Eduardo Porta: Living the Dream
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
FREMONT — When asked how he got started in the auto repair industry, Eduardo Porta says it runs in his family. “There are a lot of mechanics in my family, including my grandfather, father and four uncles, so it was natural for me to get involved with cars. That’s why I thought it was funny when my dad told me he wanted me to be a lawyer when I was a teenager. I wasn’t interested in going to school; the only thing I cared about was working on cars.”
Born and raised in Brazil, Eduardo came to the United States as a young man in pursuit of the American Dream. “In Brazil, labor isn’t well-recognized, so mechanics don’t make much money,” he explains. “I knew if I came to the U.S., I’d have a better chance at achieving success. So, at the age of 23, I arrived in Los Angeles with $8 in my pocket and no contacts.”
Despite his humble arrival, Eduardo was determined to fulfill his dreams of prosperity. Through a series of auspicious events, he found a place to stay and started working at an auto repair shop in Colma. Eventually, Eduardo obtained his green card, got married, started a family and became owner of his own repair shop.
Today, as owner of Fremont Foreign Auto, Eduardo says he enjoys dual aspects of his long-time career. “First of all, I love working on cars. The second thing I really like is interacting with customers. If you talk to a lot of mechanics, they’ll say dealing with customers is their least favorite part, but I love it. I guess I’m just a people person.”
A resident of Fremont (where he lives with his wife, Karla Miranda, and their children, Ariel and Izabela), Eduardo expresses his appreciation for his adopted hometown. “I love living in Fremont,” he says. “I like the people, the weather is great, the schools are excellent and it has been a great place to raise our children. There are also plenty of places to go motorcycling on the weekends.”
Outside of work, Eduardo engages in a variety of active pastimes. “I love to travel and I’m nuts about motorcycles—I own 12 of them!” he says. “I also love gardening at home, going to the movies and going dancing with my wife. I usually drag my daughter along, too, because my wife can’t keep up with me!”
In his life and career, Eduardo espouses the importance of honesty. “My father always told me the most important part of being successful in business is honesty,” he says. “If a customer comes in with a problem you can’t fix, be honest and tell them you can’t fix it. Of course, I’ve yet to find myself in that situation—I’ve never had a car come in that I couldn’t fix—but if I ever do, I won’t be ashamed to be honest about it.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Eduardo says he’d go for his longest motorcycle ride yet. “I’d jump on my bike and go around the world. That’s something I’m actually working up to. Last November, I rode down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and next year I’m planning to ride all the way to Brazil.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: I’ve done everything from skydiving to scuba diving, but the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done is take my Ducati up to 185 miles per hour.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Australia—there are a lot of beautiful areas to go motorcycling.
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1967 Ford Corcel, which is a model that’s made in Brazil.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Papillon Restaurant in Fremont.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
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A: An early bird. I’m in bed by 9pm because I wake up at 4:30 every morning.