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Spiffy Manager Highlight: Rachel Pinell

posted 17 May, 2019 by Jackson Balling
Spiffy Blog, Technician
 
This month, we’re shaking up our typical Spiffy Technician Highlight with a conversation that we had with Rachel Pinell, who was recently promoted to General Manager for our Dallas-Fort Worth team of technicians.
 
She has done a fantastic job leading a growing, tight-knit group and creating a positive environment for them to flourish in. It was great to learn more about her, both as a manager and outside of work hours.
 
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Let's start at the beginning: where did you grow up?
I grew up south of Dallas in the Cedar Hill area. Born and raised in Texas and have been here my whole life. I think if you're born and raised in Texas, it's hard to kind of hard to relocate sometimes. It's just so different, people say that it's like living in a different country.
 
What are your outside of work interests or hobbies?
Outside of work my main interests are my animals. I have two dogs, a German Shepard and a Lab mix, as well as a Appaloosa horse that I deal with. So If I'm not at work, they're who I'm spending time with.
 
What was the path of going from living south of Dallas to like getting to where you are today? What kind of jobs did you have before working at Spiffy?
I've only had one other full time job, ironically. I stayed with the company for five years before coming to Spiffy. The main reason why I left there was mostly growth potential, like I kind of maxed out where I was with the old company. Once you're not going any further, it becomes kind of stagnant after a while. Most folks seemed to either retire or do something else. I got the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon, so I went ahead and took a leap of faith and jumped on it. But so far so good, I have no regrets!
 
Awesome! Did you start as a Supervisor or were you a Technician at first?
I've been the Supervisor since I started at Spiffy over 2 years ago.
 
Started as a Supervisor and now recently promoted to General Manager. What has been the biggest difference between those two positions?
It's definitely a different cookie than being a Supervisor, that's for sure. If I had to narrow it down to a big difference in my day-to-day schedule, I'd say it's the increase in my level of responsibility. There's a lot more added to the plate, but I feel as though my team of Technicians look up to me more. As a Supervisor, you're definitely a role model and a leader, but you're not the one setting the standard.
 
The crazy thing about it is that there's a difference between getting promoted from within and moving up the ladder vs coming in from outside. Just from my experience of getting hired into Spiffy as a Supervisor, you kind of get the looks like "Who are you?" But once they get to know you, they kind of get that respect for you. Then when I was promoted, every one of the technicians had my back for it. They were excited for me, so the team environment is a lot different, in my opinion, than it would be if I got hired as a GM. I would've probably gotten those looks like "Who are you?", but here that moving up the ladder gained a lot more respect and the leader portion of it came easier because they were willing to follow.
 
It's great to hear that things have been going really well so far. How many people do manage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
Currently we’re at 26 technicians.
 
Has that number fluctuated much?
Only about a month ago we were at 18, and now we're at 26. The best part is that nearly everyone I've managed so far wants to be here, they're excited to come to work, and I'm happy to be here with them. They definitely fight [for the top] power score, that's for sure.
 
Yeah! When Paul Seat was our featured technician, I think there were about three or four Dallas technicians that came incredibly close.
Oh yeah. And whenever somebody overcomes him they're like, "Paul, did you see it?!"
 
How does that sense of competition translate throughout the work environment in Dallas?
It's a very fun environment, it definitely is. As much as I hold them accountable, I can see that each and every one of them hold each other accountable too. It's funny to watch them interact with each other, especially in the morning. We kind of deviate from the normal technician life in the morning too, we try to add a little bit of spice to it. We do like trivia questions in the morning and have group conversations to get excited. It's amazing with some of the hard trivia questions, you wouldn't think they'd know the answers to but some of them are super smart people and I'm like, "I didn't even know that! I wouldn't even think you would have known that!"
 
That's really cool. I like that idea of cultivating community like that because you're all working on the same team, even if you're not working together for most of any given day.
Oh yeah. It engages them in the morning and it helps me engage them with each other. For some of them that may be a little reluctant to engage in conversation, that kind of helps the open that conversation door and it welcomes them into the team. So it definitely is helpful for new players and their inner team and help to build them together and make new friendships. It just makes the communication overall with the group a lot easier to have those kind of icebreakers in the morning. And we do different things, sometimes it's not always like a trivia question. I'll have a quote of the day and I'll have somebody read it and they get their opinions on it. It's all laughing, giggles, and smiles in the morning. Definitely makes their day start off right, too.
 
Steering the focus back to you: what past experience do you think has helped you the most to thrive in your position as a General Manager?
Near the end of my career with my last company, I was just kind of popping around from different restaurants doing, to put it simply, damage control. Restaurants where managers had walked out or the team wasn't very good. Basically any place where they were having some issues and I'd come in and turn them over into a positive operation within a couple of months. Doing that for the last year and a half with that company really helped the transition in this busy environment because here you never know what to expect and I definitely didn't know what to expect at every restaurant that I walked into. So that made it an easy transition for me.
 
How has your relationship with other managers and Spiffy leaders been since being promoted?
After my previous experience, I never could've expected the amount of team-oriented support that we have here at Spiffy, especially when a lot of it comes all the way from North Carolina to Texas. Not only that, but having the accessibility of "Hey if you need something, I'm just a phone call away. If I don't pick up, I will get back to you." is a lot different for me. I'm very much used to companies or managers basically going MIA on you or just not seeming to care. Here, it's obvious that people do care, even if I ask a question that I'm afraid isn't the smartest one in the book. Whether that's over the phone, video chat, text message; it doesn't matter. And that goes beyond other managers, it's everyone in the Durham office from Sales and Operations to Marketing and Customer Care.
 
In regards to our event with Lyft in Houston, were you managing the Dallas team during that?
Yeah. I was dealing with the Dallas operations, but I wasn't so much involved with the Lyft operations. I helped set their mindset going into it, in terms of getting them mentally prepared for what they were about to walk into. But that was kind of all I was really involved with.
 
Was there a positive response for the technicians who came back from that weekend?
Oh yeah, they had a blast. I mean they definitely worked their butts off, but they said that they wouldn't have traded it for anything and had a great experience. The amount of support and everything that Spiffy gives is outrageous. For them, walking into Houston and knowing that they're pretty much working on non-stop for three days was expected, but having the luxuries of lunch provided by the vendor and other amenities was something that they didn't anticipate. So their eyes really started to open with who our customers are, the people that we work with, and just the kind of company that they're involved with. It was definitely a treat for them. Hard work, but a treat.
 
After everything you've experienced so far with Spiffy, would you recommend our work environment to others?
I would definitely recommend anyone who is looking for a good company to work for Spiffy. And that's beyond just a professional level, like a work environment. You could ask any one of my technicians and they'd say this is one of the best companies that they worked for, just because we care so much about them and what they bring. We try to support them in any way we can.
 

 
Thank you again to Rachel for spending some time to speak with us and dive into the details of her career so far. We’re happy to have you as a part of the Spiffy team!
 
Do you or someone you know have what it takes to be a part of our Technician team? Check out our careers page to learn more about joining the Spiffy family today!
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Posted in Spiffy Blog, Technician

Written by Jackson Balling

As Spiffy's Content Marketing Specialist, Jackson produces our written content as well as the Vehicle 2.0 Podcast with Scot Wingo. As the lone Buffalo, NY native in the office, his woes as a sports fan are well-documented.