Walee Gon: The Gift
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN FRANCISCO – Looking back on his life and career, Walee Gon attributes much of his success to the wisdom and inspiration he’s drawn from others, both in person and in print. The sum of these positive influences amounts to what he considers the greatest gift he’s ever received: self-actualization. “This gift has helped me realize my full potential,” says Walee. “It wasn’t given to me by just one person, but rather by several inspiring individuals, including friends, mentors, teachers and authors. I think it’s the best gift I’ve ever received because it showed me what I was capable of and empowered me to achieve it.”
While Walee’s career achievement was bolstered by inspirational influences, his gravitation toward auto repair initially sprang from a simple boyhood fascination. “As a child, I looked at cars as the ultimate toys,” he remembers. “To this day, I consider myself a lover of the automobile.” It’s no surprise that Walee’s first foray into the industry held more than mere financial motivation. “I got my first part-time job while in high school, working at an auto parts store,” he recalls. “In addition to making some extra money, it gave me an opportunity to learn about cars and the industry.”
Just a couple years later, Walee took the knowledge and experience he’d acquired and struck out on his own. “I started an automotive accessories and performance business in 1993, which I ran until 2005,” he explains. “It was at that point I decided to go in another direction and expand to the servicing side of the business. I purchased Faxon Garage, and that’s where I am today.”
A first-generation Chinese immigrant, Walee came to the United States at a young age and was raised in San Francisco, where he still lives with his wife, Betty, and their children, Kenneth and Olivia. “We’re a very classic American family,” he says. As busy as his work keeps him, Walee says family remains his top priority. “I try to take every opportunity I have to spend time with my kids. I even play racing video games with my son, though I’ll often slip in some educational points about the automotive industry.”
Following from his gratitude for the positive influences in his life, Walee says one of the things he enjoys most is sharing the gift with others. “I really enjoy working with people and seeing them develop and realize their potential. Every chance I get, I try to find ways to invest in my fellow teammates at the shop.” Walee’s penchant for empowering others also informs his thoughts about future retirement. “People have different definitions of retirement, and in my case, it doesn’t mean going off somewhere to relax and do nothing for the rest of my life,” he says. “Rather, I would invest more time into supporting the people in my life and being there to offer a helping hand.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1978 Ford Fairmont.
Q: If you could drive any car, what would it be?
A: I would like to drive a car that’s more comfortable than fancy, like a Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston.
Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: Either spring or fall, because I like the temperature.
Q: Who do you think is the best James Bond?
A: Sean Connery, although Pierce Brosnan is a close second.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
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A: It’s a three-way tie between The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and You Can Sell Anything by Gary Goodman.