Tom Trago: Anchor Aweigh
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SUNNYVALE — Like many automotive professionals, Tom Trago’s relationship with cars began with an early interest and gradually grew into something bigger. “Cars have always been a part of my life,” he affirms. “I started taking auto mechanic classes in high school, worked part-time doing detail work through college and eventually made the decision to pursue it as a full-time job.”
About 20 years into his career, Tom had an opportunity to take things to the next level by advancing from employee to owner. “Over the years, I’d managed a couple of shops with the hope of earning a stake in the business, but nothing ever panned out,” he recounts. “Within two years of being at Anchor Auto Body, the owner asked if I’d be interested in taking over after he retired, and I said yes.”
After 11 years as owner of Anchor Auto Body, Tom has no regrets about his decision. “It’s definitely been a challenge, but I like challenges. Plus, I’m very passionate about what I do. I get a lot of satisfaction from putting smiles on our customers’ faces after they see what we’ve been able to achieve with their vehicles.”
A resident of San Jose (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Betsy), Tom says he appreciates the variety of opportunities to be found in the Bay Area. “Besides an endless number of things to see and do, there’s an incredible wealth of resources and opportunities for local businesses to grow and prosper.”
With two grown children and two young grandchildren, much of Tom’s time outside of work is devoted to family. He also likes to stay in shape, whether by working out at the gym or hiking and biking on local nature trails. When he’s not being physically active, he enjoys cultivating his creative side by reading books and watching movies.
In regard to his career, Tom espouses the importance of continuous improvement. “We’re always trying to improve upon what we’re doing, whether it’s revamping our employee training or purchasing new equipment,” he explains. “By continually reviewing and rethinking our standard operating procedures, we’re able to stay ahead of the curve and keep the quality high for our customers.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Tom says he’d take time to get a little perspective before deciding what to do next. “The first thing I’d do is just take a couple days to reflect. After that, I’d move on to the next thing, whatever that may be. I’d probably pick up a new hobby or two, just to keep myself busy.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1964 Volkswagen Beetle.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas—I like getting together with family, catching up and having a good time.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Kettle chips.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
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A: Matchbox cars.