Dave Erickson: Taking the Long Road
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ROHNERT PARK — A lifelong veteran of the automotive industry, Dave Erickson has traveled a long and storied road to arrive at professional success. It all started when he was just a boy. “I grew up on a 100-acre ranch, where we had lots of tractors and other vehicles that needed to be maintained,” he remembers. “My dad was gone a lot for work, so I was the one who had to keep all the equipment running. I pretty much taught myself by reading books and tinkering around from a young age.”
When Dave was a teenager, he took a step further down the road when he got his first proper job. “When I was 16, I got hired as a technician at a Volkswagen repair facility. Later, I became a shop foreman for a Mercedes-Benz dealership. After that, I worked at several different auto shops in the Bay Area before I finally ended up at Automotive Excellence. When the owner, Mike, announced his plans to retire, I saw it as an opportunity to take the next step in my career. My wife, Terri, and I purchased the business from him and became the new owners in 2019.”
Today, Dave says his favorite part of his job is taking care of customers. “I like taking care of people in general, so taking care of customers is a pleasure. It’s very gratifying to see how happy a customer gets when you repair their vehicle for a cost they can afford. People also appreciate the fact that we help them prioritize services so they can budget accordingly and get the work that they need.”
A resident of Santa Rosa, Dave spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “Terri and I are outdoors people, so we go camping and fishing all over Northern California,” he details. “We also like going for rides up the coast on my ’99 Harley Fat Boy motorcycle.” Additionally, Dave enjoys spending time with his family. “Our son, David Jr., works for us as a technician, and our daughter and her family live with us, so we’re all very close. I enjoy the fact that I get to see my two grandkids every day.”
When asked about a professional philosophy, Dave espouses the importance of integrity. “Be honest and act as if everybody is watching you at all times,” he recommends. “That’s what integrity is all about—doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. Even if some customers don’t appreciate it, there are plenty who do, and in all cases there’s a sense of gratification in knowing you did right by them.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dave says he’d take a road trip. “I’d pack up my travel trailer and hit every state in this country, just taking in the sights. I’d probably drag my motorcycle along, too—that way, Terri and I could go on rides along the way.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird. I’m the guy who’s up at 4am, waiting for everyone else to wake up.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Fig bars.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I would probably go to Germany. As a certified Mercedes-Benz technician, it would be neat to visit the headquarters.
Q: What kinds of books do you like?
A: I’m interested in engineering and the technical aspects of automotive work, so I read a lot of tech books and journals.
Q: Pancakes or waffles?