Rick Hughlett: Changing the Way We See Automotive Technicians

Stephanie GrandestaffMile Markers

We didn’t have a lot of money at the time, which made the situation more stressful. As she tried to reach my dad, the mechanic became pushy and rude. The estimate was expensive and she just didn’t trust the guy talking to her. 

You have probably heard a story like this or experienced something similar yourself. Sadly, some in the auto industry have a reputation for being uncooperative and even deceptive. It might make someone think twice about a career in the automotive industry. That’s why it is so refreshing to talk with Rick Hughlett.  Rick has worked at changing that narrative for years, teaching his employees and students to do the same. 

Rick Hughlett, the founder of Rick’s Automotive Inc., started his business in 1980 with just two employees. Today, Rick’s Automotive has dozens of employees. It has earned a reputation as one of the most known and respected automotive repair shops in Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area. From humble beginnings, Rick’s Automotive now operates out of a 28,000-square-foot campus on South Campbell Avenue, near Bass Pro Shops. If you’ve been there, you know his shop is so clean you might “eat off the floor.” His staff is professional and courteous. They work hard to listen to you and understand your concerns. All these things made us want to learn what we could from a man who exemplifies integrity and trust.  Rick’s Automotive is not just a trustworthy dependable place for car repair; it is also award winning. In 2012, Rick’s Automotive won the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Award. In 2017, Rick earned Ozark Technical College’s (OTC) Excellence in Business award. Rick has also been awarded numerous honors from the Springfield Business Journal, including inclusion in Men of the Year and Business Class. 

Recently, we talked with Rick about a career in automotive repair, educating those who want to learn about the automotive industry.  Most importantly, we learned about how he built an environment that supports and promotes trust on every level.  Sadly, my mom’s story is not a unique one. Rick specifically explains how, over the years, he has built trust in the community as a business that says what they mean and means what they say. If your child is considering a career as an automotive technician, Rick is a great source of information and a role model to many.  This whole series has been about looking at trades that may or may not interest you or your children, but it has also been about spotlighting those who chose a path and forged ahead. Rick did not go to college, yet today he and his business teach thousands of young students what a life in the automotive trades could be like at OTC. If using your hands, gaining knowledge about how cars work, or if you have any interest in the auto industry, listen to our podcast and look up Rick at https://ricksautomotive.com/.

You can learn more about becoming an Automotive Technician by checking out the Good Dads Podcast #375 or the “What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up” page on the Good Dads website.

About Author 

Drew Dilisio is the Community Support Specialist and Counselor at Good Dads. He is a recent graduate of Evangel University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, a husband and father. He can be reached for question or comment at drew@gooddads.com