Joel Ramos Diaz: Body Art
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
AMERICAN CANYON — Like his father before him, Joel Ramos Diaz decided to pursue a career in automotive work, but he found himself gravitating toward the more artistic side of the industry. “My dad was a mechanic, and growing up I always wanted to work in an auto shop,” he remembers. “My first job was as a detailer, and from there I jumped into body work, which is where I stayed. What I liked about body work was the visual nature of the finished product. As a mechanic, you can get a car’s engine running again, but when you do body work, you get to see the entire car transformed.”
After gaining further industry experience, Joel made the move to found his own body shop in 2005. Today, as owner of American Canyon Collision Center, he says his favorite part of his job is doing hands-on work. “As the owner, I have to spend a fair amount of time in the office, but I prefer to be in the garage, working on cars and getting my hands dirty.”
Originally from Mexico, Joel came to the United States in 1985 and resides today in American Canyon with his wife, Angelica, and their daughters. “I’ve lived here since I was 15 years old and enjoy being part of the local community,” he says. “I often see my customers when I’m out and about. One time, I had to go to the emergency room, and the doctor said, ‘Hey, I know you, you fixed my car.’ As his patient, I was relieved to hear he had a good experience!”
Outside of work, Joel likes to spend time with family and friends, as well as embark on the occasional road trip. “We have a 32-foot travel trailer that we like to take to the beach and go camping in,” he details. “We’ve taken it everywhere from Canada to Disneyland. I also go to Mexico every Christmas to visit friends and relatives.”
In regard to his professional career, Joel espouses the importance of customer satisfaction. “My main goal is to keep my customers happy,” he affirms. “Like I said, I often see my customers around town, so the last thing I want is to have someone come up and tell me we did a terrible job on their car. That’s why I make sure to provide high-quality work and service for everyone who comes into my shop.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Joel says he’d hitch up the trailer. “I would go on more road trips for longer periods of time—maybe a month or two. We’ve done a lot of traveling on the West Coast, so if we had more time, we’d go further east and see more of that part of the country.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first car?
A: A ’72 Chevrolet Nova.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Cattlemens in Dixon.