Kacey Copeland: Taking the Next Step
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
DANVILLE — For Kacey Copeland, starting an auto repair business was simply the logical next step in his professional career. “After several years in the automotive industry, I was considering what my next move would be,” he remembers. “By that point, I felt like I’d become an expert in my field and was just treading water, unsure what direction I should go in. Around that time, the owner of the shop I worked at had another location come available. He didn’t think anyone wanted to buy it, so he was just going to sell the property. To me, it was a sign that this was my next step—to have my own business. Not long after, I was the new owner of autoTech Blackhawk.”
As Kacey recounts, the seeds for his automotive career were planted two generations prior. “My grandfather started a Phillips 66 Service Station in 1966, just outside of Denver, Colorado, where I’m from. My dad started working there after he graduated high school, and I started when I was eight years old. It was a full-service gas station, so when a customer drove up, I’d walk out, pump their gas, check their tires and oil, and wash the windows. Learning how to interact with customers at a young age was definitely beneficial for the development of my social skills, which is something I appreciate looking back.” Following high school, Kacey attended Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he earned his professional certification. A few years later, he relocated to California.
Today, Kacey says his favorite part of his job is the customer interaction. “When a customer comes in to my shop, it’s usually on the worst day of their year—their radiator just popped, they have a car full of kids and they need to be somewhere 10 minutes ago. I enjoy putting out the fire and reassuring them that everything will be taken care of. If they need to be somewhere, I’ll often give them a ride. Basically, I try to take someone’s worst day and turn it around into something positive.”
A resident of Contra Costa County (where he lives with his wife, Catherine), Kacey spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “Catherine and I enjoy going hiking and backpacking at places like Yosemite National Park,” he details. “We also love world travel—in recent years, we’ve been to Belize, New Zealand and Canada.” Additionally, Kacey enjoys working with wood and doing small home remodeling projects.
In regard to a professional philosophy, Kacey espouses the importance of honesty. “I like to sleep, and in order to sleep, I need to do everything with honesty and integrity,” he explains. “Often, the news I have to give my customers isn’t easy for them to receive. Believe me, it’s no fun to watch someone’s face when they realize their car needs X amount of dollars of repair work. Nevertheless, I give them the information because they need to know the reality of the situation.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Kacey says he’d head to the hills. “I would probably move back to Colorado and live in the mountains. Right now, Catherine and I live in a tiny house, so it would be pretty easy to relocate.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Burma! Burma! in Dublin.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: I was the kid with the big, white Jeep.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I used to collect shot glasses from around the world, but when we moved into a tiny house, I whittled down my collection from about 50 to four.
Q: What kinds of music do you like?
A: I like Mexican and Indian music.
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