Pit Crew CoOp Founders
Our CoOp is Driven by Experience.
Pit Crew CoOp is truly a collaboration of the best minds in the auto repair industry, starting with the Founders.
In addition to Jeff Rudnick, owner and founder of Pit Crew Marketing, each Pit Crew CoOp Founder is a successful auto repair shop business owner with multiple store locations, extensive knowledge and years of experience in the industry.
PIT CREW CoOp & PIT CREW MARKETING • Owner & Founder
Jeff has been involved in the Automotive Industry since 1993. He spent 9 years as a Manufacturer’s Representative selling Automotive Parts and Accessories to clients in the Pacific Northwest. During that time, he worked directly with dozens of Manufacturers and Importers of Parts and Accessories to find distribution across all levels of the Automotive Industry.
Jeff founded The Rudnick Group in 2002 calling directly on Automotive Repair Facilities to serve their marketing needs. Initially, The Rudnick Group focused on Reminder Mailers utilizing CustomerLink’s services; this relationship continued until CustomerLink sold to Intuit. Quickly, The Rudnick Group added Brand Development, Website Design and Management, Web Marketing Services and a comprehensive Direct Mail offering. The Rudnick Group became Pit Crew Marketing in 2006 when eWardMe Auto Shop Rewards was launched.
Jeff is an avid skier, backpacker, mountain biker and traveler. Jeff’s home base is currently The Big Island of Hawaii just outside Hilo.
JOHN & KAREN MANELAS
AUTO CARE PLUS & EURO CARE PLUS • Owners
7 Locations in New Hampshire & Maine
Karen and I both hold Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering. We worked in our fields for 15 years before deciding to go into business for ourselves. We looked at restaurants, flower shops, engineering firms, etc. We decided on automotive because a love of vehicles and we both perceived the level of service from the industry left much to be desired…especially as it pertains to women. So, we decided to purchase a shop from a burnt out business owner. (He is still with us as our operations manager, 15 years later!) We took a very big risk, borrowed money from a relative, the bank and the SBA. We went from making about $150K/year combined to about $50K in our first year in business.
Karen and I purchased our first location in April 2004. We expanded into our 2nd location in 2011. We now have 7 locations. 6 Locations in NH and one in ME. 6 Locations are branded as Auto Care Plus and one location is our European specialty shop branded as Euro Care Plus.
All locations utilize the Pit Crew Loyalty Program.
Pit Crew has been a vital part in helping us retain customers. It has given us the tools to create a superb loyalty program that essentially locks our customers into servicing all of their automotive needs. We worked together with Pitcrew to enhance their standard offering by incorporating our VIP program which just helps us further entice our customers into going nowhere else.
The CoOp give us the “no compromise” opportunity to create all the marketing tools, software, CRM, texting, etc. we need in our business without having to go out to 3rd party providers whose products are never exactly what we want.
ROLF’S IMPORT AUTO SERVICE • Owner
2 Locations in Washington
As son of the original founder (the Rolf himself), Mark Simons has been a part of the company as long as he can remember. Providing direction and vision, he leads the business in its mission to provide premier import services and repairs. He has been happily married for 20 years to his beautiful wife Sara. Together they have one daughter. Besides work and family, Mark’s true love is the Seahawks.
WILHELM AUTOMOTIVE • Co-Owner
9 Locations in Arizona
Co-Owner and President of Wilhelm Automotive, Mr. Garman brings 18 years of experience and insight as the operator of a growing small business. With 90 team members, 9 locations and strong links in the local community, Mr. Garman has helped Wilhelm Automotive prosper.
An Arizona native, Chris graduated with honors from Arizona State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in global business marketing and a masters of business administration. He spent his early years working for Pitney Bowes and a small architecture firm, before joining the family business in January 2000. He married his high school sweetheart, Kelly, and they currently reside in Phoenix with their two girls, ages 17 and 13.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Garman has been active in the local community serving as past president and board member for The West Valley Mavericks and their foundation. He’s also served on the boards of Leadership West, Southwest Valley YMCA, and various other volunteer organizations. Additionally, Mr. Garman volunteered as a youth soccer coach and chaired several fundraising committees for the various organizations he served.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys boating, watching his girls play sports, ride horses and grow up. He and his family love to travel, having visited several states and a few countries.