Mike Schwarzbart: Motor Workin’
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
ALBANY — Even after going to college to study a totally different field, Mike Schwarzbart seemed destined to return to his first love of automotive repair. “I was always a gearhead in high school,” he remembers. “In college, I majored in environmental studies but continued to do automotive work on the side. The guy I apprenticed with specialized in BMWs, and I soon developed a fascination with these vehicles and how they were put together.”
After graduating from college, Mike attempted a new field of occupation, only to eventually find himself back under the hood. “I found I could only get so far in the environmental field with a Bachelor’s degree, so I started looking into other avenues,” he explains. “To make ends meet, I started working on cars out of my dad’s garage, which eventually led to me opening a small shop, where I’ve been specializing in BMW repair ever since.”
Today, as owner of Berkeley Motor Works, Mike says his favorite part of his job is receiving positive feedback from customers. “When people see how hard we work and express their appreciation for the way we fix their cars, it makes it all worthwhile. I take pride in being one of the East Bay’s top BMW specialists. As cars get more and more advanced, the expertise of a specialist can make a big difference when it comes to getting a correct diagnosis and repair. I really enjoy being able to give our customers the best, most accurate service available.”
A lifetime resident of the East Bay, Mike says he appreciates many aspects of his local setting. “The climate is great, we have some of the best restaurants around, and there’s easy access to nature, including several mountain biking trails, which keeps me active. When I’m not working, I like going to local venues and restaurants and just enjoying what the area has to offer.” In addition to biking and sampling the local cuisine, Mike enjoys spending quality time with his daughters, Sandy and Shelly.
With regard to his life and career, Mike espouses the importance of honesty. “Tell no lies and you never have to worry about which lie you told,” he says. “In both my personal and professional lives, I’ve found that being honest, upfront, and taking responsibility for your actions is always the best way to go.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Mike says he’d head out on an oceanic voyage. “I’d buy a boat and sail away,” he laughs. “I suppose I’d head to the Caribbean first and see where I should go from there.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first car?
A: A rusted-out ’68 Mustang.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect refrigerator magnets from all the places I’ve visited. I have a pretty well-covered fridge.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Dark chocolate.