Chris Williams: An Automotive Birthright
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
REDWOOD CITY — Originally from India, Chris Williams came to the United States to join his father and take his place among the family’s ranks of automotive professionals. “I’m third-generation in the automotive business,” he explains. “I started learning from my father when I was a kid and fell in love with it pretty early on. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go to automotive school. In 1987, my father left India for the U.S. and soon after founded Chestnut Automotive & Towing in Redwood City. As soon as I turned 18, I came to the U.S. and joined him at the business. Not long after, I took over as owner, and I’m still running it today.”
Today, Chris says his favorite part of his job is helping customers. “I love the fact that I’m in the business of helping people with their cars. I enjoy meeting new people, dealing with customers and solving their car problems.”
A resident of Redwood City (where he lives with his wife and four children), Chris expresses his appreciation for the local flavor of life and work. “I like the beautiful weather, the diversity of the people and the fact that it’s becoming a high-tech city. It’s a great environment to work in and a great community to be a part of.”
Outside of work, Chris engages in a variety of active hobbies and pastimes. “One of my favorite activities is boating with friends and family at Lake Shasta,” he details. “Sometimes I’ll go fishing while I’m out there, but I’ve never had very good luck.” Chris also likes dirt biking, riding his 2007 Honda Cruiser and restoring classic cars. “Even though I work on cars for a living, it’s still my biggest hobby,” he affirms. “I always have some project going on. Right now, I’m restoring a 1970 Chevy Camaro.”
In regard to his professional career, Chris espouses the importance of delivering on customer expectations. “When a customer comes to us for repairs, they have an expectation of high-quality work, and it’s our job to deliver that,” he explains. “That’s why customer satisfaction is the most important thing to me, and it’s why my crew and I always give 100 percent to make sure those expectations are met—or, better yet, exceeded.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chris says he’d do some traveling. “I would probably visit some relatives I haven’t seen in a while, as well as explore some more of the U.S. I’d also keep working on cars, purely for my own enjoyment. Automotive work is my life, so if I stopped doing it, I think I’d feel very out of touch.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1976 Mercedes-Benz.
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: I like classic ’90s sitcoms like “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit on the porch with a hot cup of tea and watch the rain.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: I collect classic cars. I have two ’70s Chevy Camaros, a 1970 Pontiac Judge and a 1968 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors.