I said "that's it?" It was smaller than the Toyota dealer I worked at, but Robert assured me that the dealership was moving to Boundary and Lougheed in Vancouver, to a brand new dealership in a year (which turned into 18 months). I had no idea what was in store for the success of the company I was about to join. So, in late April 2003, I took a 25 cent per hour pay cut and joined the Brian Jessel organization. It was the best decision I have ever made.
When I dropped my tools off on Saturday, I saw M3's, 745's, M5's, and even a Ferrari from Brian's Ferrari dealership--all the cars I saw, I held in the highest regard, and was so thrilled to work on. I met Hans and he was cranky because of a broken M3 he was working on. Robert took me into the new car sales area where I met Brian (I had never even seen the owner of the Toyota dealership I worked at, let alone met him) and I met Jim Krahn who gave me his usual iron fisted hand shake and big smile, and they both made me feel welcome at this very prestigious dealership. My very first job was a PDI on a 2003 E39 530i that Carl Bylenga helped me out with. I remember thinking how hard those cars where to work on and how talented the technicians were who worked on them... not knowing what BMW had in store that would challenge and push the BMW techs to be better at our trade with cutting edge technologies and exciting new concepts that many thought would be impossible to have in a car. I was in awe of the techs in the shop and I wanted to be as smart as them. Kevin, Carl, Paul, Greg, Tony, Steve, Matt, Andy, Tom, Hans, Haydar and Ryan were the small group of techs that I worked with and looked up to. I started learning and studying to become the best I could be. Brian Jessel BMW was the best, so I wanted to be the best. With the support of Brian Jessel BMW and the training offered by BMW Canada, I was able to meet and exceed my early ambitions of being the BMW Tech I wanted to be.
My most memorable moments:
"Getting" people in the shop, and attacking people, and stealing their shoes, a weekly tradition started in the shop to help relax on those stressful days.
Morning coffee with the techs. Turns out I cannot grind or brew coffee.
Everyone who has put a smile on my face and made my working days better.
The Muskrat in the shop that leapt out from under the hood of a Z4 and tried to eat Kaughn Vo.
Being able to call Jim Krahn a mentor and friend.
Andy Smith coming up to me and saying, "Hey mate, wanna be a shop foreman?" and I replying, "Ya, that sounds fun."
The first Christmas party I attended with the girls dancing on tables (Alanda and Kerry) and I won a trip to Vegas.
The white E34 M5 that took me a year to rebuild the engine. The crank shaft was bent and it took 7 months to find a new one... I started the job in Coquitlam and finished in Vancouver after the move.
Becoming a BMW Master Tech.
Going to South Carolina for the master tech conference in 2013, driving M cars too fast on a race track, and going out way too late drinking with Adamo and Frank from Montreal and 3 unnamed BMW Canada employees until 4 am in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
Going to M4 training in Richmond and driving the new M4 much too fast on Highway 17.
Working for Brian Jessel and his amazing team.
Watching the dealership grow and succeed.
Helping set up for the Cabriolet events and being the one of 3 people watching the band Bare Naked Ladies do a sound check in OUR dealership.
Being chosen as employee of the year and having my picture on the wall next to Brian's, Bernie's and the other long term employees.
Meeting friends and seeing them grow and move on as better people.
The smiles on people's faces as I saw them learn something for the first time.
Standing beside a past technician named Lucky as he saw snow for the first time. He was from Africa and had never seen snow up to that point in his life.
As this is my last day at Brian Jessel BMW I want to thank Brian, Jim, Tim and all the managers for all the opportunities I have been given over the years. My entire adult life has unfolded at Brian Jessel BMW, before I was married, before I bought my first house, before I became a dad for the first time, before all my life's milestones and all the ups and downs... the one constant has been Brian Jessel BMW and my friends I work with each day... this is a very sad day for me. I have spent a 3rd of my life here; almost 12 years of memories and good times and fun. And I think I even worked a little too. Brian Jessel BMW is a family and to succeed you will need to continue to grow each other's talents and strengths, because the strength of any company lies with its employees--and you have some great people here. I am not leaving for greener pastures as the grass is very green and healthy at Brian Jessel BMW for me. I am leaving for a new challenge and to continue to push myself to be better and to continue to learn. When I first started out as a automotive technician, I looked up to my teachers and trainers and knew that one day, I wanted to be a automotive instructor. My 18 year journey and dream to teach will be coming true for me shortly. From my first job on that E39 530i, to my last job today, I have learned more than I have ever though I could, met more exceptional people than I thought I would, and had the time of my life working with you all. As I close this chapter in my life and move on to my next, I am thankful for all of you... especially the handfull of people still here from the Coquitlam store who supported me in the early days and helped me grow into the technician and person I am today. I am so proud to say that I worked for the number oneBMW dealership in Canada for as long as I have. I am thrilled I got to know you all and wish you all the best in the future and the continued success of Brian Jessel BMW.