Lyde Waitley: Shop Star
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
LIVERMORE – While people are known in high school for everything from sports and student government involvement to hairstyle and sense of humor, such hallmarks rarely provide the foundation for a later career. For Lyde Waitley, however, his prominent aptitude for auto mechanics did just that. “Back in high school, I really excelled in my shop classes, and I was the teacher’s aide in both wood shop and auto shop,” he remembers. “I always had an affinity for cars and an understanding of mechanics, so my classmates would come to me to get opinions or ask questions about their cars.” Lyde’s precocious mechanical talent actually preceded his legal ability to drive. “I did my first tune-up for pay when I was 14. I hadn’t even driven a car yet, so I had to get somebody else to road test it for me!”
Following high school, Lyde’s auto repair career was put on hold when he was drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. After returning, he went to work for a Toyota dealership, where he would be employed for the next 20 years. By the time he opened his own repair shop in 1990, he had earned the distinction of being both an ASE- and Toyota-certified master technician. Two decades later, Lyde’s expertise continues to benefit customers at Olsen’s Automotive Repair.
A lifetime Alameda County resident, Lyde says one of his favorite things about living and working in the Bay Area is his local community. “We have many wonderful clients with whom we’ve formed strong relationships over the years. I love the fact that we can do business on a handshake and a promise.”
In addition to running a business, Lyde is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing. “One of my favorite pastimes is going stream fishing for trout up in the Sierras,” he says. “I like to walk along the stream, fishing the holes as I go and taking in the scenery and wildlife.” As he approaches retirement, Lyde looks forward to engaging in such pursuits on a more frequent basis. “After turning 65 this past August, I decided that in 2014, I’m going to spend less time at the shop and more time doing the things I enjoy. We recently hired a professional service writer who just fits like a glove, so that’s going to allow me a lot more freedom with my schedule.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite band or musician?
A: I’m a huge country music fan. Some of my favorite artists are Reba McEntire, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Martina McBride.
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: A lifetime NRA membership.
Q: Do you have any nicknames?
A: Back when everybody had a CB radio, people used to call me “High Pockets” because of my height.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Peanut butter on toast.
Q: Do you collect anything?
Q: What’s the biggest animal you’ve ever hunted?
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A: A 250-pound hog.