Ron Inchausti always had entrepreneurial ideas since childhood, but lacked goal setting to implement these ideas. He started his automotive career like most, working for someone else. He never considered, or saw the need, to start his own company. This young, eager mechanic had a special passion fueled by providing quality service with a thoughtful approach to the customers’ needs. Ron recognized that the customer was inconvenienced by a car problem, but he knew he could do more than just fix the car.
He worked his way through several independent shops realizing that in order to fulfill his needs, he would need to work for a dealership. Isn’t this the pinnacle of quality service and customer satisfaction? It took less than 2 years for Ron to realize that the dealership did not share his visions of what the automotive service industry should represent.
In 2005 Ron was approached with the opportunity to take over a failing business. The reasons for failure were clear to Ron, and he knew he could build the service experience customers did not know existed. Ron didn’t see the need for a formal business plan or investors. He started Coast Motor Werk with excess passion for a simple goal. This goal would later ignite him as a serial entrepreneur.
He set his goals on providing the highest level of service to a very niche market. He opened his first shop in 2005 along the coast of Southern California. The odds were against him as he immediately narrowed his geographical footprint, as half of his customers could not reside in the Pacific Ocean. To narrow his customer base even more, he chose to work solely on BMW and MINI’s. Taking it a step further, Ron created what he refers to as his “cardboard cutout”. This “cardboard cutout” philosophy of his revolved around his belief that he did not want to get in to the business of fixing cars, but rather into the business of fixing customers. By narrowing his customer base, he could focus his excellent service on excellent customers. Ron shares, “Anyone can fix cars. That’s why I focus my business on fixing customers’ problems. Auto repair can be inconvenient, but the repair process shouldn’t be.”
It is clear that Ron’s success is due to realizing who your ideal customer is and what their needs are. By modeling his business around this philosophy Coast Motor Werk has met, and exceeded, it’s original goal. To maintain growth, Ron is constantly setting new goals as each milestone is reached. He feels without a well-defined goal to reach, he has nothing to work towards. After his first shop had proven the potential of his business model, a new goal would be set. As he has nearly accomplished this second goal of expanding his brand to 5 locations (currently sitting at 4), Ron is already working on what his next goal will be.
Ron’s passion for business development has led him to continually develop new ventures. He has recently launched Spana Life Co, a lifestyle company and importer of fine food and other products from Spain. This idea developed from his passion for Spanish food and lifestyle during his travels. This has since led to Expedition Wines, a private label series of Spanish wines, also a passion of his.
Ron is at a very exciting time in his life where setting goals and following his passion has been universal to all of his ventures. Success is a result of setting goals related to something you are passionate about. “I find that when I get really excited about something, the only thing that satisfies me is sharing it with others. If I can model a business around this passion, even better.” explains Ron Inchausti, owner of Coast Motor Werk, Spana Life, and Expedition Wines.
Andre – Technician
Andre Nguyen emigrated from Vietnam in 1980, leaving a thriving farm owned by his family for generations because the “VC” was going to take it from them. After a failed defection attempt, he spent three months in a prison cell so small that standing was impossible and help was needed to walk afterwards.
During his second defection attempt, he found himself leaving Vietnam in the dark near Saigon, at which time he became captain of a 27 foot “long boat” (by default, since he was the only one who could keep the one-cylinder engine running). The boat, designed to accommodate 8-10 people, was filled with 92 defectors (even whole families). After 5 nights and 4 days at sea, an oil tanker traveling to Malaysia spotted the barely floating vessel and its cargo of “boat people.” After spending three months on the island of Pulau Pinang near Malaysia, he was finally able to fly to America, were he has sponsored nearly all of his family to America and raised 4 boys and even earned citizenship in 2002.
Andre is a senior technician and very knowledgeable about BMW vehicles. He always has a smile and is a great person to be around. His love for America and his story of freedom should be admired by all.
Brandon – Technician
Brandon Lavoie has been with us since 2006, but getting a bio from him was like pulling teeth. After two years we have poked and prodded for info and finally have enough material.
Brandon Lavoie grew up in Orange County surrounded by BMWs, having a good-sized family (two sisters, an older brother, and both parents) all having BMWs. He has been wrenching on cars since before high school when he got his first BMW. His family business led by his father’s ambitions began to flounder and in 2006 was closed. The Lavoie family was having trouble and shortly after the business closed Brandon’s father left. It was then when a mutual friend introduced Brandon to Ron. Since then Brandon has become an integral part of Coast Motor Werk. He knows BMWs and MINIs inside and out. His devotion to his family is very strong and it’s a common thing to see Brandon working on a family member’s car on his days off.
Todd – Irvine Shop Foreman
Todd Schwarzkopf had a less than normal childhood. Young Todd was presented with interesting challenges as he developed abnormally large thumbs and hair the color of a lobster. As he grew older his loving parents urged him to follow a path in life that would welcome his lobster claw thumbs. They suggested professional thumb wrestling, joining forces with Siskel and Ebert, thumb tack installer, and even joining the circus as “Lobster Boy.” Fortunately, Todd was able to see beyond his abnormalities and focus on his strengths.
Growing up, Todd enjoyed taking things apart. Once he ran out of bicycles and remote controlled cars, he began learning how to put them back together. This tinkering later turned into a skill when he realized how these simple machines were engineered. He found himself diagnosing and fixing his friends’ bikes. Bored with this, he turned to the more complex components of RC cars and helicopters. Todd realized his passion in life would be in the diagnosis and repair of something, he just couldn’t figure out what.
Todd took his technical ambition to the runway as he flew to Colorado for a degree in Computer Science. In order to pay for pocket protectors and other nerdy stuff, he acquired a summer job. He took what he could get at the time, not knowing that this summer job would change his life completely.
Sweeping floors at a Toyota dealership doesn’t seem life changing, but for Todd it was just that. In between pushing a broom, Todd would keep a close eye on the technicians and what they were doing. This ambition got him his first “wrench” job. He worked his way up with Toyota and Infiniti, occasionally doing inspections on vehicles that were traded in. It took one BMW 8 series trade-in to convert Todd to the engineering beauty that is BMW. The Schwarzkopf family tree would be proud that German engineering could bring Todd such pleasure.
Todd quickly found himself applying for a job at local BMW dealerships. Irvine BMW would eventually hire him as an entry-level technician. It was here that Todd polished his skills, and maxed out his training to become a Level 1 Certified BMW Master Technician. This new title was a far cry from sweeping floors. After 15 years of working for the man, Todd strived for more. He wanted to work somewhere that put customers back in their BMW with a smile, not a middle finger.
Todd came to us with a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We often see this in technicians coming to us straight from the dealership. As with others before him, we knew that we could harness the skills he had learned. We would have to transform his dealership mentality into something that would fit the Coast Motor Werk mold.
Todd has proven to us, and to our customers, that the 15 years he spent at the dealership were not wasted. His skills are clearly marked by his ability to diagnose (the most difficult task as a technician). Todd can figure out a failure on a BMW like Indiana Jones can find his way out of the Temple of Doom. Could Todd be the Indiana Jones of BMW diagnostics? We believe so. If you ever find your car with an “unfixable problem,” give the lobster a call.
When not at Coast Motor Werk, Todd can be found occupying his time in many ways. He’s been trying to prevent his daughter from growing up by limiting her shoe size and telling her about the horrible side affects of cooties. He enjoys long walks on the beach with other CMW employee, Lucy (see bio). To keep his mind and body in shape he also enjoys woodworking, garage tinkering, being with friends and family, and making IPA’s disappear. Todd is definitely the type of person that takes advantage of life and the good things it has to offer.
Doug H. – IT/Shop Assistant
Doug Hinesley is that guy you went to high school with(fun fact:Ron and Doug went to high school together) who was voted most likely to become a rocket scientist. He claims he is a CMW shuttle driver and shop assistant, but Doug cannot be trusted. I repeat, Doug cannot be trusted…
I was unable to get much personal information out of Doug for this interview, which can only mean one thing. Doug is a robot. I’m not saying the real Doug is a robot, just the one that works at CMW. He has created a robotic Doug that is able to perform given tasks during a 9-5 schedule. We know this because no human is capable of having the attention to detail that “Doug” has. “Doug” is the Picasso of mopping, the Martha Stewart of shop organization, the Emeril of picking up lunch, and the Stig of shuttle driving. Doug, if you’re reading this, you should not have turned the robot’s performance level to an 11. You’re not fooling anyone. On the other hand, please send more robots.
The real Doug enjoys wine making. Sometimes we catch him gathering yeast cultures around the shop for a mechanic flavored wine project. He’s hoping for a nose of rubber, subtle hints of burnt oil and a greasy mouthfeel. He also enjoys creating robots(duh), photography(he didn’t specify, but we’ll assume it’s spy related), and 3d videography(whatever that is, smart guy).
Doug really enjoys working with the crew at CMW and being able to leave the stress(and his red stapler) at his old job. He has traveled the world but always ends up back in Southern California. Likely because he is a picky eater and can’t get enough of those california burritos, son!
Carlos – Shop Foreman
When souls get paired up with bodies, someone took the day off when Carlos was created. When you meet him you may be overcome with the fear of getting put into a UFC chokehold, then pinned down while he tattoos his name on your lower back. But then he opens his mouth and you feel like you’re getting cuddled by a giant teddy bear while riding a full size My Little Pony. In fact(not really a fact at all), Carlos “Cuddles” Rivera likes to start every work day with a good ol mechanic group hug.
Carlos moved to Orange County from Yuma, Arizona after visiting Irvine for a punk rock show in 1997. He fell in love with the trees, grass(assuming he means lawns), and colors other than dirt. Apparently, Irvine used to have colors other than 50 shades of beige. He gained his love for the art of vehicle maintenance from his father who used to tinker on the family cars.
Little Carlos started at UTI to learn the basics of mechanics. He decided from there to take the toughest path, as described by his teachers, and apply for the BMW specific program. Because of his general awesomeness, he got accepted and later began his career at Crevier BMW in 2000. This is where he first met Ron, not knowing that they would eventually work together again 10 years later. While still working at the dealership, Carlos was constantly harassed with CMW business cards getting left on his BMW while parked around Orange County. This made gentle Carlos feel special as if his old co-worker was stalking him. He decided to do a little more research on our website and quickly learned that CMW was a place where mechanics enjoy their work, something not often found at the dealership. He quickly packed up his tools and headed to Coast Motor Werk where he hoped to have a website bio of his own one day(wish granted).
Carlos has almost as much pride in his work as he does in his family. His wife Amanda is the rock that Carlos always dreamed of since being disappointed with the pet rock his auntie gifted him. He loves making her day better, and she loves having a beer with him. It was truly a match made in….Orange County. His daughter Chloe(7) is “just like me, quiet and brilliant and has a beautiful old soul.” His son Dominic(5) is the wild child with a sense of humor and strong passion for anything where he could hurt himself. He also has a couple of pugs. One is a lover, the other a “dirty dog”. We’ll leave it at that.
Carlos loves being the shop foreman of a great team at our Hb location. He loves gaining knowledge and progressing his career through hard work, as long as there are no mice involved. The big man can’t handle mice, or anything that might at first appear to be a mouse. Like a dirty shop rag coiled up in the corner. So, unless you’re a mouse, come on by and give our gentle mechanic a hug. You’ll feel better.
Lucy – Passenger Seat Tester
Lucy was born and raised in a healthy, loving environment. She has never been subjected to the evils of the world, and it shows. She currently holds the title for world’s most loving dog. She has proof of this as it says it right on her dog bowl. As the sun rises every morning, Lucy is already convinced that today is going to be the greatest day ever. Every new day is her favorite day. Her goal in life is to make as many best friends as caninely possible. If you haven’t met Lucy yet, you can be assured that you are a future best friend of hers. As the lion, tin man, and scarecrow know, you can’t have it all. What may she lack? Well, she’s a beautiful “golden retriever” (awaiting DNA results), so it’s definitely not beauty. Gee, this is awkward. I am not quite sure how to say this without upsetting our human resources department… I guess the polite way of putting it would be that if Lucy were to dress up as someone from the Wizard of Oz for a Halloween party, she would likely go as the Scarecrow.
Lucy looks to her alpha co-worker, Maggie (see bio), to instruct her on how to survive a day at CMW. Here’s a look into the events of Lucy’s first day at work.
Jump into MINI Cooper for morning commute. Sorry Lucy, you don’t count for the carpool lane. She arrived at work and of course it was the “best day ever.” Wag tail. She discovered the box of dog toys (or as Lucy calls them, toys) before the shop doors even opened. She played so hard, and greeted so many customers, that she passed out before noon. Maggie shook her head in disapproval, thinking that Lucy would have made a great scarecrow. Lucy woke up towards the end of the day feeling like she missed out on something. She thought long and hard about this that night until her head hurt.
The next morning (also, coincidentally, the best day ever) Lucy mustered up the brainpower to try a different strategy. Following Maggie’s every footstep; this is Lucy’s new daily routine. Show up for work. Wag tail. Sleep. Wake up for morning treat. Sleep. Wake up for lunchtime treat. Sleep. Wake up for UPS delivery guy treat. Sleep. Wake up to bark at mailman. Sleep. Wake up for afternoon treat. Sleep. Wake up to bark at garage doors going down, indicating the end of the workday.
Being the lover that Lucy is, she has modified Maggie’s daily routine slightly by adding way more playing, tail wagging, flirting with customers, and playing dumb blonde to get even more treats while Maggie is sleeping. Maybe Lucy isn’t as airheaded as she pretends to be.
When not at CMW Lucy can be found meeting new best friends at the beach, eating things that most dogs would consider inedible, and having the best day ever.